Global Diplomacy

University Programme Course Overview

Global Diplomacy: Theory and practice

  • Professor: Thierry Balzacq
  • Session: July
  • Language of instruction: English
  • Number of hours of class: 36

Download the 2021 course syllabus for "Global Diplomacy: Theory and Practice" (PDF, 365 KB)

Objective of the Course

This course investigates discourses, theories and practices associated with global diplomacy, across different levels and within a wide range of areas. It equips students with the basic vocabulary and methods that enable them to hone their diplomatic skills. The course combines lectures, seminar discussions, and a set of “how to” sessions that help students navigate a variety of policy fields with heightened confidence.


Diplomacy is one of the oldest institutions of world politics. Its study is on the rise, but the contours of diplomacy have considerably expanded, which raises questions about its meaning and boundaries. This module examines diplomatic actors, processes, and policies, in different contexts. The rationale is that those who understand how diplomacy operates will be able to have a distinctive and thoughtful impact on the world.

Organisation of the Course

Questions of central interest to the course are: What is diplomacy and where does it come from? What difference (if any) is there between state and non-state diplomacies? How is state diplomacy produced? What instruments - ideational and material - do actors employ to achieve their diplomatic objectives? What is the impact of new technologies of information and communication on classical tools of diplomacy? What are the characteristics of diplomacy in different areas (e.g., conflict resolution, defense, culture, environmental and humanitarian crises, and trade)? How do diplomats perceive their role today, relative to new figures such as ambassadorial celebrities? Can diplomacy survive the pressing demands for transparency?

Professor Biography

Thierry Balzacq is a Professor of International Relations at Sciences Po and Professorial Fellow at CERI-Sciences Po. A former Visiting Fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy (APCD) - the Australian National University (2017-2018), Balzacq was awarded a Francqui Research Chair (Belgium’s highest academic title) at the University of Namur, and elected Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), in 2016. He was formerly the Scientific Director of the French Ministry of Defense’s research center (2014-2016). Balzacq held a Honorary Professorial Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh (2012-2015), where he was also Fellow for “outstanding research” at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. He has published over a hundred scientific works in English and French, on Security, IR Theory, and Diplomatic Studies. He advised different institutions and organizations on security matters, including the EU Commision, the EU Parliament, and the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

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