“New Diplomacy” with Dr. Ehud Eiran by Jessica Swerdlow, M.A. Student in the Diplomacy Program**
My name is Jessica Swerdlow. I made Aliyah from the United States four years ago, after I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida. I decided to enroll in the University of Haifa’s Diplomacy Studies MA program in order to broaden my horizons and to explore International Relations from a global perspective. I chose to come to the University of Haifa because of the program’s interdisciplinary approach to international relations and its incorporation of different conceptions of diplomacy, as well as the practical applications of theoretical aspects discussed in class.
Dr. Ehud Eiran’s course about the “New Diplomacy” is a prime example of the unique approach that drew me to the program. In this course, we examine the evolution of diplomacy and the ways that it has changed, especially since the end of the First World War and, more recently, as a result of globalization and new modes of communication. I find it incredibly interesting to look at the field of diplomacy as a dynamic and changing concept. However, the most important component of the course is the method of teaching, and Dr. Eiran’s encouragement of open discussion and class participation adds significantly to the success of the course. The diverse class includes students from Israel, the United States, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and Mexico, among others. This allows for exposure to a wide variety of perspectives and incorporation of varied personal experiences that can shed light on the real-world expressions of the changes we discuss in class.
The other aspect I find beneficial is the encouragement of debate. In addition to discussions of the ways in which diplomacy has changed over the years, we also discuss whether these changes are good or bad for the profession. These are valid questions that diplomatic practitioners will need to contend with throughout their careers. For students who are seeking to work in the field, these questions are especially pertinent and cannot be ignored. This demonstrates the combination of theory and practice that made the program appealing to me. Overall, I feel that the course has enriched my understanding of diplomacy in general and has increased my awareness of the major changes in diplomacy during the last century that will continue to affect international relations long into the future.
**Adapted from the Diplomacy Studies Student Newsletter