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Introduction to Modern Diplomacy: Principles, Practices and Actors

Broaden your knowledge of modern diplomacy and managing international relations with this educative six-week course.

Learn about the practices of modern diplomacy within the 21st century

Over the duration of this informative course, you’ll develop an understanding of the framework of modern diplomacy within the 21st century, and will gain in-depth knowledge of how to relate diplomacy to the current state of global affairs.

Discover the framework of modern diplomacy

After an overview of the concept of diplomacy and its principles and practices, you’ll then use case studies to explore examples of diplomacy with a global content, and will get the chance to learn from diplomatic journeys around the globe.

You’ll also cover the legal frameworks of diplomatic and consular law within the modern world, and will decipher what the law of diplomatic immunities means in our current environment.

Apply the skills of communications and protocol within a diplomatic context

Using case studies with leaders from all over the globe, you’ll get an insight into how to best communicate themes of diplomacy and the protocol behind it.

You’ll also learn about smart diplomacy - the latest trends within managing international relations - as well as the role Artificial Intelligence and digital diplomacy play in today’s world.

Finally, you’ll cover the themes of soft power and public diplomacy within the current geopolitical sphere.

Learn from the best minds at the Global Diplomatic Forum

You’ll be learning from some of the world’s leading experts in the themes of diplomacy, as well as academics, international organisations and leaders within the technological and corporate spheres.


  • Week 1

    Diplomacy - Principles, Practice and Actors

    • Introduction

      Welcome to the Course and First Week that will introduce you to the fundamental concepts and theories behind Principles, Practices and Actors in Diplomacy.

    • Exploring Diplomacy: A Historical Lookback

      A concise walkthrough of the main concepts and history of Diplomacy.

    • Exploring Diplomacy: Actors

      Presentation of the main partakers in the International Affairs and Diplomacy.

    • Exploring Diplomacy: Practices

      Overview of the key Practices in Diplomacy.

    • Assessment & Wrap Up

      The assessment summarising Week 1 of the Course.

  • Week 2

    International Law & Diplomacy and Diplomatic Immunity

    • Diplomatic Legal Framework: Diplomatic and Consular Law

      The activity identifies the platforms and institutions that regulate relations between countries and different measures to uphold this order and provide the support mechanism for diplomatic work

    • The Law of Diplomatic Immunities

      The activity outlines the reasons behind diplomatic immunity and how it contributes to the diplomatic work. Cases of abuse and challenges to diplomatic immunity

  • Week 3

    Economic and Trade Diplomacy

    • Economic and Trade Diplomacy

      This activity covers how economic and trade diplomacy objectives are pursued

  • Week 4

    Public Diplomacy, Soft Power and Smart Diplomacy.

    • Public Diplomacy and Soft Power

      What different ways governments engage with foreign public? How countries can shape a positive image amongst international audience. What role does the public play in nation’s public diplomacy endeavours?

    • Smart Diplomacy: Latest trends in Diplomacy

      Smart Diplomacy is a concept of how diplomacy is evolving this century

  • Week 5

    Digital Diplomacy

    • Introduction

      Brief presentation of Week Leader, Recommended Readings and Introduction to the Week's topic.

    • Conceptions & Misconceptions

      A comprehensive guide to the most common interpretations of the Digital Diplomacy and misappreensions of its nature and deployment.

    • Digital Public Diplomacy

      A practical approach to the use of digital tools and techniques in Public Diplomacy.

    • Diplomacy & AI

      An introduction to the fundamental concepts of AI and critical analysis of its practical applications in the sphere of Diplomacy and International Relations.

    • Assessment & Wrap Up

      Week 5 Assement summarising Digital Diplomacy and recapitulating the topic.

  • Week 6

    Diplomatic Protocol and Etiquette

    • Diplomatic Communications and Protocol

      This covers correspondence, entertaining, dress codes, ceremonials (including visits and flags), decorations, presents, state visits, international conferences, weddings and funerals.

Learning on this course

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...

  • Improve career advancement opportunities with up to date skills and knowledge
  • Develop an understanding of the framework of modern diplomacy
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of relating digital diplomacy to foreign policy objectives
  • Synthesise the process of diplomatic work in its current environment
  • Apply the skills of communications and protocol in diplomatic context with leaders
  • Identify transferable knowledge and skills necessary to advance in every field

Who is the course for?

This informative course is for students and trainee diplomats aiming to pursue a career in diplomacy for their government or for international organisations.

It’s also suitable for junior diplomats looking to update their knowledge and sharpen their diplomatic skills.

Who will you learn with?

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.

Founder and Chief Executive of the Global Diplomatic Forum

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

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 to help you keep track of your learning
  • 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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