This new MA is modelled on Buckingham’s other successful London based MA programmes. Its starting point is that globalisation and other forces have made diplomacy today an immeasurably more complex activity than in the days when aristocratic gentlemen from Europe’s great powers were able to settle the great issues of the era over a glass of port. This opens up a fascinating and vast range of possible subjects for study, to which full justice can only be done in a programme of this kind that enables each student to select a topic and research it in depth over a year. Those with historical interests can focus on the ancient world, Byzantine, Chinese, Indian or Ottoman diplomacy, the Italian city states system, the refinements introduced by France, the Concert of Europe, the ‘new diplomacy’ pursued by President Woodrow Wilson or Cold War diplomacy. The impact of international organisations such as the League of Nations or the United Nations gives rise to many more topics, as do the internet, public opinion, numerous non-state actors and relatively new issues such as terrorism, the global financial crisis, regionalism, competition for resources, the rise of new, non-Western powers, “failed states”, interventionism, nuclear proliferation and climate change.
The research MA enables students to select a topic on any aspect of diplomacy (past and present) and to write a dissertation of at least 20,000 words based on extensive independent research. Each student will have a supervisor who will provide advice in identifying and defining a research topic, locating sources and developing approaches to the chosen topic. Supervisors and students meet regularly and the supervisor is the student’s primary contact for academic advice and support. The course is designed in a way that allows students to accomplish most of the work in their own time and the seminar series which accompanies the course takes place in the evenings.
An innovative feature of several of Buckingham’s London programmes is that from September 2012 to March 2013 students attend thirteen evening seminars at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, Pall Mall, commencing at 6.30 pm. The first three of these, between 17th and 19th September, will consist of instruction in research techniques, sources, and methodologies and an introduction to the range of diplomacy-related topics available to students. The remaining ten seminars will taken by leading academic authorities and practitioners. Each seminar (approximately 90 minutes) is followed by a dinner, also at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, for those who wish to attend, where there will be an opportunity to continue the seminar discussions in an informal environment.
Academic speakers at the seminars and dinners this year include Buckingham’s two Professors of Global Politics, David Armstrong and Richard Langhorne, who have both written many books and articles on diplomacy and related subjects, Abdel-ilah Bennis, former Chairman of the London Diplomatic Association and Director of Studies at Westminster University’s Diplomatic Academy and author of books in English and Arabic on diplomacy, Professor Geoffrey Berridge, Chairman of the UK Forum on Diplomatic Training and author of numerous works on diplomacy, Professor Jeremy Black, author of over 100 books on military and diplomatic history and other subjects and Professor Erik Goldstein, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, USA, author of books on diplomatic history and co-founder with Professor Armstrong of the journal Diplomacy and Statecraft.
The first year of this programme will also hear seminar/dinner talks from a particularly distinguished group of practitioners including Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former Ambassador to The Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister and Chairman of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee, Sir Brian Crowe, formerly British Ambassador to Austria, Director General for External Affairs in the Council of the European Union and Head of the Policy Planning staff in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sir Christopher Mallaby, formerly Ambassador to Germany and France and Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, Sir Richard Dearlove, Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge and former Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Bridget Kendall, MBE, Diplomatic Correspondent of the BBC, presenter of the BBC’s global ideas programme, The Forum, winner of the James Cameron Memorial Award for Journalism and Voice of the Listener and Viewer Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.