Studying the Past and Present: International Relations Graduate Students Learn Diplomatic Strategies
August 25, 2022
Webster Vienna's graduate program in International Relations gives students the opportunity to take a deep dive into the processes and effectiveness of various diplomatic strategies. Today's strategies are influenced by history, so it takes a multifaceted approach to understand motivations around the globe.
Associate professor and head of the International Relations department Franco Algieri, Ph.D., explained how transformative this program is for students.
Defining Effectiveness in Dynamic Situations
Certain criteria can help International Relations students determine the effectiveness of certain diplomatic strategies.
“If we are looking at the goals that were set and the aims that the individuals were pursuing, we can see if they have been achieved, not been achieved or partly achieved," Algieri said. “You can develop certain criteria sets. Also, to quantify, you can look at different case studies where you compare similar cases and different diplomatic strategies."
Defining the effectiveness of various diplomatic strategies is not easy due to the multilateral context of each one.
“The first and foremost point of a scholarly approach is determining if you have the material to assess it and how you can assess it,” said Algieri.
Students who meet all requirements will graduate from Webster Vienna with an Austrian and an American degree, opening career opportunities in the U.S., Europe and around the globe.
Analyzing Primary and Secondary Sources During International Relations Courses
“In International Relations, we try to get closer to reality and reduce complexity,” Algieri said. “By using many different sources and techniques, from primary and secondary sources, to interviews, accessing people involved with the negotiation processes, looking at declassified material, you can come closer to an assessment of what the diplomatic strategy actually is.”
Students taking International Relations courses for their master's program are able to demonstrate strong research skills incorporating knowledge the most current scholarly research in several fields, including U.S. foreign policy, European integration, Asia-Pacific studies, energy security, international law and more.
“We expose students to all of these sources," Algieri said. "Our students learn how to use secondary sources with classical literature that is available. We also expose them to the primary sources, which can be from archival work, to data that is available, to the evaluation of speeches, really to see how we can assess something and understand and explain International Relations."
Applying Conclusions to Today’s World
Students will be able to apply their studies to current events.
“The logical, theoretical, rigorous education that provides you with the skills needed to analyze situations is one thing,” Algieri said. “The other thing is we always try to take … real-time events and give the students examples where they have an idea of what is going on with not only past events but current events.
"We also expose them to practitioners and diplomats,” he said. “This is our big asset that we have in Vienna because it is the city of diplomacy here in Europe. We have numerous international organizations, NGOs and diplomatic representation here."
Career-minded students can look forward to several on- and off-campus networking events throughout the academic year, as well as individual career support from our Career Services Office.
“Be it in the form of guest lectures, workshops, diplomats teaching here as adjunct professors, or offering students traineeships at international organizations, there are … different ways we offer this world of diplomacy with the advantage of Vienna having these assets around us,” said Algieri. "In these ways, students are not only preparing for successful academic studies, but also for a successful future doing what they are passionate about."