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Digital Diplomacy: International Relations in the Digital Age

Explore how technological innovation is disrupting the political world order, and changing the diplomatic profession.

Digital Diplomacy: International Relations in the Digital Age

Identify how cybersecurity threats are changing diplomatic practise

From fake news to hacking and AI, governments worldwide are facing technological advances that are threatening to topple established geopolitical hierarchies – and change the world order.

These technological advances are both a challenge to the work of diplomats, as well as an opportunity to change how the diplomatic profession works for the better – making it more savvy, safe, and switched-on.

Enhance your diplomatic career

On this course, you’ll learn from top international diplomatic experts at the Global Diplomatic Forum how to navigate the issues that cyberspace and the digital revolution throw up for diplomats.

You’ll explore how AI can be used to aid diplomacy, how to excel at digital communication, and how to develop an effective digital diplomatic strategy that will let your organisation make the most of emerging virtual spaces.

Learn transferrable cybersecurity skills

Examining the current cybersecurity landscape, you’ll gain valuable knowledge that you can utilise in your organisation, understanding how diplomacy needs to respond to the latest cybersecurity threats.

In just four weeks you’ll come away with practical training that will leave you with a competitive edge.

You’ll be ready to further your career in a 21st-century diplomatic environment, armed with cutting-edge training in digital best-practice and cybersecurity.

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  • Week 1

    Digital and Cyber Diplomacy

    • Introduction

      The module will serve as introduction to the concept of Digital and Cyber Diplomacy.

    • Overview of Week One Topic

      Introduction to the concepts of the week

    • Digital Diplomacy: Literature, Definitional Frameworks, Key Themes

      Communication is key to the workings of international state practice, and has evolved substantially in how it is perceived and used by actors around the globe

    • Guest Lecture of the Week 1

      Guest Lecture with Mr Sean Evins - Government and Politics Outreach Manager, Facebook Europe.

    • Assessment

      A multiple choice questions on the materials of this module

  • Week 2

    Artificial Intelligence

    • Introduction

      Introduction to the module leader, learning objectives and Icons

    • Defining Artificial Intelligence

      The term “artificial intelligence” was first coined by an American computer scientist, John McCarthy in 1956, who defined AI as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs

    • Diplomacy and AI

      The debate about the role of AI in diplomacy is gaining momentum, although academic investigations are progressing rather slowly, without a clear analytical focus

    • Guest Lecture of the Module

      Guest Lecture with Mr Casper Klynge - Vice President, Government Relations of Microsoft and former Tech Ambassador of Denmark.

    • Assessment

      Assessment of the participants' understanding of concepts covered in Week 2

  • Week 3

    Cyber Security

    • Introduction

      Introduction to the module leader, learning objectives and Recommended reading

    • Cybersecurity 101

      Cybersecurity is not a very strictly defined term. Broadly, it is about protecting computer-based systems against accidents or incidents affecting the technology, the system, the associated data, and the services that are provided

    • Cyber-Policy & Cyber-Diplomacy

      Many countries have been developing national cybersecurity strategies, action plans and sets of measures over the last decade

    • Capita Selecta

      This is an optional section covering Ethics, Cybersecurity markets and future perspectives

    • Guest Lecture of the Module

      Guest Lecture of the Module delivered by Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, Director, European Union Satellite Centre.

    • Assessement

      A multiple choice questions on the materials of this module

  • Week 4

    The Shifting World Order in Digital Age

    • Introduction

      Introduction to the module leader, learning objectives and recommended Readings

    • Geopolitics

      US hegemony is evolving in a way that it’s no longer clear who’s in charge

    • Politics

      governments everywhere are struggling to tackle major risks, including COVID-19 — and citizens have figured that out

    • Economies

      The US-China trade war is clearly on and could be the greatest risk

    • Society

      This is a sensitive turning point in our human development

    • Guest Lecture of the Week

      Guest Lecture of this Week delivered by Shaun Riordan - former British diplomat and Director of Chair for Diplomacy and Cyberspace, EIIS.

    • Assessement

      Assessment on Material of Module 4

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop technical and theoretical skills to perform more effectively in cyberspace
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of relating digital diplomacy to foreign policy objectives
  • Design the process of developing, implementing and monitoring effective Digital Diplomacy strategy
  • Apply your digital communications skills in diplomatic context
  • Identify the connection between Cybersecurity and diplomatic work and be able to capitalise on this competence
  • Improve career advancement opportunities with up to date transferrable skills and knowledge

Who is the course for?

This course would benefit diplomats of all levels, from junior to ambassadorial. It would also appeal to diplomacy students and trainee diplomats aiming to pursue a career in diplomacy.

What software or tools do you need?

The Course Material Can be accessed online via a browser. Students will be given login details to access the course contents.

What do people say about this course?

inspiring world-leading experts

"A great way to get introduced to the influence of innovative digital technologies on international relations and diplomacy in particular... [featuring] inspiring world-leading experts."

for the diplomats who want to stay ahead of the curve

"I strongly recommend Digital Diplomacy online course for the diplomats who want to stay ahead of the curve and perform effectively in a global space."

Who will you learn with?

Corneliu Bjola is Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford and Head of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group.

Dr. Cassidy is a Departmental Lecturer in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford, where she lectures on Digital Diplomacy, Diplomatic Law, and Gender and Diplomacy.

Lecturer Cybersecurity Global Diplomatic Forum 2020, research associate Oxford University, professor European University Cyprus, former Director European Commission for Digital Society/Cybersecurity

Dr Maha Hosain Aziz is a professor, author & cartoonist in global risk at NYU's MA IR Program; & risk expert at World Economic Forum. Her books include Future World Order, Global Kid & Global Spring.

Who developed the course?

Global Diplomatic Forum

The Global Diplomatic Forum is a knowledge hub for diplomats. It provides an inclusive platform for the exchange of expertise in the realm of international affairs.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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