Diplomatic Skills and Capacities

Diplomacy is part art, part science and, as a profession, requires a number of core skills, including negotiation and mediation. ISD hosts a number of simulations and other capacities courses throughout the year which are open to all SFS students, and is also available to advise non-Georgetown entities on skills and capacity development.

International Negotiation and Decision-Making Simulations

ISD simulations use real-world cases from around the globe-focused on politics, security, development, humanitarian crises and political competition-to develop skills and capacity related to international negotiation and decision-making. 

The scenarios are based on history, current events and plausible future developments and require participants to grapple with some of the toughest issues in international affairs. Examples of exercises developed and run by ISD include:

  • Syria’s Civil War and the Refugee Crisis
  • Afghanistan: Chaos in Kabul?
  • International Negotiations to Reunify Cyprus (U.S. Army War College)
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: Conflict, Insurgency and Humanitarian Crisis
  • The Taiwan Strait: Crisis and International Negotiation
  • Infectious Disease Outbreak in North Korea: International Health and Humanitarian Crisis
  • Southern Caucasus: Seven-Party Talks over Nagorno-Karabakh (U.S. Army War College)

This experiential learning exposes participants to the complexity of negotiating with nations and entities that have diverse interests and competing positions on issues in the scenario. The key learning objective is the realistic search for shared interests that permits progress toward conflict resolution, sustainable development, humanitarian crisis mitigation and political accommodation. 

SLIDESHOW: South China Sea Simulation

SFS-Q Undergraduate Crisis Simulation

Skills and Capacities Short Courses for Diplomats

The Institute’s short courses for practitioners develop and strengthen diplomatic skills and capacity through interactive seminar discussions and debates, practice exercises to hone writing and oral presentation skills, and simulations.

The Institute has conducted training for diplomats and civil servants across the globe, including from the Middle East, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Pacific.

Tailored to meet the specific needs of practitioners at all levels of their careers, these courses help participants acquire new skills, polish their existing abilities and gain a broader, more dynamic understanding of what is needed to succeed as a 21st-century diplomat. The programs feature Georgetown’s world-renowned faculty, Institute senior staff, associates and senior fellows, as well as other prominent current and former diplomatic practitioners, and can take place in Washington, D.C., or other capitals.

A typical training program would incorporate five key areas of expertise-building, discussions, and site visits:

  • Diplomatic skills modules (e.g., negotiation, diplomatic reporting, economic statecraft, communication and media outreach, multilateral diplomacy);
  • Simulations and practicum focused on global issues in which participants negotiate, lead, collaborate in teams, make decisions and produce written products;
  • Global affairs modules: lectures, discussions and debates on some of the most complex diplomatic challenges of the 21st century (e.g., transnational security threats, energy, civil society, regional issues);
  • Perspectives on the craft of effective diplomacy from senior-level diplomats and practitioners;
  • Visits to key foreign policymaking institutions such as the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Congress, and think-tanks in Washington, D.C.