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Foreign Policy and Diplomacy


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

  • Introduction to International Relations & Diplomacy


The course revisits foreign policy and the practice of diplomacy in an increasingly chaotic world, characterized by power changes and shifts and geopolitical rivalry. It aims at understanding the complexity of how foreign policy is made in this context. Foreign policy analysis in a number of key multilateral organisations will be discussed (EU, UN, and OSCE) including the role of important nations and the way they protect their perceived interests. Students will engage in simulating the practice of diplomacy to gain more insight into its practical potential as well as its limits.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the complexity of the practice of foreign policy;

  • Understand how foreign policy is made and what modern diplomacy is about;

  • Apply interdisciplinary ideas of foreign policy and diplomacy in a bilateral as well as multilateral environment;

  • Find, evaluate and critically read relevant academic literature and other information;

  • Report on findings orally and in writing using the appropriate formats.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2021-2022 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The course will meet twice a week for a two-hour seminar of which the first will include a lecture and discussion. The second weekly class will be devoted to simulations/presentations on foreign policy scenarios where students will engage in role-playing.

The plenary lectures will address the concept of foreign policy and diplomacy from various perspectives and disciplines and introduces the methodology to research within a given discipline. For the topic of each lecture, please see the weekly overview.

Active participation in class discussions is required. Students will come to all class meetings prepared to discuss the reading, analyse current events in light of the reading, ask relevant questions, and answer questions from the instructor or other students. Students will be asked to participate in discussions on the course as discussants for each simulation. Three questions must be prepared for the lectures on the basis of the required readings.

Each week a group of students is tasked with preparing a mini simulation during which they will act as representatives of the nations involved in the given scenario. Attention should be paid to both bilateral or when relevant multilateral diplomacy at the level of nations or International Organisations. Students will also be trained in trying to draft a consensual text after their deliberations. We expect the students to present their country positions on Blackboard well in advance of their presentations in class.

Assessment Method

Position paper, 22%
Mini simulation, 19%; Ongoing weeks 1-8
Take-home essay (3000 words), 40%; week 8
In-class attendance (including short written answers to three discussion questions), 19%; Ongoing weeks 1-8

Reading list

Weekly readings to be stated in the syllabus, which will be uploaded to Brightspace approximately two weeks before class starts.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,