Summer 2023 - IS 808 G100

Special Topics in Governance and Conflict (4)

Inside Diplomacy: A Practitioner's Perspective

Class Number: 3783

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.



Diplomacy, the conduct of relations between sovereign states, has been practised 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 has 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 key 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%



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.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.