One-Year Certificate in International Diplomacy

A Post-Graduate Professional Training Program


September 2021 — May 2022


Our One-Year Certificate in International Diplomacy is the most comprehensive, in-depth and hands-on practical professional training program in diplomatic tradecraft offered outside formal government channels. It prepares trainees for careers in diplomacy and international affairs, including work in government ministries, embassies and consulates, international organizations and global NGOs. It includes four courses during each of the two semesters.

The program is taught by career ambassadors and other professional diplomats who have served in dozens of countries over several decades. The courses create optimal conditions for highly interactive and experiential learning, where trainees participate in real-life case-studies, simulations, role-playing and other exercises derived from the instructors’ own experience. The material provides insight into policy-making and implementation, diplomatic protocol, the functions and management of embassies and consulates, diplomatic reporting and writing, negotiation and mediation, political and economic tradecraft, public diplomacy and cross-cultural communication and other skills and competencies.

All students are required to take all four courses per semester listed below. Instruction in each course is 3 hours per week. Trainees who successfully complete the program receive a Certificate of Professional Training in International Diplomacy. WIDA does not confer academic degrees.

In-Person and Online Options

Students have the option to complete the certificate program either in person in Washington, D.C., or online — or a hybrid of the two. For example, you could attend the beginning and/or the end of each semester in person and take the rest of the classes online. In-person classes will depend on COVID-19 conditions.

Fall Semester Courses

National & Global Diplomacy Systems

This course focuses on the systems that individual countries and international organizations use to conduct their diplomatic relations. It includes diplomatic history and doctrine, as well as diplomatic protocol and immunities. It emphasizes specific skills in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. It examines diplomacy’s relationships with the defense and intelligence parts of the national security toolbox. It provides case-studies of American, European, Russian and Chinese diplomatic successes and failures.

Managing a Diplomatic Mission

This course focuses on the structures and functions of embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions and zooms in on the daily lives of diplomats. It examines the role and authority of the chief of mission, the relationship between headquarters and the field, as well as relations with the host-country’s government and society. It also covers consular affairs, crisis-management abroad and ethical challenges of leadership. It provides case-studies of diplomatic service in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

Political & Economic Tradecraft

This course teaches the core skills that define a diplomat’s work of daily management of political and economic relationships with foreign countries. After examining the interagency foreign-policy process, the course focuses on the role and functions of an embassy’s political and economic sections. It further teaches the main skills of political and economic officers — from preparation before arriving at post to the tasks of a new officer to daily duties and responsibilities. Those skills include diplomatic reporting and writing, diplomatic communication, diplomatic advocacy, bilateral and multilateral negotiations. The course also covers commercial diplomacy, environmental, science and health diplomacy, and cyber diplomacy.

Public Diplomacy & Cross-Cultural Communication

This course breaks down the mission and functions of public diplomacy and teaches skills in both media relations and cultural affairs. Those include giving media interviews and participating in press conferences, crisis communication and designing strategies for social-media engagement. The course also focuses on organizing big events and VIP visits, as well as on the intricacies and impact of cross-cultural communication.

Spring Semester Courses

Diplomatic and Foreign-Affairs Writing

This is an advanced course that teaches students in great practical detail how to write both reporting and analytical diplomatic cables, as well as other forms of diplomatic communication, including diplomatic notes, aide memoires and non-papers. Students also learn how to deliver a diplomatic demarche, write memos and briefing papers, and prepare op-ed articles.

Diplomatic Negotiation and Mediation

This advanced course helps students improve their negotiating and mediating skills in a diplomatic context. It provides key concepts, strategies and tactics, as well as practical competencies, such as shaping and adjusting arguments, and verification and compliance with an agreement. It focuses on different types of negotiations, including political, trade and conflict-resolution.

Foreign-Policy Analysis and Policy-Making

This course prepares students for roles as analysts and foreign-policy advisers. It offers a broad and comprehensive view of national-security structures and mechanisms and provides the skills needed to navigate them, and to influence and guide the policy process. It includes case-studies in the fields of international security and arms control, democracy and human rights, migration and refugees, development and foreign assistance, counter-terrorism and law-enforcement.

Persuasion, Influence and Power-Projection

This advanced course begins with the principles and techniques of effective persuasion and examines how it can result in significant influence in diplomacy, statecraft and international relations. It breaks that down into influencing a single foreign representative, a group of people in a foreign country, and a group of countries in an international organization. It also focuses on the ethical challenges of exercising influence, as well as on the tools of hard and soft power and on power-projection in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.

Who Should Apply?

Professionals and recent graduates who have earned a Bachelor’s (or higher) degree are eligible to apply to the One-Year Certificate Program in International Diplomacy. Previous coursework in political science, international relations or related fields is highly desirable, but not required. Both U.S. and foreign citizens may apply. Fluency in English is required.

While this is a post-graduate program, the Academy works with select universities to identify outstanding students who will make exceptional candidates. They may compete to train at the Academy for one semester as part of their university studies (similar to spending a semester abroad). Please check with your university or contact us for details.

Application and Selection Process

You may apply either for the full two-semester program or for the Fall Semester only. However, priority will be given to candidates for both semesters. Applicants for the Spring Semester only must have completed the Fall Semester previously or served as diplomats at a mission abroad for a minimum of five years.


Application Form, CV/Résumé and Cover Letter

Please complete the application form, which requires you to upload a CV or résumé, as well as a cover letter or personal statement, explaining how the Academy will help you achieve your career goals (up to 500 words).

The application fee is $75. However, it’s waived for candidates for early admission who apply by January 31, 2021. The deadline for regular admission is March 31, 2021.

Virtual Interview

If the Selection Committee advances your application, you will be invited to a virtual interview with one or more committee members, who will make a final decision.

Tuition Fees

The fees below include the cost of tuition for all courses, as well as study materials (except for recommended books).

Tuition for both semesters: $25,000
Tuition for one semester only: $15,000

The Academy is unable to provide financial aid at this time. However, applicants are encouraged to pursue outside funding sources, such as foundations or the European Union’s Erasmus+ program.

Housing Options

Both individual and shared housing is available at the International Student House of Washington, D.C., starting at $1,343 a month. Discounted hotel accommodation is available as well. Students admitted to the program will receive up-to-date information before enrollment. Students may arrange their housing independently.

Get in touch

If you have questions about the One-Year Certificate Program, send us a message using the form below or call us on +1-202-656-9828.

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1015 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005

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