Education Diplomacy Center
|Education Diplomacy Center|
|Call for Papers|
|Core Skills of Education Diplomacy|
ACEI is leading an effort to shape the
emerging concept of education diplomacy.
A collaborative team is forming soon to help us promote the concept.
On these pages, you will find some resources related to the concept.
Please check back for further updates as we move ahead.
Institute for Global Education Diplomacy
As a key initiative in the education diplomacy program, ACEI offers the Institute for Global Education Diplomacy. The most recent Institute was held 17-20 April 2013, in Washington, D.C. Read more about that event here.
What Is Education Diplomacy?
In its most basic form, Education Diplomacy is the cross-disciplinary, transnational sharing of theories, ideas, and concepts that advance education. This type of sharing has existed for many years and includes international comparative discussions about the purpose and practice of education. People have always been curious about the ways that societies acquire and use knowledge, the way that knowledge is translated into skills, the way that knowledge sustains and transforms societies, and the ways that children learn and are taught. Throughout history, there have been examples of teachers, anthropologists, sociologists, and others with an intense interest in human development traveling great distances to better understand how learning, education, and the cultural tutelage of the young occurs within the context of communities and nations. These international relations of early "explorers" often focused on the exchange of information about the merits of certain philosophies and practices related to formal and informal methods of education. In this way, these early travelers could be considered the first education diplomats.
Types of Diplomacy
Most often, the term "diplomacy" is used to describe the interactions of state officials as they employ a specific set of skills and knowledge in order to influence foreign policy. This is known as "hard diplomacy," as this type of diplomacy is conducted formally to achieve established goals that improve international relations. However, the heart of diplomacy is simply the ability to engage in interactions using skill, tact, and sensitivity. The application of diplomatic skills in this more informal way is known as "soft diplomacy." Both hard and soft diplomacy use a style of interaction that promotes trust and respect and builds mutual understanding between parties without arousing feelings of anger or suspicion.
Today, diplomacy is exercised in various arenas, including public diplomacy, citizen diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, health diplomacy, and even science diplomacy. Each approach uses the skills of diplomatic communication and interaction in order to positively influence a specific concept or sector.
Definitions of Education Diplomacy
There is no formal understanding associated with "education diplomacy" and, therefore, there is no one definition of the concept. In fact, the term is just beginning to be used for the purpose of describing varying ways to shape policies and systems that impact education. In the past, the term educational diplomacy has sometimes been used within the context of international student exchange programs, which expanded students' educational experience and immersed them in other cultures. Today, interactions with broader-scale implications occurring at the international level may be called education diplomacy but might actually be better termed global education diplomacy.
As is the case with diplomacy itself, Education Diplomacy may be practiced using either hard or soft forms and can include a range of actors, from state officials to civil society representatives to teachers. All forms of education diplomacy can be exercised on the macro (international) or micro (local) level. Education diplomats, therefore, can be found advocating for education funding, policies, or innovative approaches to education; supporting the inclusion of education within international treaties; or using skills of persuasion to encourage local authorities to improve access to and the quality of education.
Education Diplomacy Today
Finding solutions to complex societal problems within the context of new global realities requires a different set of skills than those traditionally applied by career diplomats or professional consultants. The distinguishing competencies of education diplomacy, as practiced by education diplomats, consist of the quality and level of technical expertise and understanding of education policy and human rights, and, when practiced on the international level, the ability to build relationships and further education agendas within the global education arena. The importance of education as a bridge for promoting peace, global security, and sustainable solutions to complex human problems is a core concept of education diplomacy.
There are three reasons why education diplomacy should take its rightful place among other diplomacy movements. First, even though education was included in international treaties developed in the mid 20th century, education is now more fully recognized as an essential human right. Therefore, the need to ensure that all people have access to an equitable, quality education is more urgent and requires the skillful delivery of advocacy and knowledge that encourages nations to embrace education and nurture appropriate education practices. Second, the development of free-standing international education movements, such as Education for All, offers new foundations for promoting the importance of education to individuals and to society at large and encourages civil society engagement. Third, education has become widely recognized as a vital ingredient in shaping the trajectory of nations and determining political and socio-economic outcomes. There is much greater appreciation today of the role that education plays in the development of societies, and the participation of societies in efforts to create healthy, productive environments for their citizens and, ultimately, their ability to sustain themselves over time.
Education Diplomacy as a new tool for advancing education may take time to define and shape. However, there is no doubt that applying the skills of diplomacy toward improving education practice, policies, and opportunity will have a positive impact on ensuring that education remains a priority in the overall well-being and development of nations. In the end, all education diplomats have the same goal—to positively enhance and shape education for all people that aligns with their culture and meets the needs of individuals and the society at large.
The world is becoming increasingly globalized and interdependent. Education offers us a platform for ensuring that the next generation is well-versed in topics critical to the human future, such as sustainable development, peace, and human rights. Diplomacy movements offer an effective way to share information and communicate ideas sensitively and appropriately across various cultures and nations. In such a rapidly changing globalized world, the future of humanity itself could be at risk if we do not engage intentionally in efforts that promote sensitive communication and collaboration. Both education and diplomacy are needed in order to achieve a more stable world that offers opportunities for the healthy development of individuals and societies at large. Bringing education and diplomacy together to recognize the new concept of education diplomacy offers a dynamic and powerful tool for positively shaping our world.