SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Diplomatic Practice

Module Code:

This module teaches applied diplomatic skills through a series of group practical exercises and role-playing in carefully designed international scenarios which draw actively on SOAS' expertise on Asia and Africa. Training is jointly undertaken by serving and former diplomats, NGO experts and CISD faculty. These series of experienced guest speakers and practical exercises will give students direct experiences of the complexity involved in international diplomacy in this period. This module is designed to provide the analytical and presentational skills for students interested in careers in formal or informal diplomacy, policy analysis and non-governmental organisations. It will consist of skills lectures and workshops by specialists and practitioners and of interactive practical exercises in which skills are put to use. The sessions involving practitioners in the field of formal and non-governmental diplomacy aim to provide a professional context for both the academic and practical knowledge gained elsewhere within this module.

Key skill sets taught include; foreign policy analysis, negotiation in bilateral and conference settings, as well as the perparatory and presentational skills required to navigate betwee policy analysis and negotation

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

• This module is oriented towards providing students with a practical skillset. Designed with diplomacy in mind but tailored to focus on the transferrable skills useful in any setting.
• Students will have encountered and practiced negotiations through a series of workshops delivered by experienced trainers. At the end of this module students will not only be able to negotiate effectively but also to independently work out their position and tactics from a general brief.
• Finally students will learn how to analyse policy for a variety of actors. Additionally they will be able to design implementation oriented policy alternatives and communicate those effectively in the form of a policy analysis paper.
• Ultimately students will have the opportunity to bring all those skills to bear in a day long “crisis game”. This team exercise draws on a real world crisis and student creativity to test all of the above skills in a pressured but safe environment.


The module will be taught over 10 weeks with five 2 hour lectures in the first half of term and one 1 hour tutorial per week plus four whole (0900-1700) Saturdays for the Negotiation workshop and Crisis Management exercise

Method of assessment

• Assignment one (3000 words); 60%
• Assignment two (2000 words); 40%

Suggested reading

To make the most out of this module please start reading widely on international affairs and seek engagement with your colleagues to discuss and analyse developments you observe.

- Alison Holmes and Simon Rofe (eds.), Global Diplomacy (Westview 2016), Pauline Kerr and Geoffrey Wiseman, Diplomacy in a Globalizing World (Oxford University Press, 2012 covers a lot of ground including some history, concepts, international relations and many detailed diplomatic issues and questions.

Additional Reading

• Hedley Bull and Adam Watson (eds), The Expansion of International Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).
• Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006).
• Anthony Pagden, Worlds at War: The 2,500 Year Struggle Between East and West (Oxford: OUP, 2009).
• John M Hobson, The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory, 1760-2012 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
• Raymond Cohen and Raymond Westbrook (eds.) Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2000).
• John Darwin, After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire since 1405 (London: Allen Lane, 2007).
• C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Connections and Comparisons (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004).
• Robert Tignor et. al., Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the Modern World from the Mongol Empire to the Present (Norton & Co, 2002)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules