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 https://www.cfr.org/interview/mixed-record-sports-diplomacy. (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)

URL: https://www.ted.com/talks/carne_ross_an_independent_diplomat

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.