E-diplomacy walks the line between continuity and change in our digital era.
Diplomatic activities are increasingly supported by internet and digital tools, and other information and communications technologies (ICTs). Diplomats rely on the internet to find information, communicate with colleagues via email, 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 also examines the policy implications inherent in these processes.
Questions discussed include: How do we address the (mis)use of social media not only in public diplomacy, but in all diplomatic outreach and networking? How can we optimise the use of information, including confirming veracity and sources? Who is responsible for our cybersecurity? Can we really negotiate online? Can we find a balance between transparency and security? What are the best ways to implement online engagement to realise its advantages for inclusion and economy without losing the advantages of face-to-face meetings?
This course can be taken as part of the Advanced Diploma in Internet Governance.
What will you learn?
- How to list, describe, and analyse the current and potential use of internet tools for diplomatic activities
- How to identify security risks in the use of online tools for diplomatic activities and describe practices to improve security
- How to identify appropriate situations for online negotiations and e-participation; plan, and run such activities
- To suggest guidelines for appropriate use of social media and other online tools in diplomatic activities, especially in public diplomacy outreach, and organise effective diplomatic campaigns using such tools
- How to identify and analyse the basic elements of data use in diplomacy
- To locate relevant information on the internet, evaluate the validity of that information, and describe appropriate contexts for using the information in diplomatic activities
- To gain practical experience using online tools
How will you learn?
In this course, you will interact intensively in discussions with classmates and lecturers from around the world. You will receive guidance and personalised feedback on your classwork from the course team.
How long will you learn?
The course lasts for 10 weeks:
- 1 week of course introduction and orientation to online learning
- 8 weeks of addressing the course topics one by one (see below for more details)
- 1 week for the final assignment and completing pending tasks
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.
The course consists of 8 modules:
- Introduction to E-diplomacy: 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 profoundly using email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and other tools. How has diplomacy adjusted to these deep changes? Has the internet brought a revolution, or is this simply another stage in the evolution of diplomacy?
- New Topics and Tools for Diplomatic Activities: This module presents practical considerations for social networks, blogs, and other tools. What are the new topics, tools and environment? We are witnessing an evolution in internet resources, especially for professional applications. We look at trends in social media tools and provide an initial mapping of the main diplomatic functions.
- Cybersecurity and Online Safety: Any internet user is exposed to risks from viruses, hacking, identity theft, and other threats. Diplomats are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. 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 module, we discuss internet risks and propose ways that diplomatic services can ensure safe and reliable communication without substantially reducing internet functionality.
- Digital Tools in Negotiation: In any conference room today, most delegates have an open notebook computer, tablet, or smartphone 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. E-participation in events is becoming easier through video streams, text capturing, and group meeting tools. What is the future of traditional meetings? What must be done face-to-face and what can be done online? What are the advantages and disadvantages of e-participation?
- The Internet and Public Diplomacy I – Overview: This module takes a closer look at how the internet can enhance public diplomacy functions, from well-designed websites to the use of appropriate social media platforms. The targeted use of such tools can shape public perception and opinion worldwide. Many people follow influential blogs, Twitter, and YouTube for current information, comments, and views. However, the danger of information overload and the difficulty to find, filter, and analyse accurate and useful information adds new levels to the need for information management skills.
- The Internet and Public Diplomacy II – Social Media: This second module on public diplomacy focuses on the way social media can be deployed in public diplomacy strategies and provides examples of the effective use of social media and communication in public diplomacy.
- Data Diplomacy: This module gives an overview of data diplomacy and its importance. It focuses on the use of digital tools while reviewing the opportunities and challenges related to the use of big data in diplomatic activities.
- Working with Information: 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, contextualise, and effectively use this information?
The E-Diplomacy online course is based on a collaborative learning approach, involving a high level of interaction over a period of 10 weeks. Reading materials and the necessary tools for online interaction are provided in a virtual classroom.
Each week, participants study and discuss course materials and complete additional online activities. At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet to discuss the topic of the week. For successful completion, this course requires a minimum of 5 to 7 hours of study time per week.
Participants who successfully complete a certificate course receive a certificate issued by Diplo which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link. Participants who successfully complete an accredited course will receive 9 ECTS credits from the University of Malta.
All course applicants must have regular internet access; dial-up connections are sufficient, but broadband is preferable.
Applicants for certificate courses must have:
- An undergraduate university degree OR 3 years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations
- Sufficient English language skills to undertake postgraduate-level studies
Applicants for accredited courses must meet the 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 2 years (minimum requirements: TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL 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 and scholarships
Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course or a Diplo certificate:
- University of Malta accredited courses: €850
- Diplo certificate courses: €690
Note: Diplo alumni can benefit from a 15% discount on the fee for this course.
A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries. Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution.
You can apply for this course as:
- A certificate course, in order to obtain a certificate issued by Diplo
- An accredited course, to obtain 9 ECTS credits from the University of Malta
- As part of the Master/Postgraduate Diploma in Contemporary Diplomacy
- As a part of the Advanced Diploma in Internet Governance programme
How to apply
Fill out the short form to start your application process for this course. You will receive an instruction email on how to continue.
Applying for financial assistance? Please indicate this on the application form, upload your CV, and a motivation statement that should include:
- Details of your relevant professional and educational background
- Reasons for your interest in the course
- Why do 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 Diplo is available only to applicants from developing countries!
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available in the course.
Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.
- Two copies of the University of Malta application form filled out in full
- Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts
- English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by a translator
- English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL 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
- Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport
- 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.
- Application fee or proof of payment (€100, non-refundable – see methods of payment).
Please send the complete application package by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
Anutruf, Ground Floor
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
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.