American University International Diplomacy and Cross-Cultural Diplomacy Course Description

American University
International Diplomacy and Cross-Cultural Diplomacy
Summer 2016
Course Description
Diplomacy has been a significant form of interaction between sovereign entities since antiquity. In our time of
tremendous social, political, and economic change, diplomacy persists as a prominent feature of international
relations. It has been alternatively reviled as facilitating war and misperception, too antiquated to mitigate global
issues, yet also praised as the only useful process for peace and effective communication. In this course, we will
explore how scholars and practitioners have viewed diplomacy, offering arguments about its function, practice,
limits, and response to change. The course itself consists of three lectures, four seminars, and an online component.
These related parts serve to communicate content and develop skills. In particular, the flexible seminar setting
provides a unique opportunity to work closely together, employ different learning methods, and conduct a variety of
activities. These include student presentations, group work, small group discussion, research, and simulation.
Learning Objectives and Outcomes
Beyond a basic awareness of what goes on in world politics, this course aims to develop your knowledge about
international diplomacy by considering three questions:
 What are the different issues and entities involved in world politics?
 How is diplomacy used and practiced in world politics?
 What are the theoretical perspectives of diplomacy in International Relations (IR)?
The development of your thinking skills is just as important, if not more important, than the content of the course,
whether you foresee yourself in politics, business, science, law, or the arts. This course aims to develop the
following skills:
 Research
 Descriptive writing (detailed interpretation)
 Analytical writing (explanatory argument)
 Communication (articulating arguments)
 Critical thinking
In short, this course's outcome is that students will be able to speak and write meaningfully about world politics that
demonstrates an understanding of its complexity and multitude of perspectives. These outcomes will be evaluated in
the course assignments.
Assignments (Assignments will vary, depending on instructor.)
All assignments are due no more than 30 days after the end of your program.
1. Attendance and Participation (20%)
2. Journal (20%): The journal is a paper written in essay style that discusses and analyzes at least two (2)
NSLC lectures, briefings, and/or visits from outside of the class and relates them to material we covered in
class. The journal should be 750-1000 words in length.
3. Memorandum of Conversation (20%): During one of the NSLC lectures or briefings take notes and
prepare a short outline. This memorandum of conversation or “MemCon” should be typed in bullet format
and be no longer than one page in length.
4. Demarche and Aide Memoire (20%): At the end of our last seminar, each of you will act as the deputy
chief of your country’s embassy. You will present to me, as Undersecretary of State for Political (or
Economic) Affairs, an issue important to the country to represent. After the class, you should send me a
brief letter (or “Aide Memoire”) that summarizes the major points of your presentation.
5. Position Paper (20%): Following the end of the course, prepare a short paper on a country’s position
toward a particular transnational issue debated at the United Nations.