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Washington Public Diplomacy Program


SPRING 2021: Monday, February 8 - Thursday, May 13

Dramatic changes in public communication have occurred in the past decade. Ever more dense information floods our awareness and narrows our understanding of the world. We are both more knowledgeable and more compartmentalized. New technologies seem to have a half-life of less than a decade. The 24/7 flow is now 60/60/24/7/365. These  changes have affected  decision making across the board.

Beyond the impact of changing communications it is important to understand globalization in all its manifestations and historic demographic changes because these have brought many more people into the public arena than ever before.  Once pre-eminent, governments must share decision making with vibrant, growing non-state actors. We are also witnessing a reaction against change around the globe, especially among the nations most in need of reform in the Middle East, Africa and South/Central Asia.

Now more than a decade after 9-11, we are still searching for a fuller understanding of the cross-pressures of globalization, the contradictions between tradition and modernity, how to cope with threats and chart a sustainable path to a more stable, prosperous and just world.

At its best, public diplomacy can help this nation and others better understand the evolving world and how to reduce conflict and maximize cooperation.  The task is manifold: to build consensus against violence and special threats such as nuclear weaponization and cyber-terrorism; to strengthen human rights, democratic governance and civil society; and to foster global understanding that leads to improved health, cleaner environment and energy, and more empathy among diverse cultures.

Participants in the Washington Public Diplomacy Program should be better able to:

  • Improve your understanding of major global communications trends and their implications for international affairs and decision-making
  • Deepen your understanding of the public dimension of world affairs.
  • Gain skills in analysis of public opinion and strategic communication.
  • Strengthen your understanding of national security/foreign policy decision making and nation-state behavior.
  • Broaden your awareness and knowledge of the evolving role and influence of non-state actors, including major NGOs in national and international affairs.

The Washington semester serves as the capstone semester of Syracuse University's dual masters program in International Relations from the Maxwell School and Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (MAIR/MSPR).  Students earn nine credits in the DC Program, enrolling in a course entitled Issues in Public Diplomacy, engaging in a three-credit internship, and completing a semester-long consultancy project involving some aspect of public diplomacy or strategic communications.

Please use the left-hand navigation menu to learn more about the courses, internships, admissions, and costs.