Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance hold End-of-Year debate

On the 23 June, students from the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance gathered for an extracurricular End-Of-Year debate.

Convened and facilitated by, Dr Tatevik Mnatsakanyan (Lecturer in Diplomacy and International Governance), the event aimed to bring Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance (IDIG) students together in a closing discussion and interaction – to share ideas, reflections and creativity on some big questions on Diplomacy. Students from master's programmes offered by the IDIG and IDIG PhD students took part in this dynamic event.

Entitled Between Peace and Diplomacy: Connecting the Dots, Seeking Transformations, the debate challenged participants to engage in a critical and creative exercise to address one overarching question: What is the relationship between diplomacy and peace; and in a final analysis, how can we rethink potentially transforming such relations?

Starting with a mini-lecture, Dr Tatevik Mnatsakanyan demonstrated how the question was relevant not only to IDIG students from the MSc Security, Peace-building and Diplomacy programme, but to all students studying diplomacy, across all IDIG master’s programmes. She presented some examples and the historical conditions of the development and coming to prominence of the age-old adage and assumption that readily links the idea of diplomacy with that of peace, promotion of peace, or with peaceful practice; offered some critiques, and then laid out a framework-provocation. The latter was asking participants to reverse the habitual way of thinking about diplomacy, and shift the focus on the age-old adage on diplomacy as “peaceful”: instead of trying to unpack what “peaceful” might mean and whether and how diplomacy achieves that, the participants were invited to scrutinise “violence”, and thereby ask the focal question: “What produces violence?”.

The debate then evolved by first interrogating what forms violence may take – from most physical and visible, to less immediately visible, often referred to as “structural violence”; to forms of knowledge that may result in both physical and structural violence. In light of such approach, then, the age-old question on diplomacy takes on a new shape: when facing the question “Is Diplomacy the realm of peace?”, students were now compelled to ask: What produces violence? And therefore, whether and in what ways diplomatic practices produce violent relations or conditions for violence; and how these can be transformed.

Students then worked in a group exercise to debate the question. The debate proved to be a lively interaction among the participants exchanging some fascinating ideas, examples, and ways of thinking.

Current IDIG PhD student, Alicja Prochniak, has shared some of her views on the challenge, along with her reflections of the event. Read these insights here.

We would like to say thank you to do Dr Tatevik Mnatsakanyan for organising this

To find out more about the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, please visit this web page.