T05P06 - Challenges in Global Policy Making: The ‘Practice Turn’ in the New Diplomacy

Topic : Policy Formulation, Administration and Policymakers

Chair : richard higgott - richard.higgott@warwick.ac.uk

Second Chair : Caterina Carta - ccarta@vub.ac.be

General Objectives, Research Questions and Scientific Relevance

Call for papers

Session 1 The Diplomatic Practice Turn 1

Friday, June 30th 08:15 to 10:15 (Li Ka Shing LKS 1 - 2)


Culture and Science Diplomacy in the 21st Century. Can we Talk off a Practice Turn

richard higgott - richard.higgott@warwick.ac.uk - University of Warwick and Institute of European Studies and Vesalius College, Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Belgium

Luk van Langenhove - luk.Van.Langenhove@Vub.Be - Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Belgium

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The paper will identify the growing academic interest in taking ‘practice’ as an increasingly privileged unit of analysis in the study of international relations and especially diplomacy—in contrast to the traditional privileging of actors, agents and structures.  We argue that SCD should be regarded as praxis in international relations and the ‘practice turn’ become an increasingly theoretical set of lens through which to analyse science and cultural diplomacy.  This will allow us to look at SCD from a different theoretical perspective than has traditionally been the case in IR scholarship.  It is also a perspective that offers a stronger methodological context for the analysis of SCD.  This in turn can provide a framework for more precise comparative study of specific initiatives in cultural and science diplomacy and the development of SCD as an increasingly salient foreign policy instrument.  

The Emergence of Hybrid Diplomacy

Jean-Christophe Bas - jchbas@gmail.com - The Global Compass - France

This paper will be based on twenty five years experience and observation by the author who served as senior staff successively with The Aspen Institute, The World Bank, the United Nations and the Council of Europe. 

It will present emerging trends and paradigm shifts in the new practice of diplomacy ; how national and international non State actors are increasingly taking part in international agenda setting and decision making ; the role of "voluntary contributions " and trust funds in spreading countries's cultural influence in  intergovernmental Organizations and on the global scene; why countries and regional entities are making huge effort to develop cultural influence through "young leaders programs"; the business of expanding universities and business schools abroad as a tool for cultural diplomacy; how Ministries of Foreign affairs in emerging countries are developing cultural diplomacy plan and staff in charge; the increasing role of religion in cultural diplomacy ...

The paper will zoom particularly on the interaction / dynamics / synergy / competition among Governments , Inter Governmental Organizations, and non State actors ( private sector ; think tanks and Universities ; religious groups...) in the post Huntington debate on the Clash of Civilizations ; their huge mobilization  in order to promote their own views and cultural perspective. 

It will present concrete initiatives and exemples that illustrate the emergence of a new form of multi stakeholders diplomacy, or hybrid diplomacy; its impact, its success and its limits; its consequences. In this very complex environment , the paper will address the issue of the need for greater transparency and accountability. 

Based on the lessons learned and the growing phenomenon of hybrid diplomacy , the paper will present a new scheme for public and cultural diplomacy, the Global Connecters Peace Initiative, a blueprint engaging major organisations and business sectors connecting millions or billions of people ( Sports ; Music ; Arts ; Tourism; Entertainment ; Telecoms; Social Media...) to mitigate tensions among cultures and to promote diversity.   




Advance Diaspora Diplomacy in a Networked World

Diane Stone - diane.stone@canberra.edu.au - University of Canberra; University of Warwick - Australia

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Elena Douglas and Diane Stone


The role of diaspora networks in international affairs and in economic development is now well established. What is new is the increasing proliferation of national strategies to harness them actively for public and economic diplomacy.  This paper addresses the rise of Australia’s only formal, global diaspora network: Advance – Australia’s Global community which has acted self-consciously to become an instrument of public diplomacy. Emerging from a small base in New York, Advance sought to ‘open doors’ for Australians in the world’s biggest market. Cultivating a strong membership base of professionals and well connected individuals, Advance developed its public diplomacy potential by building partnerships with state governments, Australian universities and some federal government agencies. As an elite organisation of high profile Australians overseas in science, the arts, commerce and public administration, Advance has become a global organisation communicating with both Australian national audiences and foreign constituencies to develop network centrality in specific industries and professional communities. We consider Advance’s interactions with the diaspora via the analytic lens of networks.  First, Advance’s success was to build affinity beyond nationality; that is, economic and professional networks that transcended and became more substantive than a common national denominator. Second, Advance was built on the premise of a networked global economy. Network centrality and the ability to leverage relationships across global value chains is a source of economic power.


While this organization does not present itself acting in a diplomatic role, nevertheless, as it has developed into high profile association for the Australian diaspora it has come to perform a number of public diplomacy roles in the areas of science, innovation, business relations and culture. The organization also receives federal government funding and other kinds of official patronage allowing Advance to become a non-state ambassador for Australia.  However, there are challenges in this relationship: an ‘arms length’ relationship and autonomy defines Advance’s relationship with both federal and state governments. Nevertheless, the ‘soft power’ aspirations of both state and federal governments indirectly enroll Advance in foreign policy and other governmental pursuits.    The institutional evolution of Advance reveals lessons for ‘new’ diplomacy via networks.




Public Dimension of Diplomacy: A Response to the Dilemma of the Paradox of the Cultural and Science Diplomacy

Sadoddin Sohrab - ssadoddin1362@ut.ac.ir - University of Tehran - Iran, Islamic Republic of

The emergence of evolution in a context where diplomacy plays the role, has encountered the traditional interpretation of diplomacy with both theoretical and functioned challenges. In such a context, the clarification of the boundary between diplomacy and non-diplomacy as well as diplomat and non-diplomat is an intricate and certainly essential task. With this token, the present article via assuming these two features, that is to say, “the effectiveness” and “pursuing public interests” as the criteria of the evaluation of being diplomatic of an action explains that what is considered as a significant fact is the corresponding of the action taken with these criteria. In this case, the sphere of the action nor the actor itself is regarded as an important fact. Therefore, it should be distinguished between “public diplomacy” as a state- centered action which is at the service of national interests and “the public dimension of diplomacy” as a social action which is at the service of public interests. Such distinction is a suitable response to the dilemma of the paradox between the extrovert essence of science and the introvert one of the culture in cultural and science diplomacy. Based on this foundation and by taking cultural and science diplomacy as a sub-category of public dimension of diplomacy into account, the main argument of this article is that despite the different essence of the science and culture, the combination of these two in order to form a global interaction to pursue public interests can be regarded as a diplomatic act.

Key Words: Effectiveness, Pursuing Public Interests, Public Diplomacy, Public Aspect of Diplomacy, Cultural and Science Diplomacy.

Session 2

Friday, June 30th 10:30 to 12:30 (Li Ka Shing LKS 1 - 2)


Linking Culture, Security and Diplomacy in the EU: A Bridge or a Bridge Too far?

richard higgott - richard.higgott@warwick.ac.uk - University of Warwick and Institute of European Studies and Vesalius College, Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Belgium

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The European Union has been making a great place on the importance of cultural diplomacy in recent years.  Implicit in the strategy is that it is a vehicle for combatting aggression and enhancing security.  This can be seen in to resent reports by the High Representative Federica Mogherini (i) a new vision for EU Global Strategy (ii) a Communique of the role and importance of international cultural relations.  This paper examines this strategy that has evolved in recent years.  The analysis in the paper suggests that in the current global context it utility is limited.  It makes this argument for two reasons.  The first set of reasons are exogenous to the European Union and pertain the the deteriorating nature of a liberal cooperative order in the face of populist challenges from both the left and the right.  The second set of arguments are endogenous to the European Union and are driven by the essentially existential crisis facing both the theory and practice of the EU at this point in time 


The European Union as an Actor in Global Education Diplomacy

Silviu Piros - silviu.piros@vub.be - Institute for European Studies - Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Belgium

Joachim Koops - jkoops@vub.ac.be - Vesalius College Brussels & Institute for European Studies - Belgium

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This paper seeks to offer a better understanding of the role and relevance of the European Union’s (EU) external initiatives in the field of higher education as instruments of educational diplomacy and foreign policy writ large. It will do so by analysing relevant policy outcomes, by developing a clear definition of the concept of ‘the EU as an actor in Global Education Diplomacy’ and by testing its effects in the fields of “higher education institutional and capacity building”. The paper will offer a contribution to the ongoing debates on ‘EU actorness’ and a novel approach to the EU’s impact in the fields of education diplomacy.



The soft power of an actor is shaped by the combination of public, cultural, scientific and education diplomacies it promotes abroad. At the intersection of cultural diplomacy, innovation and science diplomacy, education diplomacy can be used as a foreign policy tool by successfully exporting norms and values through initiatives like grants, student mobility, staff exchanges, or institutional and capacity building. This paper will explore the European Union’s approach to promoting its interests and values through the tool of education diplomacy. It will assess core initiatives and programmes in the context of the scholarly debate on “EU Actorness” and will contribute to a better understanding of the role of EU Education Diplomacy within the wider field of Cultural, Scientific and Innovation Diplomacy.


Historically, Europe has benefited from a long and prestigious tradition of excellence in education and scientific research. Intra-EU cooperation and mobility has been gradually developed through the Bologna Process and the creation of the ECTS system and the European Higher Education Area, and programmes such as Erasmus, Tempus, Erasmus Mundus, Marie Curie or Jean Monnet. Initially employed for domestic target groups, these programmes were progressively exported to other parts of the world. Since 1998, European Union Centres have been established at higher education institutions across the globe: 37 such centres now exist in universities in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and Russia. Their mission is to promote a greater understanding of the EU through curricular activities, research programmes and outreach. Yet, so far there is still a lack of systematic research on assessing the impact of the EU’s initiatives in this field, viewed within the wider context of the EU as an international actor. This paper seeks to fill this gap.



The paper will be structured into two major parts: the first one will focus on conceptualizing the EU as an actor in global education policy and will contextualize this concept in the wider debates on EU Actorness and EU Approaches to Cultural, Scientific and Innovation Diplomacy. The second part will explore and apply this concept to a variety of case studies.

Our research approach will be guided by qualitative methods, including semi-structured interviews with both policy-makers in Brussels and recipients of EU education policies outside the EU.


Emerging Practices of Diplomacy for Science in Europe: Tensions and Potentials?

Nicolas Rüffin - Nicolas.rueffin@wzb.eu - WZB Berlin Social Science Center - Germany

Ulrich Schreiterer - uli.schreiterer@wzb.eu - WZB Berlin Social Science Center - Germany

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We are witnessing a stellar rise of Science Diplomacy (SD) as a branch of foreign policy. Science and Technology gain an ever increasing importance in IR and public policies. They are to play an important role to address global challenges, to enhance economic growth and development, and to secure prosperity. Thus the workings of Diplomacy for Science (D4S) should be a well-deserving topic of scientific inquiry. As part of a general trend towards a diversification of diplomatic activities, the field integrates a large variety of diverging interests, goals and practical approaches that governmental as well as non-governmental organizations are engaged in. Their activities constitute a new emerging field of hybrid public policy. And yet, there are but very few sound empirical studies on the structure of the field and on how D4S impacts, and fits into, international public policy. Our paper is meant to alleviate that lack of research by investigating the current status of D4S in Europe. In particular, we want to look into the role of the EU in relation to its member states.

Like in all new fields, uncertainty of roles, rules, and relationships pervades D4S as well. So far, no actors or agencies can be considered dominant players in it.  Power relations are not yet firmly established, policy scripts still in the making, modes and patterns of interaction tried out on the ground. Role and features of D4S in the international setting and foreign policy remain accidental and subject to negotiations. While countries commanding strong research and technology capacities like the U.S. may be preferred partners for interaction and strong players, others leverage unique features like geographical properties, specific research skills and technological competencies. To become an active player in D4S the EU needs to find a distinctive role.

Any inquiry into the dynamics of that field needs be guided by a theoretical framework to integrate, and interpret, empirical findings. Borrowing from Bourdieu, we focus on power games between different institutions and actors. Practice theory allows for studying development on different levels and replaces the familiar concept of distinct layers undergirding multi-level governance approaches by that of fields in which nation states and many other protagonists interact. It also allows for combining various methods of data handling within a single framework.

Our analysis draws on interviews with policy makers, members of research organizations and ministries, and science diplomats from three member states of the EU (FR, UK, DE) but also on academic literature, official documents like policy papers, reports and speeches. In a similar vein, we gathered information and views for the US and for the European Commission. This allows us a) to track the origins and features of SD in foreign and public policy, b) to assess the stage of the art in different arenas, and c) to identify practices of power formation and preservation. Finally, we address the question how future developments in the field could affect D4S-activities of the EU and its member states respectively.


The practice of Science and Cultural Diplomacy studied from the Positioning Theory angle

Luk van Langenhove - luk.Van.Langenhove@Vub.Be - Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Belgium

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This paper introduces the use of Positioning Theory (PT) as an analytical framework for the empirical study Science and Cultural Diplomacy (SCD).


The paper starts with a discussion of the polysemous nature of the concepts of SCD. It will be argued that SCD is both a practice and a label given to certain public policies.


Next, Positoning Theory will be presented. Within psychology, positioning theory emerged as a modification of role theory. The difference between roles and positions lies along a spectrum of flexibility: roles are fixed while positions are fluid, overlapping and ephemeral. The core of PT is the mutually determining relations between positions, speech acts and storylines. Positioning theory has been widely used in a variety of disciplines within the social sciences and humanities, including the study of public relations. It will be argued that PT also offers an interesting perspective to the study of SCD because it allows to distinguish between the study of what counts as SCD practices and how states and public policy actors use the rhetoric of SCD in the pursuit of their self-interests.

Finally, the PT framework will be used to look at some recent examples of SCD. Attention will go to how positions in SCD are determined, how they are enacted and how they are supported through storylines. The main upshot will be the claim that a lot of SCD is related to storylines of state interest and even to public relation activities of states. there is however a new storyline developing, that of SCD related to global policy making.


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