Diplomatic Case Studies

Course Description: 

This course presents case studies in international diplomacy of today. It will be a demanding interactive up-to-date study tour on important current foreign policy issues. The seminar concentrates on issues relating to security policy of and for Europe, on Global Governance, Public and Cultural Diplomacy. It ends with a „Geopolitical Detective Story“ where we try to find out how the political world order will look like in 2040. An excursion to t he OSCE HQ in Vienna will be offered.

Learning Outcomes: 

Students will get a deep insight into current diplomatic challenges. A former German Ambassador with posts at NATO, the OSCE, Brussels will explain the way politics actually work, why and where compromises were needed and how national interests have tob e brought in line with international political demands. Students should get a better understanding of political processes and at the same time will be asked to put themselves in the shoes of political decision-makers.


Seminar attendance as well as participation in the debates is expected. Oral papers will be presented. The final seminar with the title „Geopolitical Detective Story“ will comprise power-point presentations of groups of student on their expectations of selected country developments. In other words: we will jointly try to find out where the power goes in the next 25 years.



  1.  Two open letters to the US President – 2009 and 2017

A group of former Heads of Government, Parliamentarians and Intellectuals from Eastern and Central Europe write to the US President because they fear the „reset button“-policy

which Barack Obama had announced was dangerous for their countries.

Shortly before the new US President Donald Trump was inaugurated again a group of eminent politicians, among them  the former presidents of Romania, Estonia and Latvia, the outgoing President of Bulgaria as well as several former Minister Presidents and Foreign Ministers wrote a letter to Trump to warn him against Putin’s policies.

Analysis and comparisons.


  1. The Charta of Helsinki 1975 and the OSCE today. Political possibilities of an organisation which looks after security and cooperation in Europe. What is left of the famous „OSCE process“? Does the OSCE have a future? We study the results oft he last Foreign Minister’s Council in December 2016 in Hamburg.

Students will have the opportunity to travel to the OSCE’s Headquarters in Vienna to attend a Council meeting (one-day excursion) and discuss with OSCE-Ambassadors.


  1. Is NATO „obsolete“? (quote of Donald Trump). We look at NATO‘s current  strategy and the communiqué of the last summit in Warsaw and try to assess the status of Transatlantic Relations today.


  1. The NATO-Russia Founding Act (1997), the NATO-Russia Council and developments between NATO and Russia since


  1. The G 20 summit in Hamburg in July 2017 – we try to prepare the agenda and look at the problems of Global Governance, from „G Zero“ to „ G 193“.


  1. „Responsibility to protect“, a humanitarian UN concept of International Law, a case study


  1. The European Global Strategy, including the Defence Strategies, NATO strategies, the US Defence Strategy, the Russian and Chinese Military Doctrines,  comparisons.


  1. International fight against the effects of climate change, climate change as a security risk, including  the Paper on „Climate Change and International Security“ by the High Representative of the European Commission


  1. Public Diplomacy 2017 –case studies and new developments


  1. Cultural Diplomacy, case studies


  1. Geopolitical Detective Story: The world in 2040


This seminar will try to find out about the world order in 2040. It combines practical diplomatic tools with political challenges diplomacy is confronted with today. At the end oft he seminar students are asked to find patterns to forecast the world as it might look like in 2040. The power point presentations, together with papers or presentations during the course, will define the exam results.