Summer 2021 - IS 444 D100

Inside Diplomacy: A Practitioner's Perspective (4)

Class Number: 3257

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Explores diplomacy in its bilateral and multilateral forms, from the perspective of practitioners. Examines how diplomatic principles and procedures have been applied in various areas of global policy (e.g. human rights, peacemaking, climate change, and disarmament). Focuses on the development of diplomatic skills, such as analysis, reporting, and negotiation. Students who have taken IS 409 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.


Diplomacy, the conduct of relations between sovereign states, has been practiced for centuries but is still poorly understood. This is due in part to the cloak of confidentiality that is frequently employed to hide its functioning from the public gaze. The protocol and professional jargon associated with diplomacy have also rendered it rather opaque to the uninitiated. This course will illuminate the machinery, principles, and application of diplomacy as it is currently practiced. The nature of diplomatic establishments and the two chief modes of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy will be examined. The diplomacy of specific areas of global public policy (e.g. human rights, peacemaking, climate change, disarmament, etc) will be discussed. Attention will be given to developing relevant diplomatic and professional skills such as analysis, negotiation, and the formulation and effective presentation of positions. A series of case studies and group diplomatic simulation exercises will supplement the course readings and class discussion. Real-world diplomacy is an intense, dynamic affair and active engagement is expected for students selecting this course.


- Impart an understanding of the nature and dynamics of contemporary diplomacy and insight into the factors making for success or failure in diplomatic endeavours.
- Foster effective professional writing and analysis as well as presentation skills
- Develop multi-party negotiating abilities and the formulation of practical strategies to achieve desired outcomes.
- Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively (as part of a team)


  • Memorandum to the Minister assignment 20%
  • Group Interview and Reporting Exercise 20%
  • Research Paper 40%
  • Class Participation 20%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at:



There is no required textbook for this course. Weekly readings will include primary documents as well as articles, book chapters and customized materials to support negotiation simulation exercises.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).