Diplomacy: Challenges of the 21st Century

Diplomacy: Challenges of the 21st Century will examine the conceptual and practical aspects of diplomacy in historical context, with particular emphasis on new challenges especially in the aftermath of the Cold War and the technological revolution of the past two decades. The initial part of the course will focus primarily on the political philosophy debates that are relevant to the meaning of relevant concepts, such as power, war, peace, negotiation, justice, sovereignty and legitimacy.

The course will then explore specific types of diplomacy, including multilateral, public, cultural, and other forms of what is sometimes called - ambiguously and confusingly - "soft power."  Some of the readings will fall into the category of theory of diplomacy, while others will illustrate the practice of diplomacy.

This course reflects the Institute's holistic educational approach to the study of statecraft, and reinforces the concept of diplomacy as one instrument amongst many that are available to policymakers. It explains to students how the pursuit of diplomacy is inextricably linked to the use of all other forms of national power (notably the credible threat of force, good intelligence, and effective strategic communication).

Semester Available


Spring Semester

Principal Professor


   John J. Tierney, Jr.
Walter Kohler Professor of International Relations; Academic Dean, Ad Interim; Chairman of the Admissions Committee {read more}