Diplomacy and Governance Courses

Featured Diplomacy and Governance Courses

Diplomacy is a word that gets thrown around a lot in today’s world, but what does it mean exactly? It is essentially another term for negotiation, specifically between diplomats who represent different states. The goal of diplomacy is to influence decisions and conduct between foreign governments and officials without violence. Treaties, agreements, alliances, and more are most often negotiated between diplomats, who also use their knowledge to help shape their own state’s foreign policies. What is the history of diplomacy and how have its functions changed over the years?

The history of diplomacy

There isn’t much information about the diplomacy of very early people, so our understanding of it begins in China, India, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. Diplomacy in a more recognizable form, however, began in ancient Greece. The Greeks built archives, a vocabulary of diplomacy, and laws and principles on international conduct. When Rome came to power, the Republic modeled itself after Greece. Initially, the Senate was responsible for foreign policy, but eventually they established a department for foreign affairs. During the Empire, the emperor made the final decisions on foreign affairs.

The first professional diplomats came from the Byzantime Empire, and after its collapse, that style of diplomacy endured in Renaissance Italy and the Ottoman Empire. France established the first modern foreign ministry under Cardinal Richelieu, who believed diplomacy was a continuous state of negotiation. Diplomacy saw a significant shift during the 19th century as power structures changed. At international meetings, ministers replaced kings, and royal courts became cabinets. This change continued through World War I and World War II, as conference diplomacy and summit meetings became the norm. The speed of communication through technology also had a significant impact on diplomacy.

How diplomacy has changed: old vs. new

How is diplomacy today different than diplomacy in the past? First of all, old diplomacy was mainly focused in Europe. As other countries became more powerful, diplomacy has adopted a more international and global approach. Old diplomacy was defined by rigid rules, but now, there are more informal contacts between leaders and diplomats. Old diplomacy was also often very secretive, but now, new diplomacy is done out in the open and made public. Even the definition of a “diplomat” is looser now, whereas in the past, diplomats belonged to an elite class. Today, diplomacy can be conducted by officials holding government positions or by citizens/celebrities given special titles and duties abroad. Anyone who represents their nation in some capacity is essentially a diplomat.

How do diplomats do their jobs?

By the 18th century, there were lots of texts on how to be a good diplomat. In general, it was believed that a good diplomat should be intelligent, trustworthy, and courageous. They should have foresight and a sense of humor. To perform their objectives, diplomats use a variety of tactics such as persuasion and offering rewards. However, diplomacy can also involve the threats of force, non-violent punishments, and putting on pressure. Diplomats can bear different titles such as Ambassador, Counsellor, First Secretary, Minister, and so on. Famous diplomats from history include: Niccolo Machiavelli, Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, Shirley Temple Black, Madeleine Albright, Kofi Anan.

Types of diplomacy

There’s a wide variety of diplomacy types used at certain times in history to promote a nation’s objectives. Some examples include:

Gunboat diplomacy

In this type of diplomacy, a nation will demonstrate its strength in order to achieve its goals. It essentially lets others know that if necessary, a nation can use military force. North Korea uses gunboat diplomacy when it conducts missile tests.

Dollar diplomacy

Using economic means (such as loans), a state displays its financial power. This diplomacy was used during President Taft’s administration. It was employed instead of military threats or force. Overall, historians agree that Taft’s dollar diplomacy failed.

People’s diplomacy

Also known as citizens’ diplomacy, this type describes the ongoing process of nations sharing communication, knowledge, influence, and culture. When visiting other countries, citizens act as unofficial diplomats and influence how others in the world see their nation.

Digital diplomacy

This is a newer term and simply means using the internet and other technologies for diplomacy. Social networks, blogs, and other media platforms are used to promote a nation’s interests and share propaganda.

The purpose of diplomacy

In today’s world, diplomacy has two main objectives: political and non-political. Policial objectives all center on trying to increase the influence of one state over others. This involves compromise, promising rewards, and negotiating. Non-political objectives emphasize fostering interdependence among states. No nation is completely independent with no reliance on others, so diplomacy is also about strengthening economic and cultural links to other countries. With both objectives, diplomacy seeks to protect the interests of the state. With globalization so prevalent, good diplomacy is more important than ever.

Governments are formed for the people and in most cases by the people these days. Democracy, responsible governance, and diplomatic relations are all interrelated to maintain an interconnected network of political systems. The following are some of the best courses in these areas that may be of interest to professionals in government services, students interested in law, government, education, ethics, media, or simply concerned citizens.

All Diplomacy Courses

Global Diplomacy – Diplomacy in the Modern World

This course in Global Diplomacy is a prestigious online course offered by the University of London and the SOAS University of London. The course is aimed to give students a thorough understanding of the intricacies of global diplomacy. Over approximately 18 hours, students will understand all the concepts, nature, problems, theories, and approaches underlying global diplomacy. Through various modules, students will understand who a good diplomat is, what contributes to the success and failure of diplomacy, and the different disciplines that contribute to this subject. Students will also look at real-life examples of diplomacy in action in this course.

Global Health Diplomacy

This online course in diplomacy adds a geopolitical dimension to the discussions about global health. In this course, which is offered by the State University of New York, students will be introduced to what global health diplomacy is, it’s different players and the challenges that it is faced with. Students will be able to look at global health diplomacy from different perspectives and will understand the crucial role that several institutions play in terms of global health outcomes. In 32 hours, students will review some real-life examples and will also understand where the funding for supporting these initiatives related to global health comes from.

Cultural Diplomacy

This online course in diplomacy is meant for those in foreign policy, public policy, arts culture, and heritage. Offered by the European University Institute, the course aims to clarify what cultural diplomacy is and how it works in the world today. The course can be completed in 3 weeks and students will explore different topics like the concepts, it’s governance and the EU’s strategy of cultural diplomacy. Students will identify the main actors involved and assess some real-life examples where cultural diplomacy has worked. Towards the end, students will also gain an understanding of the emerging cultural diplomacy strategies by the EU and its future in Europe.

Introduction to British Diplomacy

This course introduces students to the UK’s diplomatic network and is suitable for anyone interested to know about the inner workings of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Job applicants to the UK or overseas and government officials will benefit immensely from the course. The course is being offered by the Diplomatic Academy of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and can be completed in about 2 weeks. In this course, students will understand the main characteristics of the UK’s FCO, how it works, how it encourages diversity amongst its employees, and how the overseas network of UK functions. Students will also understand the historical and legal framework of diplomats and what diplomats do, along with the varied roles of embassies, High Commissions and other posts.

Global Diplomacy: the United Nations in the World

This course is aimed at anyone interested in learning more about the United Nations System. No prior knowledge is necessary for making the most of it. The course is being offered to students by the University of London and SOAS University of London. In approximately 18 hours, it walks students through what the UN is, how it came into existence, the agencies, the UN Security Council amongst so much more. Students will also understand how the UN responds to crises and the place of human rights in the UN.

Population Health: Governance

This course is a multi-dimensional course that looks at population health and healthcare system from different perspectives. This course is being offered to students by the Universiteit Leiden and can be completed in approximately 14 hours. In this course, students will learn about the healthcare system as a whole and how the systems are changing. Students will look at healthcare from systems, individual, and network perspectives. They will also learn about the challenges faced by healthcare professionals and how they overcome them.

Media ethics and governance

This online course is aimed at helping students understand history, development, approaches, and practices in terms of media, ethics and governance. The course is being offered by the University of Amsterdam and can be completed in approximately 9 hours. The course begins with an understanding of ethical theories and perspectives which form the base of the course. Students will learn about Media Governance and the societal, economical and ideological processes that influence the behavior of media. Towards the end of the course, students will also learn about the common ethical issues for professionals in a variety of media-related fields.

IS/IT Governance

This course is aimed at IT professionals who would like to derive the most value from their IT investments. This introductory course is being offered by the University of Minnesota and can be completed by students in approximately 11 hours. In this course, students will learn how to align IT investments with an organization’s goals and strategies. They will be taught how to evaluate a portfolio of investments and learn how to incorporate risk into their investment decisions. Students will also learn about the different levers that firms can use to increase the adoption of IT innovation and how to ensure prudent use of IT resources.

Healthcare Data Quality and Governance

This online course is meant for anyone working with data in the healthcare industry or simply working with data and planning to move into healthcare or someone interested in moving into a new role. The course is being offered to students by the University of California, Davis, and can be completed in approximately 13 hours. The course is a part of the Health Information Literacy for Data Analytics Specialization. Students will understand how data is an asset and this course will revolve around data quality. The four modules in this course will focus on what data quality is and how to measure, monitor, improve, and sustain this data quality.

Risk Governance: Engage the Board

This course in governance revolves around stakeholders, their objectives, and how organizations can effectively manage them. The course is a part of the Influencing: Story Telling, Change Management and Governance Specialization, and also the Global Master of Business Administration degree offered by Macquarie University. In this course, students will compare several governance models and understand several challenges pertaining to them. They will learn about the importance of taking risks and will also apply risk management frameworks to business contexts. Students will also learn about different kinds of risks like foreign exchange risk, operational risks, and misconduct risks and how organizations can effectively manage them.

Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems (IGLUS)

This course has been made by combining some of the most relevant experiences and knowledge from our IGLUS Executive Master’s program offered by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The course can be completed by students in approximately 13 hours. In this course, students will learn about the three phases of the urban value chain that is planning, governance and regeneration. Students will also understand the challenges of urban governance in different dimensions like economic, social and institutional. They will also analyze the different strategies for urban renewal and the evolution in city planning along with strategies impacting the creation of urban space.

Major Engineering Projects: Governance, Risk and Scope

This course is well suited for anyone pursuing a degree in engineering or those who are already one. The course is a part of the Managing Major Engineering Projects specialization and is being offered by the University of Leeds. The course can be completed by students in approximately 25 hours. In this course, students will learn how to identify and manage stakeholders of major projects and the governance of projects and the challenges faced. Some of the important topics that will be covered in the course include strategic risks, risk registers and opportunities, utility theory and scope management.

Political Governance and Public Policy in Russia

This online course is aimed at anyone with an interest to learn in-depth about Russia’s political development in different contexts. The course is being offered by the Saint Petersburg State University and can be completed in approximately 13 hours. The course talks about the different components of the political system in Russia as well as the problems, contradictions, and the prospects for political development in the country. Through three main modules, students will learn about the political system, the regime, the public policy process as well as the directions and the problems of social and economic policy in the country.

The factors that influence the effectiveness of boards and the governance process

This online course is a part of the Improving Leadership and Governance in Non-Profit Organizations specialization offered by the State University of New York and Luther College at the University of Regina. Over approximately 12 hours, students will learn about how effective board of directors drive the success of the organizations that they govern. In this course, students will learn about several factors related to boards of directors which include their composition and development, the culture of the boards, board meetings, and factors influencing them.

The Roles and Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards of Directors within the Governance Process

This course is also a part of the specialization in Improving Leadership and Governance in Non-Profit Organizations offered by the State University of New York and the Luther College at the University of Regina. The course can be completed by students in approximately 11 hours. During this period students will understand the roles and the responsibilities that boards of directors have towards their organizations. The roles of these boards will be analyzed from different angles like roles towards planning the organization’s future, assessing performance as well as the role in the fundraising process.

Capstone – Managing Board Change for Higher Levels of Leadership and Governance Effectiveness

This course involves a capstone project where the learnings from the three courses in the specialization mentioned above are applied. The project is a part of the Improving Leadership and Governance in Non-Profit Organizations Specialization offered by the State University of New York and the Luther College at the University of Regina and will be spread over 68 hours. It will prepare a student to become an agent for positive change in non-profit organizations. The main task of the project will be to analyze the effectiveness and leadership of a real board of directors by evaluating them from each of the angles mentioned in the courses.

International Affairs: Global Governance

This online course in global governance is meant for professionals in world affairs or those with an interest in social sciences, economics, international studies, political science, economics, history, or development studies. The course is being offered by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, and can be completed in 4 weeks. In this course, students will learn why global governance is important in an interconnected world like ours and the various stakeholders involved. Students will learn about institutions, challenges, complex processes aimed at managing global issues.

Democracy and Development: Perspectives from Africa

This course talks about the democratic political institutions in Africa and how they have been developed. Being offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this course can be completed in approximately 9 weeks. In this course students will learn about several factors that impact the economic and political development of Africa like slavery, colonial rule, the various organizational designs being used in African democracies, working of the judiciary, challenges, and opportunities facing the system amongst many other topics.

Governance and Policy Advice: How Political Decisions Come to Life

This online course is designed for those who are interested in decision making, political communication, and policy advising and consulting. The course is being offered by the Hertie School of Governance and can be completed by students at their own pace. In this course, students will understand what goes on behind the scenes of government policy formulations. They will learn about how political agenda setting works, the key players on spot and behind the scenes, and what role policy advice plays in different democracies.

After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure

This course is being offered to students by the University of Copenhagen and revolves around the reasons behind the failure of Arabs. The course which can be completed in about 20 hours analyzes why the Arabs failed after the so-called Arab Spring and the mistakes that were made in the decades before the outbreak of the recent Arab rebellions. Students will learn and understand the flaws in the political structure and the governments, material bases of popular discontent, growth, and the frustration and the dysfunctions that have driven Arab rebellions.

Securing Digital Democracy

This online course examines what every citizen must know about internet voting and electronic voting. The course is being offered to students by the University of Michigan and can be completed in approximately 14 hours. Students will learn about the present, past, and future of election technologies and analyze them from different dimensions. Some of the topics that will be covered in the course include punched card voting, the Australian ballot, optical scan voting, Diebold, field testing, and India’s EVMs amongst many other topics.

Civic Engagement in American Democracy

This online course is aimed at anyone who may be interested in knowing how they as citizens can influence politics. The course is being offered by Duke University and can be completed in approximately 14 hours. In this course, students will learn about the American political system and how it works. Students will also identify who the key players are and how each of them fit together.

Economic Democracy: The Cooperative Alternative

This online course examines the decisions made by worker-managed firms and their capitalist counterparts. The course is being offered by the University of Edinburg in collaboration with the University of St. Andrews and the James Hutton Institute. In this course, students will learn about the internal and external impact of employee ownership. Students will also explore why cooperatives contribute so less to the GDP even though they have several attractive features. Over 6 weeks, students will learn about the main issues relating to the long term viability of cooperatives and different policies to promote a cooperative sector in a market economy.

Inequality and Democracy

This course is meant for anyone with an interest in law, politics, media, government, or education, or any concerned citizen. The course is being offered by the Utrecht University and can be completed in approximately 20 hours. In this course, students will learn about the rise of economic inequality, property rights, and the corporation, tax avoidance, campaign finance, and alternatives to our economic system. Students will analyze the fact that every citizen should have an equal say in the way their country is run.

Democracy and Autocracy: Theory and Empirical Findings

This course is best suited for all those with an interest in politics, law, and government. The course is a part of the IPSAMOOC project, a joint venture Federica Weblearnig – IPSA, the International Political Science Association. Over 6 weeks, students will understand the difference between democratic and autocratic regimes, and the theories underpinning both. Students will understand how democratic regimes emerge from autocratic regimes as well as why and how democratic regression or breakdown takes place. Students will also learn how to subdivide these root concepts into new subtypes of democracy and autocracy.

The language of instruction for each of these courses is in English. Students can audit these courses for free but they may be required to pay a fee to avail a certificate. Financial aid may also be available for eligible students.