The Rethinking Diplomacy Program (RDP) at Duke University focuses on research that brings together diplomats, policy practitioners, faculty, and leading experts in various different disciplines for academic collaboration, policy recommendations, and scholarship. The Program aims to provide a forum for redefining the roles of diplomacy in an increasingly globalized and interdependent world, which is characterized by the rise of new international actors, the emergence of contentious political debates within democratic countries, and the relative rise of authoritarian states. It also seeks to identify the skills that would enable diplomats, negotiators, and representatives of public and private institutions to address problems with shrewdness, cultural competence and sectoral expertise.
One of the principal objectives of the Program is to highlight the importance of the combination of soft skills (e.g. communication, leadership, ability to negotiate) and expertise in public health, demography, environment, energy, trade, finance, IT, cybersecurity and other areas in which Duke University features strong academic programs. The focus of RDP is both academic and practical. The Program provides a forum where students, faculty, non-government practitioners, technical specialists, and diplomats work together to understand the emerging global challenges, especially non-traditional challenges, combining academic rigor with a lively sense of the practical constraints in the real world. Meanwhile, RDP aims to generate policy studies and recommendations relevant to policy makers. Through the exchange of ideas, technical expertise, knowledge of world regions, and interaction with practitioners, the Program prepares Duke students and fellows with skills that would enable them to succeed in pursuit of their academic goals and beyond.
At the Duke Center for International and Global Studies, three other programs complement the Rethinking Diplomacy Program: 1) The Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Jr. Lecture on International Studies; 2) The Diplomats in Residence Program (DIR); and 3) The Challenges of Global Governance Series.
The Rethinking Diplomacy Program is supported by a grant from the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund.
Duke Libraries have designed a new library guide for the Rethinking Diplomacy Program: https://guides.library.duke.edu/rubenstein_diplomacy.
The inaugural event took place on Jan 22 when Ambassador W. Robert Pearson shared his insights on "What Diplomacy Can Do For You" . The story is featured in Duke Today.