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Diplomatic means can transform the smallness of a state into an asset when promoting national and international interests.

This course examines the manner in which small states conduct their diplomacy to pursue their foreign policy objectives, and to manage their participation in the global community of nations. The subject takes two aspects as starting premises: that diplomacy as practiced by small states is a subset of the basic themes and methods of diplomacy in general; and that small states, however defined, are necessary and active partners in the global community of nations.

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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 5017
ECTS credits: 
9
Mode(s) of study: 
Credit - Certificate - Master/PGD

This course has provided me with the necessary tools to aid in the execution of my duties.

Safraaz Ahmad Shadood
Course participant
Course details

Diplomatic means can transform the smallness of a state into an asset when promoting national and international interests.

This course examines the manner in which small states conduct their diplomacy to pursue their foreign policy objectives, and to manage their participation in the global community of nations. The subject takes two aspects as starting premises: that diplomacy as practiced by small states is a subset of the basic themes and methods of diplomacy in general; and that small states, however defined, are necessary and active partners in the global community of nations.

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

  • Provide examples, and discuss the implications of different definitions of small states.
  • Describe the role of small state diplomacy within the matrix of actions and interests which collectively determine a country’s foreign policy objectives.
  • Identify and explain the economic constraints, security threats and environmental vulnerabilities which influence the definition and pursuit of a small state’s foreign policy goals, and the diplomatic methods available to address these.
  • Describe the systems of multilateral and regional diplomacy, provide examples, and analyse tactics of groupings for the purpose of negotiation as well as alliances of interest and concern.
  • Argue for and defend the important role of small states within the global community of nations.

Excerpt from course materials

…Vulnerability is a concept that is applicable in all aspects of small state diplomacy. However, while smallness always brings an element of vulnerability in its own right, this vulnerability also carries different connotations in different areas. In the area of security, it is often a relative concept. In the area of economic development, important elements of vulnerability lie in the linkages between smallness and remoteness, and in those between smallness and low levels of development.

In environmental concerns, size is the major element of vulnerability. On the one hand, environmental risks and natural disasters affect large and small states indiscriminately, and their effects on specific locations are the same, irrespective of location in a large or a small state. On the other hand, the ability of a state to recover from the effects of environmental risks and natural disasters is highly related to size (although level of development is also a factor)…

Course outline

  1. Introduction to Diplomacy of Small States: We consider the role of small states as members of a set of principal, though not exclusive, actors in the international order. We look at qualitative and quantitative definitions of small states. We analyse the bases of foreign policy choices and diplomatic method, and consider the choices and methods available to small states in the areas of security, development and status building. 
  2. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Small States: We look at how foreign ministries of small states conduct tasks arising from their primary responsibility to help implement the state’s foreign policy; tasks relating to information, representation, protection, and negotiation. We also consider two aspects of the structure of a small state foreign ministry: organisational set-up and human resource management.
  3. Security: We focus on the central concern of any state’s security, namely the safeguarding of territorial integrity, which is as vital to small states as to larger states. We analyse the various threats to a small state’s territorial integrity (actual, latent, or potential) and examine how the diplomatic process in addressing each is unique.
  4. Economic Diplomacy: We look at the economic openness to which small states are subject, the linkages between smallness and peripherality, and smallness and low level of development. We examine the resilience of small states to their economic vulnerabilities and the way these vulnerabilities affect their bilateral and multilateral economic diplomacy.
  5. Environmental Diplomacy: States must take both preventative and remedial action in the face of environmental risks and natural disasters. In environmental concerns, size is the major element of vulnerability. We look at actions being taken by small island states to meet the challenge of long-term effects of such phenomena as ozone depletion and climate change; then the impact of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis.
  6. Multilateral Diplomacy: We look at two separate roots of multilateral diplomacy: the regional process, with geographical proximity as the primary motivating factor, and the broader process resulting from a commonality of interests and concerns. We discuss the small state’s perception of the multilateral process and the assumptions behind this process. We then look at the institutional dimension, including the system of groupings under which different states position themselves for purposes of negotiation and voting.
  7. Regional Diplomacy: We first consider the factors at work in promoting regional diplomacy. We consider regional arrangements for peace and security, and the role of the UN regional commissions which deal with a broader spectrum of social, economic, and political issues. We then examine the role of small states in regional arrangements in America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
  8. Small States and Globalisation: From the perspective of a small state, we examine two aspects of globalisation that fall directly within the domain of diplomacy: the way globalisation affects the role and status of various actors in the international arena, and the way globalisation affects the manner in which states interact with each other.
Reviews

The content provoked the essential strategic thinking required to maximize opportunities for small states in pursuing diplomatic relations across countries and organisations. Coming from a small developing country, this course has provided me with the necessary tools to aid in the execution of my duties.

Safraaz Ahmad Shadood
Foreign Trade Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guyana
July, 2013

The Diplomacy of Small States course was an eye opener for me, especially as a government official from a small island state (Fiji). The online lectures, information sharing with other students and lecturers and other resources provided by DiploFoundation were rich, focused on the areas of interest to me and value adding on many dimensions, as we draw parallels to world events, not only of the past but those actually happening on the ground. As a diplomat, it has broadened my knowledge on how small states should be strategically leveraging themselves as important actors in international diplomacy and that size does not necessarily determine the boundaries of outreach and influence in 21st century diplomacy.

Setaita Tupua Kalou
Second Secretary, Fiji Embassy in Brussels
June, 2012

Coming from a small state with limited resources constraints, training of diplomat designates becomes a difficult task. DiploFoundation, in this regard, has provided me with the golden opportunity for which I have been yearning for as a Foreign Service Officer to further my education. I have also had the opportunity of interacting with colleagues in the global classroom, thereby making the teaching methodology within reach. The subject, Diplomacy of Small States, has further strengthened my knowledge and belief that regardless of constraints, some small states have shown their ability to project formidable foreign policy initiatives. The course has to a large extent helped to broaden my horizon at a global level, thanks to the weekly assignments from colleagues, analysing the different perspectives on how small states practice their diplomacy. I therefore, wish to encourage more  Diplomats from emerging economies to capture this opportunity from DiploFoundation in their effort to strengthen their diplomatic skills.

Momodu Wurie
Head of Chancery, Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Tripoli, Libya
June 2011
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.
  • Post-graduate 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.
  • Rasons 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 this course as a Diplo Certificate Course
    Apply for this course as a University of Malta Accredited Course
    Take this course as part of the Master/PGD in Contemporary Diplomacy


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:

Diplomatic means can transform the smallness of a state into an asset when promoting national and international interests.

This course examines the manner in which small states conduct their diplomacy to pursue their foreign policy objectives, and to manage their participation in the global community of nations. The subject takes two aspects as starting premises: that diplomacy as practiced by small states is a subset of the basic themes and methods of diplomacy in general; and that small states, however defined, are necessary and active partners in the global community of nations.

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

  • Provide examples, and discuss the implications of different definitions of small states.
  • Describe the role of small state diplomacy within the matrix of actions and interests which collectively determine a country’s foreign policy objectives.
  • Identify and explain the economic constraints, security threats and environmental vulnerabilities which influence the definition and pursuit of a small state’s foreign policy goals, and the diplomatic methods available to address these.
  • Describe the systems of multilateral and regional diplomacy, provide examples, and analyse tactics of groupings for the purpose of negotiation as well as alliances of interest and concern.
  • Argue for and defend the important role of small states within the global community of nations.

Excerpt from course materials

…Vulnerability is a concept that is applicable in all aspects of small state diplomacy. However, while smallness always brings an element of vulnerability in its own right, this vulnerability also carries different connotations in different areas. In the area of security, it is often a relative concept. In the area of economic development, important elements of vulnerability lie in the linkages between smallness and remoteness, and in those between smallness and low levels of development.

In environmental concerns, size is the major element of vulnerability. On the one hand, environmental risks and natural disasters affect large and small states indiscriminately, and their effects on specific locations are the same, irrespective of location in a large or a small state. On the other hand, the ability of a state to recover from the effects of environmental risks and natural disasters is highly related to size (although level of development is also a factor)…

Course outline

  1. Introduction to Diplomacy of Small States: We consider the role of small states as members of a set of principal, though not exclusive, actors in the international order. We look at qualitative and quantitative definitions of small states. We analyse the bases of foreign policy choices and diplomatic method, and consider the choices and methods available to small states in the areas of security, development and status building. 
  2. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Small States: We look at how foreign ministries of small states conduct tasks arising from their primary responsibility to help implement the state’s foreign policy; tasks relating to information, representation, protection, and negotiation. We also consider two aspects of the structure of a small state foreign ministry: organisational set-up and human resource management.
  3. Security: We focus on the central concern of any state’s security, namely the safeguarding of territorial integrity, which is as vital to small states as to larger states. We analyse the various threats to a small state’s territorial integrity (actual, latent, or potential) and examine how the diplomatic process in addressing each is unique.
  4. Economic Diplomacy: We look at the economic openness to which small states are subject, the linkages between smallness and peripherality, and smallness and low level of development. We examine the resilience of small states to their economic vulnerabilities and the way these vulnerabilities affect their bilateral and multilateral economic diplomacy.
  5. Environmental Diplomacy: States must take both preventative and remedial action in the face of environmental risks and natural disasters. In environmental concerns, size is the major element of vulnerability. We look at actions being taken by small island states to meet the challenge of long-term effects of such phenomena as ozone depletion and climate change; then the impact of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis.
  6. Multilateral Diplomacy: We look at two separate roots of multilateral diplomacy: the regional process, with geographical proximity as the primary motivating factor, and the broader process resulting from a commonality of interests and concerns. We discuss the small state’s perception of the multilateral process and the assumptions behind this process. We then look at the institutional dimension, including the system of groupings under which different states position themselves for purposes of negotiation and voting.
  7. Regional Diplomacy: We first consider the factors at work in promoting regional diplomacy. We consider regional arrangements for peace and security, and the role of the UN regional commissions which deal with a broader spectrum of social, economic, and political issues. We then examine the role of small states in regional arrangements in America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
  8. Small States and Globalisation: From the perspective of a small state, we examine two aspects of globalisation that fall directly within the domain of diplomacy: the way globalisation affects the role and status of various actors in the international arena, and the way globalisation affects the manner in which states interact with each other.
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.
  • Post-graduate 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.

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.
  • Rasons 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 this course as a Diplo Certificate Course
    Apply for this course as a University of Malta Accredited Course
    Take this course as part of the Master/PGD in Contemporary Diplomacy


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.