Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


nl en

Foreign Policy and Diplomacy




Admission requirements

The prerequisite for this course is a 200-level course in Global Justice, World Politics, or International Development.


The course revisits the theory and practice of foreign policy and diplomacy in an increasingly interdependent world. The course aims at understanding how foreign policy is made and what modern diplomacy is about. Attention will be paid to Foreign Policy Analysis and Diplomatic Studies, which use theoretical perspectives like realism, liberalism and social constructivism, as well as historical perspectives. The evolution of diplomacy as an institution will be discussed with specific attention for recent trends and innovations.

Course objectives

  • Understand the complexity of foreign policy and diplomatic studies.

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

  • Apply disciplinary 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.

Mode of instruction

The course is divided into a weekly one-hour plenary lecture followed with one hour discussion on Mondays and a two hour seminar on Thursdays.

The plenary lectures discuss 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, analyze 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 from the group for Mondays and Thursdays on the readings and/or on issues that relate to contemporary foreign policy and diplomacy.

Each week a study group is required to give a mini simulation of maximum 45 minutes in which they apply all the Research Questions of the preceding Monday lecture. We expect students to design the presentations in a form of Mini-Simulations about, e.g., the intervention in Afghanistan, the development of new balance of power in the Pacific, the Russia – Georgia war in 2008 and the role of foreign policy and diplomacy in the Middle East as a result of the Arab Awakening. It would clearly illustrate the ways in which states operate bilaterally or multilaterally on a number of levels, as well as the complexity of reaching an agreement. We expect the students to present their country positions (posting materials on Blackboard a day earlier) and have constructive negotiations, possibly reaching a consensus. Each country position should be uploaded on Blackboard on Wednesdays.

Assessment method

Learning aim: Understanding of course content
Assessment: Mini Simulation (1000 words on country position)
Percentage: 40%
Deadline: Ongoing weeks 1-7

Learning aim: Expression of holistic understanding of the course
Assessment: Take-home essay (3000 words)
Percentage 40%
Deadline: Week 8, 21 December 12:00 am

Learning aim: Interactive engagement as discussant with course material
Assessment: In class attendance and participation as discussant
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Ongoing weeks 1-7


A student manual denoting weekly readings will be posted on blackboard the week before the start of the semester. Additional information (PowerPoint presentations, useful websites, etc…) will also be found on blackboard over the course of the semester. Please see the “Blackboard”:http://blackboard.leidenuniv.nl/

Reading list

Compulsory Literature:

  • Joseph S. Nye, Jr. The Future of Power. New York: Public Affairs/Perseus Books Group, 2011

  • Christopher Hill, ‘The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy’, New York: Palgrave, 2003

Recommended Literature:

  • Bayne, N. & Woolcock, S. ‘The New Economic Diplomacy’, 2011.

  • Melissen, J. ‘The New Public Diplomacy’, 2005.

A student manual denoting weekly readings will be posted on blackboard the week before the start of the semester.

Contact information

Instructor: Prof. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Email Instructor: j.g.de.hoop.scheffer@cdh.leidenuniv.nl:mailto: j.g.de.hoop.scheffer@cdh.leidenuniv.nl
Course Convenor/Instructor: Arlinda Rrustemi
Email Convenor/Instructor: a.rrustemi@cdh.leidenuniv.nl:mailto:a.rrustemi@cdh.leidenuniv.nl

Weekly Overview

WEEK 1 Conceptual Issues in Foreign Policy and Diplomacy
WEEK 2 The European Union
WEEK 3 The United States
WEEK 4 The Republic of China
WEEK 5 The Russian Federation
WEEK 6 The Emerging Powers: South Africa, India and Brazil
WEEK 7 The Wider Middle East