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Case Studies

ISD inaugurated the use of the case study method of instruction in international affairs. Since its inception, the program has developed nearly 250 cases on an exceptionally broad range of topics and events, some written by senior practitioners who were directly involved in the events they describe. These case studies support faculty and students who seek to bring real-world examples of diplomacy in action—its successes and its failures into the classroom.

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The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy advanced the application of the case study method of instruction to international affairs in the mid-1980s. Based on the case study method used at business schools, ISD case studies address the unique needs of the instructor presenting the wealth of themes and processes that comprise diplomacy. They are suitable for students from high school through graduate school.

ISD has a library of over 250 cases covering an exceptionally broad range of topics from U.S. diplomatic history. Written by senior practitioners directly involved in the events or academics well-versed in them, these case studies tell compelling stories. But they also represent a rigorous effort to bring the dynamics and nuance of diplomacy in action–its successes and its failures–into the classroom. They can be used either as standalones or to augment regular course material.

In addition to background on the specific issue or event, each case study offers detailed examination of the key players and the challenges and options available to policymakers. The structure for instruction can be thematic, geographic or era-specific. Many of the cases include teaching notes and other guides on their use. Please see our case study guidelines if you are interested in submitting a case study.