21st century diplomacy: Bridging the academic–foreign policy divide

On 29-30 July, a group of academics and foreign policy professionals will gather at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park with the aim of building productive dialogue, fostering mutually beneficial networks, establishing longstanding collaborations, and—ultimately—bridging the academic–foreign policy divide.

The event, which is being organised by Dr Alasdair Pinkerton, is sponsored by a British Academy Early Career Networking Grant.


As demonstrated in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s plans for a new Diplomatic Academy, there is great potential for a lively and productive interface between foreign policy makers and academics. At present however, the impact of academics within the world of foreign policy is often curtailed by a lack of insight into the processes of policy creation, whilst the wealth of important information generated by academic experts may be inaccessible to policy makers.

This event seeks to harness the skills and experience of both academics and foreign policy makers to bridge this divide; to create new initiatives and opportunities centred upon a mutually beneficial exchange of expertise and knowledge; and to encourage scholarship that incorporates and builds on the insight of policy makers, and policy making that is better informed by relevant and accessible scholarship.

In addition to providing opportunities for sharing knowledge and expertise, the workshop includes panel sessions on ‘Demystifying the world of foreign policy’ with current and former Diplomats and FCO officials, and ‘Bridging the divide’ with representation from senior academics (including Prof Ben O’Loughlin and Prof Klaus Dodds) and international Think Tanks such as the Henry Jackson Society (Dr Drew Foxall). It will also feature a number of lectures and an opportunity for academics to formulate research projects in collaboration with senior academic and foreign policy professional mentors.

Speakers and panelists include Hugh Elliot (Director of Communications, FCO), Jon Davies (Director of the Diplomatic Academy, FCO), Richard Burge (Chief Executive, Wilton Park), Anthony Cary (former UK High Commissioner to Canada) and Sir Stephen Wall (former UK ambassador to Portugal and former UK Permanent Representative to the EU).

Updates from the event will be available on Twitter (@rhulgeopolitics) and by using the hashtag: #BAdiplomacy.




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