Last year’s Summer School on Diplomacy took place between the 21st and 27th of July 2014 at the University of Bucharest. The Summer School has evolved over the years and it has reached a new phase. Last year it was more ambitious, under the topic “21st Century Diplomacy”, offering an in-depth overview of the main topics of today’s diplomacy.
Diplomacy has embraced democracy and topics that used to be with the sole purview of diplomats from foreign ministries, embassies and permanent missions (let’s call it professional diplomacy) have been entrusted to people and institutions outside the field of diplomacy. However, this did not mean that professional diplomacy was relegated to a corner of international relations. On the contrary, as relations between countries expand exponentially, professional diplomacy has been given the important task of providing the backbone of international relations.
In order to understand 21st Century Diplomacy, the student should be given the opportunity to see more than what professional diplomacy does. Seeing and understanding 21st Century Diplomacy in all its complexity is what the Summer School offered. Students had the opportunity to learn about the way diplomacy has changed over the passing of time, the new security protocols, conflict resolution techniques, crisis management procedures, altogether while being given the chance to apply and enact the principles of diplomacy to what they have learned, all this under the guidance of university professors, diplomats and experts in the field.
The project provided an educational tool complementary to the academic experience of the participants in the study of diplomacy and international relations. The activities consisted of seminars and workshops, grouped into several modules:
1. Diplomacy Ad Portas
2. Diplomacy for an Interconnected World
3. Diplomacy for a Better World
4. Diplomacy and the Economy
5. Diplomacy in a World of Crises
6. East. Always … into the East
The focus was put on the changes conveyed by new-age diplomacy and all the responsibilities inferred by it, in respect to the current international stage and its divergent implications. Since ensuring security is one of the most important responsibilities of a state, we expect governments, as well as the efferent international institutions and organizations to protect their citizens from any threats. Recently, the capacity of national governments to protect their citizens and to secure their resources has been a subject up for heated debate and these types of situations may easily develop into crisis situations. Moreover, negotiations have always been a key aspect of diplomacy and thus being a good negotiator is a valued ability on the 21st century diplomatic stage. Furthermore, it is vital to have the knowledge of how diplomacy works nowadays and how to resolve a conflict before it turns into a crisis, as well as being able to handle such a situation if it degenerates.
Thus, the activities during the Summer School on Diplomacy revolved around the key aspects brought by the evolution of diplomacy, endowing its participants with essential knowledge in the relevant areas.