This course explores the emergence of tech diplomacy as a diplomatic practice, and aims to prepare practitioners for effective engagement in tech diplomacy. In particular, the course focuses on interactions between diplomats and the tech sector, and highlights the practices of various countries.
In 2017, Denmark appointed the first-ever tech ambassador. Tech diplomacy has since become a prominent term describing new diplomatic practices and the rising power of tech companies. On a practical level, it takes the form of tech ambassadors and other envoys, dedicated foreign policy strategies, and specialised units within ministries of foreign affairs. On a more philosophical level, it raises questions about shifts in sovereignty, the future of diplomatic practice, and how to negotiate humanistic values vis-à-vis tech companies.
What will you learn?
This course will enable you to:
- Explain the main ideas and concepts of tech diplomacy
- Gain a broad overview of the various actors and their approaches
- Develop a deeper understanding of countries’ representation in Silicon Valley and the various related practices
- Understand and apply various tech diplomacy practices
- Critically think about some of the broader shifts, for example in state sovereignty, related to tech diplomacy
- Apply the knowledge and skills gained in this course in your field of work
How will you learn?
In this course, you will:
- Interact intensively in discussions with classmates and lecturers from around the world
- Receive guidance and personalised feedback on your classwork from the course team.
- Meet a team of guest lecturers who will ensure that you understand the various perspectives and practices being applied in this field.
How long will you learn?
The course lasts for 6 weeks:
- 1 week of course orientation, with an introduction to online learning
- 4 weeks of addressing course topics one by one (see below for more details)
- 1 week for the final assignment and the completion of pending tasks
Who should apply
Diplo is seeking applications from the following applicants, from both developed and developing countries:
- Diplomats, civil servants, staff of international organisations, and others working in international relations who want to explore an emerging diplomatic practice
- Tech-sector employees who are seeking to better understand diplomatic practices related to tech diplomacy
The following applicants are also welcome:
- Journalists, staff of non-governmental organisations, translators, business people, and others who interact with diplomats and wish to improve their understanding of diplomacy-related topics
- Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing to study topics not offered through their university programmes or diplomatic academies, and want to gain deeper insight through interactions with practising diplomats
Tech diplomacy is a relatively new practice and there are a number of different ways to understand and define it. In this course, we are focusing on the interactions between diplomats and the tech sector. We trace the development of tech diplomacy and identify specific practices of how diplomats and the tech sector interact. In doing so, we also look at new and innovative forms of diplomatic representation.
Tech diplomacy also raises questions about shifts in sovereignty and the broader impact of the tech sector. By engaging with these topics and practices, the course aims to prepare practitioners for new forms of diplomatic practice, as well as effective interactions between tech and diplomacy.
Partnerships and collaboration
The course is developed by DipoFoundation with support from the Tech Diplomacy Network. The network was launched in 2023 to foster collaboration and dialogue between the diplomatic community, civil society, and the tech industry in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
- Tech diplomacy emerges: This module outlines the origin of tech diplomacy, explores various definitions and perspectives, and highlights some of tech diplomacy’s key elements.
- Tech diplomacy in practice: This module outlines concrete practices, and gives an overview of the various approaches taken by countries and the tech sector. It also provides an overview of relevant country strategies, as well as possible next steps for countries ‘not yet on the map’, in particular the Global South.
- Interactions at the tech–diplomacy boundary: This module focuses on forms of engagement between tech and diplomacy, such as the business-focused approach, cultural tech diplomacy, the human-rights-centered approach (digital human rights, HR in business practices), discussions on values and principles, and regulation and lobbying.
- Broader questions and the road ahead: This module zooms out again and discusses the shifts in sovereignty, the role of the state, the impact of the tech sector on societies and democracy, and the responsibilities that emerge from this.
Former Austrian Tech Ambassador in Silicon Valley; Founder & Co-Director, Tech Diplomacy Network
Tech Diplomat; Deputy Consul General of Brazil, San Francisco
International Tech Policy Expert
Executive Vice President, Global Government Affairs, Salesforce
Executive Director, Diplo US
Executive Director, Diplo
Senior Technology Diplomacy Adviser at the General Consulate of Switzerland in San Francisco
This online course is based on a collaborative learning approach, involving a high level of interaction over a period of 6 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 3 to 5 hours of study time per week.
Participants who successfully complete the course will receive an electronic certificate issued by Diplo.
Applicants for the certificate course should have:
- An interest in exploring tech diplomacy through collaborative learning approach with a diverse set of participants
- Sufficient English reading, writing, and speaking skills to undertake postgraduate-level studies (including reading texts and discussing complex concepts with other course participants)
- Regular internet access (broadband is preferable)
- A minimum of 3–5 hours commitment per week, and the readiness to participate in hour-long online class sessions (once a week at specified times)
Fees and scholarships
The course fee is €500 per participant, due upon acceptance into the course.
Note: Diplo alumni can benefit from a 15% discount on the fee for this course.
A limited number of partial scholarships, offered by Diplo, are available for applicants from developing countries.
Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution.
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.
If you are applying for financial assistance, please upload your CV and a motivation letter that 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?
- What particular tech diplomacy challenges would you like to overcome by completing this course?
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.