Spring 2022  |  PA 5814 Section 001: Global Diplomacy in a Time of Change (58964)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option No Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person Term Based
Enrollment Requirements:
Graduate Student
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
01/18/2022 - 05/02/2022
Tue, Thu 09:45AM - 11:00AM
UMTC, West Bank
Hubert H Humphrey Center 20
Enrollment Status:
Open (15 of 29 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
Taught by the Humphrey School's diplomat in residence, this course examines the changing world of twenty-first century global diplomacy and how state and nonstate actors are challenging the status quo. We look at the dynamics behind major international developments - with case studies including BREXIT, the Iran Agreement, climate negotiations, and China's global initiatives - placed in the context of an examination of how states operate in the international diplomatic sphere and how multilateral organizations enhance or challenge the concept of state sovereignty. Students gain knowledge about the complexities of diplomacy and negotiation through readings, classroom discussions, and guest speakers and develop professional skills through writing and presentation assignments.
Class Notes:
Class Description:

This course will examine the theory, practice and profession of twenty-first century diplomacy in bilateral and multilateral environments. While the successful negotiation in 2015 of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement drew more attention to how nations large and small use diplomacy to advance their interests, political shifts ranging from the 2016 U.S. elections to Brexit to Russian actions have raised questions about how nations and non-state actors engage one another to achieve their goals in a complex world. In addition, while international organizations, including the United Nations, and regional organizations, such as the European Union, the Organization of American States, and the African Union, have become not just venues for multilateral diplomacy, but also diplomatic players in their own right, seeking to negotiate resolutions to regional problems, their functioning is being challenged by resurgent nationalism.

During the course of the semester, we will examine the history of diplomacy, and its norms and practices, including its international legal bases, and how modern technology and changing cultural norms have impacted the way that diplomats operate. Through readings, classroom discussions and simulations, students will come to understand the ways in which major powers, and medium and small states use bilateral and multilateral diplomacy to achieve their own goals and work with friends and allies to achieve regional and global objectives. Students will also examine the way in which nations come together in formal and informal blocs to advance regional goals, and look at how non-state actors operate in the diplomatic sphere to achieve their objectives, and at how governments and non-governmental organizations seek to resolve conflicts through Track II processes.


Students will be graded on an A-F basis. Grading will be as follows:

  • 30%--Overall Class participation--Students are expected to attend all classes unless excused, to complete all the readings, and to be prepared to participate in the classroom discussion. Students will be separately graded on classroom simulation exercises.

  • 10%--Individual student contributions to discussion on issues of current interest.
  • 15%--Short (400-600) word diplomatic report from an embassy to a home government foreign ministry (or State Department) on an issue, summarizing events, the implication of those events for the home country, and recommendations on next moves or how to react.

  • 15%--Group Negotiating Exercise: Students will identify the specific issues to be negotiated, decide on tactics, and then negotiate a solution with the help of the mediator. In the final session, the group will present a briefing (with visual slides) showing the results of the negotiation

  • 30%--A final 2,500-3,000 word research paper on an assigned topic.
  • Class Format:
    Combined lecture and discussions, with students expected to attend and actively participate in discussions and debates based on assigned reading and familiarity with relevant international events; two negotiation exercises in which students will role play; occasional virtual or in person class visits by professionals in the field.
    Readings 50-100 pages per session, plus assignments detailed above.
    Past Syllabi:
    http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/mtcurtin_PA5814_Spring2017.pdf (Spring 2017)
    Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
    17 December 2020

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