About the Institute
The richness of Georgetown University and its close relationship to Washington’s politics and diplomacy offer boundless opportunities for an institute like ours. ISD’s presence at Georgetown reflects the university’s dedication to study and action and to social justice and global engagement.
The contours of diplomatic engagement are changing rapidly, as are the environments in which diplomacy is crafted, honed, and practiced. New media have changed the pace and content of political awareness and provided new tools for diplomacy. Porous borders challenge national sovereignty, the conduct of war, and the ways in which peace can be pursued. The capacities of states and multilateral institutions to prevent and fix problems are challenged daily by the enormous agendas that global issues like health and the environment pose for the international community.
Each of these global issues tests the assumptions and practices of traditional diplomacy. Perhaps most important for our work, nonstate actors—whether benign or malign, constructive or disruptive—now play increasingly important roles in the conduct of international politics and finance and are leading us to think differently about global finance and development, conflict and reconciliation.
These new issues, conditions, and actors are helping to refine, and perhaps redefine, what diplomacy means and how it is conducted. They set the context for ISD’s work as we identify issues that are global in origin and diplomatic reach, and examine carefully the ways that states and nonstate actors respond to them and to one another.
This agenda infuses our studies, teaching, training, and outreach. Our associates and colleagues join with the many communities that engage the important, hard, enduring, and often unanswered issues that define our global polity. Together, we study the ways that diplomacy can shape global action and serve our complex global societies. And as we have for three decades, we continue to take our cues from the worlds of politics and education and from the university’s generous and abiding commitments to the worlds of words and deeds.