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Overview

Should diplomats blog? Can we negotiate effectively online? Are there security risks for diplomats in using online tools?

Diplomatic activities are increasingly supported by Internet tools. Diplomats rely on the Internet to find information, communicate with colleagues via e-mail, and negotiate draft texts in electronic format; diplomats are also increasingly using new social networking platforms such as blogs and Facebook. This course focuses on the opportunities and challenges Internet tools offer for diplomatic activities. It examines and analyses the use of new tools in the context of everyday diplomatic activities. The course offers both an overview of this emerging field, and practical experience using e-diplomacy tools (for example, social media tools like blogs, Twitter and Facebook). As the main course assignment, participants will develop social media strategies for their diplomatic missions, ministries or organisations; or social media campaigns focused on particular issues.

For more on Diplo's work in e-diplomacy visit E-diplomacy in focus.

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Open for applications: 

No

Application deadline: 
Credit: 2 March 2015; Certificate: 30 March 2015
Start date: 
4 May 2015
Course code: 
IRL 5012
ECTS credits: 
9
Mode(s) of study: 
Credit - Certificate - Master/PGD

… practical purpose made the course more grounded and real.

Ingrid Berlanga
Course participant
Course details

Should diplomats blog? Can we negotiate effectively online? Are there security risks for diplomats in using online tools?

Diplomatic activities are increasingly supported by Internet tools. Diplomats rely on the Internet to find information, communicate with colleagues via e-mail, and negotiate draft texts in electronic format; diplomats are also increasingly using new social networking platforms such as blogs and Facebook. This course focuses on the opportunities and challenges Internet tools offer for diplomatic activities. It examines and analyses the use of new tools in the context of everyday diplomatic activities. The course offers both an overview of this emerging field, and practical experience using e-diplomacy tools (for example, social media tools like blogs, Twitter and Facebook). As the main course assignment, participants will develop social media strategies for their diplomatic missions, ministries or organisations; or social media campaigns focused on particular issues.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • List, describe and analyse the current or potential use of Internet tools for diplomatic activities.
  • Describe the use, and assess the risks, of e-mail in diplomatic communication.
  • Identify security risks in the use of online tools for diplomatic activities and describe practices to improve security.
  • Locate relevant information on the Internet, evaluate the validity of that information, and describe appropriate contexts for using the information in diplomatic activities.
  • Explain how to participate in social networking platforms such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, suggest appropriate use of these tools in diplomatic activities, and organise effective diplomatic campaigns using such tools.
  • Identify appropriate situations for online negotiations; plan, and run such negotiations.

Course outline

  1. The Internet and Changes in Diplomacy - Tools, Techniques, Approaches: The Internet has revolutionised two core aspects of diplomacy: information and communication. Social media, blogs, Google, Wikipedia and numerous databases offer simple and powerful access to information. Communication patterns have changed deeply through e-mail, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and other tools. How has diplomacy adjusted to these deep changes? What are the new topics, tools and environment? Has the Internet brought a revolution, or is this simply another stage in the evolution of diplomacy?
  2. Social Media and Diplomacy – Blogs, Wikis, Social Networks and Other Tools: We are witnessing an evolution in Internet usage from Web 1.0 (e-mail, websites) towards Web 2.0 (social media). Today, Facebook has close to 500 million users, Twitter users send around 140 million tweets per day, 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube, and over 550 million websites exist. Web 2.0 tools are also entering the diplomatic realm. This lecture introduces social media tools and provides an initial mapping with the main diplomatic functions.
  3. The Internet and Public Diplomacy: This lecture looks at the use of social media tools in public diplomacy. Social media tools shape public opinion worldwide. Many people follow influential blogs, Twitter and YouTube for current information, comments and views. This lecture focuses on the way social media can be deployed in public diplomacy strategies, and provides examples of effective use of social media in public diplomacy. 
  4. The Internet and Diplomatic Language: Language is one of the key tools of diplomacy. This lecture looks at the interplay between Internet communication and diplomatic language, with focus on various Internet tools such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook. How can diplomats reconcile the informal style of Internet communication with diplomatic formalities? What can be communicated via e-mail; and does e-mail present security risks?
  5. Information Management in the Digital Era – Search, Evaluation, Diplomatic Contextualisation: Information gathering and analysis has been one of the core diplomatic functions since the early days of diplomacy. In the past, gathering information was a complex task; today, vast amounts of information can be found through Wikipedia, social media and other online sources. However, the Internet poses new challenges in navigating through information and identifying reliable sources. To what extent can diplomatic services rely on information obtained online? How can diplomats evaluate and contextualise this information?
  6. Safe Use of the Internet for Diplomats: Any Internet user is exposed to risks from viruses, hacking, identity theft and other threats. Diplomats are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. However, higher security often involves trade-offs in functionality, or reduced access to Internet services. Many diplomatic services limit access to the Internet, blocking some services such as Facebook and Twitter. In this lecture we discuss Internet risks and propose ways that diplomatic services can ensure safe and reliable communication without substantially reducing Internet functionality.
  7. Online Negotiation and E-Participation: In any conference room today, most delegates have an open notebook computer, tablet, or smart-phone in front of them. These mobile devices and the ubiquitous Internet have changed the dynamics of conference events. Discussions take place in the online space in parallel to the official floor statements. Increasingly, some texts can be drafted online. In addition, e-participation in events is becoming easy through video streams, text capturing and group meeting tools. What is the future of traditional meetings? What can be done in situ and what can be done online? What are the advantages and disadvantages of e-participation?
  8. Online Learning for Diplomatic Services: Today’s fast changing environment, increasingly complex topics, and ever-scarce resources require diplomatic services to invest in constant learning and skill improvements. Diplomats in any service are geographically scattered all over the world in embassies, permanent missions and consulates. An attempt to gather them in a single classroom for learning involves inconvenience, absence from work, high costs and complex logistics. These features make online learning an obvious choice for diplomatic training.
Reviews

E-diplomacy breaks new ground in addressing the foremost challenges facing international relations in the digital era. A focused and practice-oriented online tuition programme, enriched through the wealth of personal knowledge and experiences of the participating professionals from such a diverse multicultural background, the course provides an overarching insight into the organisation of the communication functions of 21st Century diplomacy.

Martin Micallef
Public Affairs & Communications, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean
July, 2013

The DiploFoundation platform for online learning is the best I have experienced. The hypertext function allows you to have a discussion as if you were actually in a classroom, making learning from other participants easy and fruitful.

Fernando de la Mora Salcedo
Consul for Legal and Political Affairs, Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix, Arizona
June, 2012

The most useful aspect of the course on E-Diplomacy is the awareness of the importance of e-tools in the work of a diplomat and a government agency. If diplomacy actors would be more convinced of the benefits of social media and e-tools in their everyday work life would be much easier. The feedback from the organizers of the course as well as from the participants was fully enriching. The elaboration of a strategy of social media with a practical purpose made the course more grounded and real.

Ingrid Berlanga
Third Secretary, Political, Commercial and Cultural Attachè at the Embassy of Mexico in Kenya
June, 2012
Who should apply

This course will be of interest to:

  • Practising diplomats, civil servants, and others working in international relations who want to refresh or expand their knowledge under the guidance of experienced practitioners and academics.
  • Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing to study topics not offered through their university programmes or diplomatic academies and to gain deeper insight through interaction with practising diplomats.
  • Postgraduate students or practitioners in other fields seeking an entry point into the world of diplomacy.
  • Journalists, staff of international and non-governmental organisations, translators, business people and others who interact with diplomats and wish to improve their understanding of diplomacy-related topics.
Prerequisites

All course applicants must have regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).

Applicants for certificate courses must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree OR three years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations.
  • Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written essay assignments of up to 2500 words in length).

Applicants for accredited courses must meet University of Malta prerequisites:

  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours.
  • Proof of English language proficiency obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL: paper-based – 650; Internet-based – 95. IELTS: 6.5. Cambridge: Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). If when applying you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results, the University may issue a conditional letter of acceptance.
Fees

Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course:

  • €790 (University of Malta Accredited Course)
  • €650 (Diplo Certificate Course)

Applicants must pay full fees upon official acceptance into the course. The fee includes:

  • University of Malta application fee (for University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
  • Full tuition
  • Course orientation pack where applicable (optional readings)
  • Access to all course materials online, via Diplo’s online classroom
  • Access, via the Internet, to the University of Malta e-journal collection (University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
  • Personal interaction via the online classroom with course lecturers, staff and other participants
  • Online technical support
  • For Diplo Certificate Courses, postgraduate level certificate issued by DiploFoundation on successful completion of course requirements (interaction and participation, all assignments)

Financial assistance

Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution. A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries.

To apply for a scholarship please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in the course.
  • Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

As Diplo's ability to offer scholarship support is limited, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek scholarship funding directly from local or international institutions. Our guide to Finding Scholarships for Online Study may provide you with some useful starting points.

How to apply

A number of routes for application are available:


Apply for a Diplo Certificate Course

Applicants for certificate courses should apply online.

If you are applying for financial assistance, please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in the course.
  • Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

Please note that financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries. Late applications will be considered if there are spaces available in the course.


Apply for a University of Malta Accredited Course

Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.

  1. Two copies of the University of Malta application form filled out in full (download form for overseas applicants; download form for applicants with Maltese qualifications).
  2. Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts.
  3. English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by translator.
  4. English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL: paper-based – 650; Internet-based – 95. IELTS: 6.5. Cambridge: Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results.
  5. Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport.
  6. If you are requesting financial assistance, please include your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include details of your relevant professional and educational background; reasons for your interest in the course; and why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: i.e. how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country? Financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries.
  7. Application fee or proof of payment (€100 – non-refundable – see methods of payment).

Please mail complete application packages to the address at the bottom of the page.


Cancellation Policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.

Print course info
Course details:

Should diplomats blog? Can we negotiate effectively online? Are there security risks for diplomats in using online tools?

Diplomatic activities are increasingly supported by Internet tools. Diplomats rely on the Internet to find information, communicate with colleagues via e-mail, and negotiate draft texts in electronic format; diplomats are also increasingly using new social networking platforms such as blogs and Facebook. This course focuses on the opportunities and challenges Internet tools offer for diplomatic activities. It examines and analyses the use of new tools in the context of everyday diplomatic activities. The course offers both an overview of this emerging field, and practical experience using e-diplomacy tools (for example, social media tools like blogs, Twitter and Facebook). As the main course assignment, participants will develop social media strategies for their diplomatic missions, ministries or organisations; or social media campaigns focused on particular issues.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • List, describe and analyse the current or potential use of Internet tools for diplomatic activities.
  • Describe the use, and assess the risks, of e-mail in diplomatic communication.
  • Identify security risks in the use of online tools for diplomatic activities and describe practices to improve security.
  • Locate relevant information on the Internet, evaluate the validity of that information, and describe appropriate contexts for using the information in diplomatic activities.
  • Explain how to participate in social networking platforms such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, suggest appropriate use of these tools in diplomatic activities, and organise effective diplomatic campaigns using such tools.
  • Identify appropriate situations for online negotiations; plan, and run such negotiations.

Course outline

  1. The Internet and Changes in Diplomacy - Tools, Techniques, Approaches: The Internet has revolutionised two core aspects of diplomacy: information and communication. Social media, blogs, Google, Wikipedia and numerous databases offer simple and powerful access to information. Communication patterns have changed deeply through e-mail, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and other tools. How has diplomacy adjusted to these deep changes? What are the new topics, tools and environment? Has the Internet brought a revolution, or is this simply another stage in the evolution of diplomacy?
  2. Social Media and Diplomacy – Blogs, Wikis, Social Networks and Other Tools: We are witnessing an evolution in Internet usage from Web 1.0 (e-mail, websites) towards Web 2.0 (social media). Today, Facebook has close to 500 million users, Twitter users send around 140 million tweets per day, 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube, and over 550 million websites exist. Web 2.0 tools are also entering the diplomatic realm. This lecture introduces social media tools and provides an initial mapping with the main diplomatic functions.
  3. The Internet and Public Diplomacy: This lecture looks at the use of social media tools in public diplomacy. Social media tools shape public opinion worldwide. Many people follow influential blogs, Twitter and YouTube for current information, comments and views. This lecture focuses on the way social media can be deployed in public diplomacy strategies, and provides examples of effective use of social media in public diplomacy. 
  4. The Internet and Diplomatic Language: Language is one of the key tools of diplomacy. This lecture looks at the interplay between Internet communication and diplomatic language, with focus on various Internet tools such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook. How can diplomats reconcile the informal style of Internet communication with diplomatic formalities? What can be communicated via e-mail; and does e-mail present security risks?
  5. Information Management in the Digital Era – Search, Evaluation, Diplomatic Contextualisation: Information gathering and analysis has been one of the core diplomatic functions since the early days of diplomacy. In the past, gathering information was a complex task; today, vast amounts of information can be found through Wikipedia, social media and other online sources. However, the Internet poses new challenges in navigating through information and identifying reliable sources. To what extent can diplomatic services rely on information obtained online? How can diplomats evaluate and contextualise this information?
  6. Safe Use of the Internet for Diplomats: Any Internet user is exposed to risks from viruses, hacking, identity theft and other threats. Diplomats are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. However, higher security often involves trade-offs in functionality, or reduced access to Internet services. Many diplomatic services limit access to the Internet, blocking some services such as Facebook and Twitter. In this lecture we discuss Internet risks and propose ways that diplomatic services can ensure safe and reliable communication without substantially reducing Internet functionality.
  7. Online Negotiation and E-Participation: In any conference room today, most delegates have an open notebook computer, tablet, or smart-phone in front of them. These mobile devices and the ubiquitous Internet have changed the dynamics of conference events. Discussions take place in the online space in parallel to the official floor statements. Increasingly, some texts can be drafted online. In addition, e-participation in events is becoming easy through video streams, text capturing and group meeting tools. What is the future of traditional meetings? What can be done in situ and what can be done online? What are the advantages and disadvantages of e-participation?
  8. Online Learning for Diplomatic Services: Today’s fast changing environment, increasingly complex topics, and ever-scarce resources require diplomatic services to invest in constant learning and skill improvements. Diplomats in any service are geographically scattered all over the world in embassies, permanent missions and consulates. An attempt to gather them in a single classroom for learning involves inconvenience, absence from work, high costs and complex logistics. These features make online learning an obvious choice for diplomatic training.
Who should apply:

This course will be of interest to:

  • Practising diplomats, civil servants, and others working in international relations who want to refresh or expand their knowledge under the guidance of experienced practitioners and academics.
  • Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing to study topics not offered through their university programmes or diplomatic academies and to gain deeper insight through interaction with practising diplomats.
  • Postgraduate students or practitioners in other fields seeking an entry point into the world of diplomacy.
  • Journalists, staff of international and non-governmental organisations, translators, business people and others who interact with diplomats and wish to improve their understanding of diplomacy-related topics.
Methodology:

This course is conducted entirely online over a period of ten weeks. Reading materials and tools for online interaction are provided through an online classroom. Each week, participants read the provided lecture text, adding questions, comments and references in the form of hypertext entries. Lecturers and other participants read and respond to these entries, creating interaction based on the lecture text. During the week, participants complete additional online activities (e.g. further discussion via blogs or forums, quizzes, group tasks, simulations or short assignments). At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet online in a chat room to discuss the week’s topic. To complete the course successfully, participants must write several essay assignments. Courses are based on a collaborative approach to learning, involving a high level of interaction.

This course requires a minimum of five to seven hours of study time per week.

For more on Diplo's approach visit Capacity development in e-diplomacy

Prerequisites:

All course applicants must have regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).

Applicants for certificate courses must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree OR three years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations.
  • Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written essay assignments of up to 2500 words in length).

Applicants for accredited courses must meet University of Malta prerequisites:

  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours.
  • Proof of English language proficiency obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL: paper-based – 650; Internet-based – 95. IELTS: 6.5. Cambridge: Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). If when applying you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results, the University may issue a conditional letter of acceptance.
Fees:

Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course:

  • €790 (University of Malta Accredited Course)
  • €650 (Diplo Certificate Course)

Applicants must pay full fees upon official acceptance into the course. The fee includes:

  • University of Malta application fee (for University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
  • Full tuition
  • Course orientation pack where applicable (optional readings)
  • Access to all course materials online, via Diplo’s online classroom
  • Access, via the Internet, to the University of Malta e-journal collection (University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
  • Personal interaction via the online classroom with course lecturers, staff and other participants
  • Online technical support
  • For Diplo Certificate Courses, postgraduate level certificate issued by DiploFoundation on successful completion of course requirements (interaction and participation, all assignments)

Financial assistance

Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution. A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries.

To apply for a scholarship please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in the course.
  • Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

As Diplo's ability to offer scholarship support is limited, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek scholarship funding directly from local or international institutions. Our guide to Finding Scholarships for Online Study may provide you with some useful starting points.

How to apply:

A number of routes for application are available:


Apply for a Diplo Certificate Course

Applicants for certificate courses should apply online.

If you are applying for financial assistance, please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in the course.
  • Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

Please note that financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries. Late applications will be considered if there are spaces available in the course.


Apply for a University of Malta Accredited Course

Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.

  1. Two copies of the University of Malta application form filled out in full (download form for overseas applicants; download form for applicants with Maltese qualifications).
  2. Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts.
  3. English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by translator.
  4. English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL: paper-based – 650; Internet-based – 95. IELTS: 6.5. Cambridge: Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results.
  5. Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport.
  6. If you are requesting financial assistance, please include your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include details of your relevant professional and educational background; reasons for your interest in the course; and why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: i.e. how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country? Financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries.
  7. Application fee or proof of payment (€100 – non-refundable – see methods of payment).

Please mail complete application packages to the address at the bottom of the page.


Cancellation Policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.