Diplomatic Practice

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

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, recognised experts and CISD faculty. These series of experienced guest speakers and practical exercises wil 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, strategic communications and crisis management. 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.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • This course is oriented towards providing students with a practical skillset. Designed with diplomacy in mind these are nevertheless transferrable skills useful in any setting.
  • Students will have encountered and practiced negotiations through a series of full day 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.
  • Students will have encountered and practiced mediation through a series of workshops and lectures delivered by experienced mediators. In the course of these workshops students will not only come to understand the value of mediating approaches to conflict but also to develop and practice skills in the area.
  • Students will be able to analyse and write speeches. With a particular focus on turning policy points into compelling rhetoric for a large audience. This will include practice at delivering speeches and the work with various stylistic devices to achieve maximal impact. Students will also learn and practice to think of communications strategically and as tactical component of policy implementation and crisis management.
  • Finally students will learn how to analyse policy for a variety of actors (governments, NGOs or Corporations). 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 management exercise”. 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 course will be taught over 10 weeks:

  • 2 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week.

Includes additional 120 hours practical classes and workshops which take place over weekends

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 60%
  • Assignment 2: 40%

Suggested reading

  • Grubb, Michael (2014), Planetary Economics: Energy, Climate Change and the Three Domains of Sustainable Development, London: Routledge.
  • Gupta, Joyeeta (2014), The History of Global Climate Governance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kuzemko, Caroline, Andreas Goldthau and Michael E. Keating (2015), The Global Energy Challenge: Environment, Development and Security, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Smil, Vaclav (2018), Energy and Civilization: A History, Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Van de Graaf, Thijs and Benjamin K. Sovacool (2020), Global Energy Politics, Cambridge: Polity Press.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules