Due to the Corona virus it is unclear how the programmes will take place. For the latest news please check the course page in Blackboard/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 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. A Foreign Policy Analysis of a number of important nations and the way they protect their perceived interests will be made. The evolution of modern diplomacy will also be discussed.

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 will meet twice a week for a two-hours seminar, of which the first will be divided into a weekly one-hour plenary lecture followed by one hour of 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.


To be confirmed in course syllabus:

Mini simulation and 1000 words on country position: 40%
Take-home essay (3000 words): 40%
In-class attendance and participation as a discussant: 20%


Compulsory Literature:

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

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

  • Weekly readings to be posted on Blackboard

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

Contact Information

Prof. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Email: j.g.de.hoop.scheffer@cdh.leidenuniv.nl:mailto:j.g.de.hoop.scheffer@cdh.leidenuniv.nl

Assistant: Imane Maghrani
Email: i.maghrani@luc.leidenuniv.nl:mailto:i.maghrani@luc.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 People’s Republic of China
WEEK 5 The Russian Federation
WEEK 6 The Emerging Powers: BRICs and others
WEEK 7 The Wider Middle East

Preparation for first session