Effective Diplomacy in a Rapidly Changing World of Instant Communication and Asymmetric threats led by Peter Westmacott


Students will have the opportunity to hear the personal views of one of the most experienced and respected diplomats of his generation on what it takes to become and succeed as a Foreign Service officer and Ambassador.  The study groups will draw on Sir Peter's experience of working in the UK's Foreign Office, starting his overseas career with 4 years in Iran, and subsequently serving twice in each of France, Turkey and the United States. He also has first-hand experience of working in the European Commission and spending 3 years as a member of the Royal Household.


1 • Techniques of Modern Diplomacy.  February 16

Why choose such a career?  What’s it take?  How do the US and UK differ? Skillsets. Building relationships. Living the role. Knowing your subject. Making a difference.  Understanding and respect. Conducting negotiations, selling the deal and implementing the outcome.

2 • Leadership.   February 23

Values. Getting the best out of people. Providing honest and regular feedback. Mentoring.  Communicating difficult messages. Maintaining morale and motivation in the public service. Breaking down barriers. Ending turf wars. How to ensure you draw on the best available talent, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socio-economic background.

3 • The future of the transatlantic relationship,   March 8

The present state of relations – economic, political, defense, intelligence, foreign policy.   How useful is NATO and how well do allies work together?   Are interests as aligned today as they were in the Cold War?   Perceptions of the US.  How do other countries see the UK following the 2015 general election and the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review?  Do we have the right policies and mix of military capabilities to address today's threats?

Guest speaker: Karen Donfried, President of the U.S. Marshall Fund.

4, 5 •  The Future of Europe, March 22 and 29

What are the biggest challenges facing the EU? Is there a future for the Eurozone without political union?  What guarantees can be given to those outside the currency union that their interests will be protected?  What are the implications of the current migration crisis?  Is membership still an option for candidate countries?  Prospects for the referendum on the UK's future membership of the EU and the implications of possible UK withdrawal.

Guest speaker: Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor under President G.W. Bush.

 6 • Turkey, April 4

Why Turkey matters. Impact of the civil war in Syria, the threat posed by ISIL/Da'esh and Europe’s migration crisis on Turkey’s importance to the international community. Does the West need to manage its relations with Turkey to reflect both geo-strategic realities and internal political developments?  If so, how?  Is there a solution to the Kurdish question?  Does renewed hope of a Cyprus settlement change anything?  Will Turkey one day be a member of the European Union? 

Guest speaker: Kemal Kirisci, TUSIAD Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on the U.S. and Europe's Turkey Project, Brookings Institution

7 •  Comparative Democracy,  April 12

A light-hearted look at how the political and electoral systems of the US and the UK compare. Did the War of Independence really mark escape from ‘tyranny’? What are the strengths and weaknesses today of the different systems (and their relative cost)?  Does either of us have a model that is fit to export?  Why do pollsters keep getting it wrong?  Has paid advertising had its day?

Guest speaker: David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times and Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

8     Iran, April 19

Is the nuclear agreement concluded in Vienna the best way of ensuring Iran does not develop nuclear weapons? What are the implications for the security of Israel and Iran’s Sunni Arab neighbors?  How are Iran's traditional rivals in the region going to react, and how should the US and its allies respond?  Will Iran stop seeking to destabilize the region and/or embark on a course of political and economic reform?  How important an ally is Iran in the fight against ISIL?

Guest speaker: Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State (2011-present); former Vice Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group (2009-11) and Principal, The Albright Group (2001-09); Ambassador and Counselor, U.S. Department of State (1997-2001)