Katherine Michel
Political Science
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
  • Diplomacy
  • International Relations
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs



    Module on diplomacy in international relations. Intended for community college students and aligned with the requirements for POLS 140: Introduction to International Relations within the California Community College system. Includes lesson plan, required readings, and ancillary materials (lecture slides and worksheets).

    Lesson Plan: Diplomacy

    Lesson Plan: Diplomacy

    Topic: Key Topics and Contemporary Issues: Diplomacy

    Week #: 9

    Estimated Time: 150-180 minutes


    Assigned Readings:

    1. McGlinchey, Stephen. 2017. “Diplomacy.” In International Relations, Stephen McGlinchey, ed. Adapted by Katherine Michel. (13 pages, core reading)
    2. Kelman, Ilan. 2014. “Does Disaster Diplomacy Improve Inter-State Relations?” E-International Relations. Adapted by Katherine Michel. (8 pages, news piece)
    3. Interview by Eleanor Albert of Jonathan Grix (Interviewee). 2018. ”The Mixed Record of Sports Diplomacy.” Council on Foreign Relations. Available at (8 pages printed, news piece)
    4. Liu, Tony Tai-Ting. 2018. “Public Diplomacy: China’s Newest Charm Offensive.” E-International Relations. Adapted by Katherine Michel. (8 pages, news piece)


    Total page count: 29 plus 1 online text (37 pages if all printed)


    Learning Objectives:

    By the end of this lesson plan, students will be able to:

    1. Define diplomacy and consider the role it plays in foreign policy.
    2. Compare and contrast types of diplomacy, both traditional and non-traditional.
    3. Analyze and assess the successes and failures of diplomatic strategies in select cases.

    Misconceptions of Topic:

    1. Students tend to think that diplomatic immunity means diplomats can simply “get away with murder.”
    2. Students often think that only presidents/country leaders engage in diplomacy.



    Lesson Component


    Lecture: Review learning objectives

    Lecture slides

    Lecture and discussion: What is diplomacy?

    • Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)


    Reading 1

    Lecture slides


    Activity: Evaluating diplomatic immunity

    Worksheet 1


    Full text of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961):

    Lecture and discussion: Traditional conceptions of diplomacy

    Reading 1

    Lecture slides

    Think-pair-share: JCPOA

    Reading 1

    Lecture slides

    Lecture and discussion: Non-traditional conceptions of diplomacy

    • Economic diplomacy
    • Defense diplomacy
    • Disaster diplomacy
    • Public diplomacy
    • Digital diplomacy

    Readings 2,3,4,5

    Lecture slides


    Online resource (embedded in slides):

    Ministry of Defence Singapore (2016), “ADMM-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise 2016 - ONE” (6:50)


    Diplomacy in action: online video and discussion

    Worksheet 2


    Online resource:

    Ted Talk (2009), “An Independent Diplomat” (segment from 8:44 - 20:24)


    Optional: diplomacy simulation

    The US State Department provides diplomacy simulations that are free and open access (including expert videos and downloadable student materials):


    The Council on Foreign Relations provides case studies through its free Model Diplomacy simulation program:

    Conclude and wrap-up

    Lecture slides



    Required Readings: Diplomacy


    Introducing the readings:

    This unit's readings provide an introduction to diplomacy. The McGlinchey (2017) core reading (adapted by Katherine Michel) defines diplomacy and provides several examples of diplomacy efforts related to the regulation of nuclear weapons. This reading focuses on a traditional conception of diplomacy as state-centric and occurring behind closed doors. 

    The Kelman (2014), Albert (2018), and Liu (2018) readings each enhance student's understanding of non-traditional forms of diplomacy. The Kelman (2014) piece (adapted by Katherine Michel) asks whether disaster diplomacy improves interstate relations, the interview covered in Albert (2018) considers the mixed record of sports diplomacy, and the Liu (2018) piece (adapted by Katherine Michel) examines public diplomacy in China. These readings (in combination with the additional examples of non-traditional diplomacy included in the lecture slides) aim to provide students with a broad understanding of how diplomacy works.

    Ancillary Materials: Diplomacy


    • lecture slides
    • worksheet 1
    • worksheet 2