So you want to study the ‘hot button’ topic of Public Diplomacy? Oh, you mean diplomatic studies, or maybe international relations, or possiblily public relations or communication studies. Oh, you don’t? You definately and specifically want to study the increasingly complex and important subject of public diplomacy? Well, let’s see what we can do.
How about the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Public Diplomacy or an MSc in Public Diplomacy at New York’s Syracuse University(see their enthusiastic students expounding on public diplomacy in the film below)? Then there’s a Public Diplomacy Course at Georgetown University in Wasington D.C. or you could attend Edward R. Murrow School of Public Diplomacy at Tufts University, Massachusetts.
What’s that? You say, the Murrow School appears semi-dormant and some other courses are merely minor elements of wider masters programmes? Hmm, I see.
Ah, anything outside of the US, you ask? In public diplomacy, specifically?
Um, well, let me see. Oh, yes, how about the online course in Public Diplomacy at the Diplo Foundation, Malta? And then there’s … um … well, there’s … ah … well, nowhere else, as far as I know*.
In the old days where diplomats spoke to diplomats and occasionally some PR-type would be brought in to do some outreach thing or media campaign for foreign audiences, it was acceptable that public diplomacy was not on any curricula – a good bit of experience and one would get the handle of it. Globalisation, the information age, technological advances and the spread of democracy have changed all that, and anyone expected to work in public diplomacy can expect a sharp learning curve. Yet as shown above, outside the US, there are few institutions providing that learning at high level, certainly not at the graduate level, preparing students for entering the workforce. One or two week courses here and there, aspects of Public diplomacy in wider studies, the occasional conference and articles published, but not genuine, specific, academic, graduate level learning.
John Hemery, in his chapter on public diplomacy training in ‘The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations’ (Mellisen, J. (Ed), Palgrave MacMillan, 2007), highlights the dearth of real academic education in the field. As ever, the US is learning its lessons quickly, as shown above. But what of the rest of the world? Is it time that nations, such as the UK, examined its personnel requirements in terms of public diplomacy (there are certainly calls for it to taken seriously), and looked closely at any academic approach that may be necessary to prepare its young people for 21st century diplomatic and communication environments?
*Note: Of course, CB3 may not be aware of all academic training available, and would appreciate being informed of other courses.