Public diplomacy is a hot topic today, yet only a decade ago, it was a very specialised term.
There is a new transparency in the interactions between governments and countries in the international system, influenced by factors such as:
- democratisation of diplomacy
- resurgence of methods of bilateral, regional, and multilateral diplomacy
- spotlight on external and internal issues
With more public interest in foreign affairs than ever before, ordinary people are demanding open diplomacy, and governments are obliged to respond with public information about the spending of funds they receive and the results that they achieve.
This course covers the goals and methods of public diplomacy, outlining what it can and cannot do, with case studies.
What will you learn?
- What public diplomacy is in practice, its key features, tasks and methods
- How to analyse different approaches to public diplomacy and identify realistic and workable tools and methods for different situations
- How to plan strategies for country image-building activities based on best practices
- How to assess and evaluate the impact of public diplomacy programmes
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
- Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing 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 wish to improve their understanding of diplomacy-related topics
The course consists of 8 modules:
- Public diplomacy – concepts and methods: The role of public diplomacy, the different definitions of public diplomacy, and why we study this subject. What are the methods of public diplomacy and what structures are best suited for its practice?
- Public diplomacy in building bilateral relations: We examine the role of public diplomacy in bilateral relationship building and its potential in relation to the other aspects of diplomacy. What are the best practices in this area? What kind of a public diplomacy strategy is needed?
- Building the national brand with public diplomacy: Image-building is a core issue in public diplomacy; the country has become a brand. What are the issues in this area and the possibilities in using brand building as a means of improving the overall impact of states in their international dealings? What examples are available to us from the world around us?
- The limitations of public diplomacy: Public diplomacy cannot be seen as a panacea for all ills. Throwing money at propaganda, however sophisticated it may be, does not guarantee results. Public diplomacy involves listening to the public, whether abroad or at home. What other realistic limits does public diplomacy impose? How should public diplomacy be optimised?
- Public diplomacy in the information age: As people become better informed through the internet and 24-hour news services, they develop their own opinions about international events and are less inclined to accept official positions without question. Non-state actors like NGOs and the business sector are also increasing their international activity and expertise. This lecture explores how traditional approaches and methods in public diplomacy can be modernised, including through the use of new developments in information and communications technologies.
- Public diplomacy in international organisations: Supra- and international organisations are devoting increasing resources to public diplomacy activities. This lecture looks at the aims of public diplomacy in selected organisations including the UN, NATO, and the EU, and assesses the specific challenges arising from the need to satisfy member states of the organisation, yet project an informative and persuasive image outside.
- Public diplomacy in the postmodern world: The USA invented the term ‘public diplomacy’ and spends billions annually on public diplomacy activities. They use public diplomacy to promote not only policies and products, but values and a way of life. Yet anti-Americanism is widespread. Is this hostility to the message or the messenger? This lecture looks at the message and the reactions, including the Obama effect, with a view to identifying challenges both for the USA and for states which need to interact with them.
- Measuring impact: Measuring the success of concepts like public diplomacy is notoriously difficult. But foreign ministries should be regularly reviewing their strategies, messages, targets, and partners and adjusting them as appropriate. How can they evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and track influence?
The Public 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
Throughout 2022, Diplo alumni members are entitled to a special 20% tuition discount in celebration of Diplo’s 20th anniversary.
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
Apply for a certificate course
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.