ASTK12329U SUMMER: Crisis Diplomacy

Volume 2014/2015

Master level: 7.5 ECTS 
Bachelor level: 10 ECTS 


A tsunami in the Indian Ocean, an earthquake on Haiti, a kidnapping in Colombia, a pirate attack outside African Horn, a financial crisis in Europe, an armed conflict in Ukraine and a violent attack by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

In all these cases, and in many more, diplomats are involved in a variety of ways. Diplomatic crisis management, or crisis diplomacy, concerns sense-making (what is the crisis all about?), decision-making (making critical choices on the basis of a minimal level of information), meaning making (explaining the crisis to all relevant stakeholders), and learning (preparing for new crises).

Sometimes crisis diplomacy takes place in a vacuum. There may not be partners with which to coordinate or counterparts with which to negotiate. Sometimes crisis diplomacy involves cooperation with private partners, such as business organizations, and civil society groups. In yet other cases, crisis diplomacy unfolds in highly institutionalized settings, such as NATO, UN and the European Union.

In this summer school we are interested in studying:

  1. Whether crisis diplomacy has become the norm rather than the exception in international relations

  2. The different kinds of theoretical tools that can be applied to study diplomatic crisis management

  3. A number of cases in which crisis diplomacy has been applied in all kinds of different settings

The summer course is organized by the Department of Political Science in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Teaching during the first week (18.-21. August 2015) takes place in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whereas individual supervision on the written assignment takes place at the Department of Political Science during the second week (24.-28. August 2015).

The lecturers are academics from Denmark and abroad as well as practitioners from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Lectures during the first week will take place from 09.00-18.00 all four days.

The summer course is in English with both bachelor and master-level students as its target group.

The maximum number of students that can be admitted is 60. Once admitted, participation is compulsory.


3. Motivation and program

After the end of the Cold War, Ministries of Foreign Affairs around the globe started to rethink their role in international affairs. It was generally proclaimed that we had finally reached “The end of history”, meaning that the competition between major ideologies had ended. “Security” as a goal of foreign policies could no longer take the position as being the primary objective of all diplomatic behavior. Time had apparently come to turn the hierarchy of foreign policy objectives up-side down. Soft-power became the rule of the game and the classical Ministry of Foreign Affairs was downgraded from being a ministry in its own league to becoming just another average institution in public administration.

However, as it turned out, the end of the cold war was not the end of history, and the beginning of “the long peace”. Rather, it was the beginning of a period in which perceived risk, insecurity, uncertainty and vulnerability rose to unprecedented levels. The end of the cold war to a large extent removed the fear for atomic apocalypse, but it also opened another arena for all sorts of complex problems that called for action – international crime, cyber-warfare, climate change, new forms of terrorism, financial upheaval, pandemics, migration, environmental degradation etc.. There have always been threats around – technological failure, fires, floods, riots etc. - but during the cold war, these threats were overshadowed by the fear for nuclear war. After the cold war, this shadow had disappeared, highlighting that the sources of human beings’ vulnerable are many. In addition, the development of new technologies and globalization also spurred increased levels of interconnectedness across the world making all of us more vulnerable to world affairs.

One could argue that we live in a risk-society in which prevention from crises is nearly impossible. This leaves us with the idea that crisis-management – the set of activities aimed at minimizing the impact of crises – is more important than ever. We cannot avoid crises, but when they are here, we have to invent ways in which we can live with them.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs comes in as a crucial actor in a country’s attempt to prosper and develop in a world where crises have become routine business. In this summer school the overall objectives are

  1. To conceptually and theoretically come to a better understanding of what crisis-diplomacy is, and why, and how, and with which effects it has come to play a central role in diplomatic practice
  2. To empirically investigate how crisis diplomacy works in practice in a Danish context and well as on the ground in various locations of the world.
  3. To critically evaluate perceived risk and the role played by crisis diplomacy in meeting the general demand for security, predictability and order.
  4. To draw lessons from private sector crisis-management and discuss their applicability in foreign affairs.

With a view to realizing these objectives, the summer school is thematically dived into six sections:


  1. Overview of the Danish foreign service, its organization and practice

  2. Crisis management theory

  3. Crisis psychology

  4. Private actors in crisis diplomacy: NGOs, business and media

  5. Crisis-diplomacy through cooperation

  6. Crisis diplomacy in practice: war, natural and humanitarian disasters, international crime, and clashes of cultures.


A guiding pedagogical principle is to combine the research-based teaching of scholars from various faculties with the practical insights from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

With these themes and pedagogical considerations in mind, the preliminary program for the first week takes the following form:


Preliminary program 09.00-18.00, week 34, location: Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Introduction to Crisis diplomacy (Martin Marcussen, University of Copenhagen)


The Foreign Service and Consular Affairs

(Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Diplomacy and humanitarian Disasters



Diplomacy and international crime/kidnapping



Crisis Management, theory overview

(Magnus Ekengren, Försvarshögskolan, Stockholm)

NGO’s and Crises

(Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen, Chef for Nødhjælp og Sikkerhed, Dansk Flygtningehjælp)

Diplomacy and war: from the Arab Spring to the present day


Diplomacy during and after the Cartoon Crisis


Lunch, walk-and-talk

Lunch, walk-and-talk

Lunch, walk-and-talk

Lunch, walk-and-talk

Crisis Psychology

(Anders Korsgaard Christensen, chefpsykolog, Rigshospitalets enhed for krisepsykologi)

Business, Risk Assessment and Crises

(Associate professor, Karen Lund Petersen, University of Copenhagen)

Crisis diplomacy and international cooperation: the Ukraine case (MFA)

Student presentations

Crisis Management at national and European level, an applied model

(Magnus Ekengren, Försvarshögskolan, Stockholm)

The Media and Crises

(Mark Ørsten, professor University of Roskilde)


Student presentations

Wrap-up, conclusions, exam etc.

(Martin Marcussen, University of Copenhagen)



During week 35, individual and group supervision will be offered as a preparation of the final exam paper (location: Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5). Further details will follow on the course web-site on Absalon.

The summer course will be executed in English and international students as well as students from other Danish universities can be enrolled. There is, in principle, a flexible upper-limit as regards the number of students that actively follow the summer course. A max of 60 persons would be ideal, though.

As regards the level of the students attending the course, preference is given to bachelor and master students. However, PhD-students with a specific interest in crisis-management, small-state diplomacy, international cooperation, foreign policy analysis and administrative reform can also attend.


5. Relevance of course

This summer course is particularly relevant for students who aim to acquire a profound understanding of new tendencies in modern diplomacy. Such an understanding is a good starting point for students who aspire to work professionally in private or public organizations with strong international links.

The course helps the student to better understand how the national foreign service is structured and how it deals with a long series of challenges in cooperation with national as well as international actors. It sheds light on the conditions for modern diplomacy and how small-state diplomats work in a complex, internationalized and politicized context characterized by institutional stability as well as abrupt changes.

6. Competency description

It is assumed that all students are heavily interested in diplomacy and international relations.

This is a very intensive and demanding course that requires considerable preparation. During the course, there will be no time for reading the course material as a result of which everything should be read in advance (All readings, except from two basic books, can be downloaded from the restricted-access course web-site). In addition, during the course all students will be expected to contribute actively in class discussions as well as in teams presenting case studies and key texts from the reading lists. More concrete instructions will be sent to all students that sign up for the course.

Since the lectures are partly given by university researchers and partly by professional diplomats, the students should be willing to and prepared for engaging in constructive dialogue with practitioners.


Learning Outcome


The summer course enables the student to


  • Describe the organization, functioning and objectives of crisis diplomacy
  • Present the most central theoretical approaches to analyzing the back-ground for, the content of, and effects of crisis diplomacy
  • Apply the theories on concrete case-studies and identify the factors that explain different practices and effects in crisis diplomacy
  • Evaluate the challenges and potentials in crisis diplomacy

According to study regulations, this is a so-called 7.5 ECTS/10 ECTS course and the compulsory background literature amounts to 900-1.200 pages.


8.1. On the transformation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomacy

Hocking, Brian (2002), ”Introduction: Gatekeepers and Boundary-Spanners – Thinking about Foreign Ministries in the European Union”, in Brian Hocking et al., eds. Foreign Ministries in the European Union. Integrating Diplomats, London: PalgraveMacmillan, pp. 1-17 (16 sider)

Hocking, Brian, Jan Melissen, Shaun Riordan and Paul Sharp (2012), ”Futures for Diplomacy. Integrative Diplomacy in the 21st Century”, Report no. 1, Netherlands Institute of International Relations: Clingendael (73 pages).

Nicolson, Harold (1961), ”Diplomacy Then and Now”, Foreign Affairs, 40(1): 39-49 (11 pages)

Vansittart, Lord (1950), “The Decline of Diplomacy”, Foreign Affairs, 28(2): 177-188 (12 pages)


8.2. On Consular Affairs and Crisis Diplomacy

Heijmans, Maike and Jan Melissen (2006), “Foreign Ministries and the Rising Challenge of Consular Affairs: Cinderella in the Limelight”, mimeo, The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations (14 pages).

Melissen, Jan and Ana Mar Fernández (2011), Consular Affairs and Diplomacy, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Introduction: “The Consular Dimension of Diplomacy” (pp. 1-20), chapter 1: “Changes in Consular Assistance and the Emergence of Consular Diplomacy” (pp. 21-42), chapter 2: “Risk, Populism, and the Evolution of Consular Responsibilities” (pp. 43-62), chapter 4: “Consular Affairs in an Integrated Europe” (pp. 97-114), chapter 9: “The Many Past Lives of the Consul” (pp. 225-246) (98 pages).


Extras (not compulsory):

Cleveland, Harlan (1963), “Crisis Diplomacy”, Foreign Affairs, 41(3): 638-49 (11 sider).

Okano-Heijmans, Maike (2010), ”Change in Consular Assistance and the Emergence of Consular Diplomacy”, Clingendael Diplomacy Papers, no. 26, The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations (24 pages).


8.3. On Crisis Management

(NB: these two books cannot be downloaded on the course web-site. You need to buy them yourself, for  instance on

Boin, Arjen, Magnus Ekengren and Mark Rhinard (2013), The European Union as Crisis Manager: Patterns and Prospects, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (170 pages).

Boin, Arjen, Paul ‘t Hart, Eric Stern, and Bengt Sundelius (2005), The Politics of Crisis Management. Public Leadership under Pressure, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (180 pages).


Extras (not compulsory):

Beck, Ulrich (1992), “From Industrial Society to the Risk Society: Questions of Survival, Social Structure and Ecological Enlightenment”, Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 9: 97-123.

Boin, Arjen and Paul't Hart (2003), “Public Leadership in Times of Crisis: Mission Impossible?”, Public Administration Review, 63(5): 544–53.

Brändström, Annika and Sanneke Kuipers (2003), “From ‘Normal Incidents’ to Political Crises: Understanding the Selective Politicization of Policy Failures”, Government and Opposition, 38(3): 279–305.

Brändström, Annika, Fredrik Bynander and Paul't Hart (2004), Governing by Looking Back: Historical Analogies and Crisis Management, Public Administration, 82(1): 191–210.

Brecher, Michael (1979), “State Behavior in International Crisis: A Model”, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 23(3): 446-80.

Carley, Kathleen M. and John R. Harrald (1997), “Organizational Learning under Fire: Theory and Practice”, American Behavioral Scientist, 40(3): 310-32.

Dekker, Sander and Dan Hansen (2004), Learning under Pressure: The Effects of Politicization on Organizational Learning in Public Bureaucracies, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 14(2): 211-30.

Dynes, Russell R. and B.E. Aguirre (1979), “Organizational Adaptation to Crises: Mechanisms of Coordination and Structural Change”, Disasters, 3(1): 71-4.

Rosenthal, Uriel and Alexander Kouzmin (1993),“Globalizing an Agenda for Contingencies and Crisis Management: An Editorial Statement”, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 1(1): 1-12.

Rosenthal, Uriel, Paul 't Hart and Alexander Kouzmin (1991), "The Bureau-Politics of Crisis Management”,Public Administration, 69(2): 211-233

Schulman, Paul R. (1989), “The ‘Logic’ of Organizational Irrationality”, Administration & Society, 21(1): 31-53.

't Hart, Paul  (1993), “Symbols, Rituals and Power: The Lost Dimensions of Crisis Management”, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 1(1): 36–50.


8.4. On Crisis Psychology

Dass-Brailsford, Priscilla (2009), “Effective Disaster and Crisis Interventions”, chapter 4 in Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, ed., Crisis and Disaster Counseling: Lessons Learned From Hurricane Katrina and Other Disasters, Sage Publications, pp. 49-66 (17 pages).

Flannery, Raymond B. (2000), “Crisis Intervention: A Review”, International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 2(2): 119-25 (6 pages).

Roberts R. Albert (2002), “Assessment, Crisis Intervention, and Trauma Treatment: The Integrative ACT Intervention Model”, Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 2(1): 1-21. (21 pages).

Walsh, Denise Susan (2009), “Intervention to Reduce Psychosocial Disturbance Following Humanitarian Relief Efforts Involving Natural Disasters: An Integrative Review”, International Journal of Nursing Practice, 15: 231-40 (9 pages).


8.5. On Media and Crises

Bruno, Nicola (2010-2011), “Tweet First, Verify Later? How real-time information is changing the coverage of worldwide crisis events”, Reuters Institute Fellowship Paper, University of Oxford (70 pages).

Kristensen, Nete Nørgaard and Mark Ørsten (2007), ”Danish media at war. The Danish media coverage of the invasion of Iraq in 2003”, Journalism, 8(3): 323–43 (20 pages).

Robinson, Piers (2000), “The Policy–Media Interaction Model: Measuring Media Power During Humanitarian Crisis, Journal of Peace Research, 37(5): 613–33 (20 pages).


Extras (not compulsory):

Baum, Matthew A. og Phillip B.K. Potter (2008), ”The Relationship Between Mass Media, Public Opinion, and Foreign Policy: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis,” Annual Review of Political Science (11): 39-65.

Gilboa, Eytan (1998), ”Media Diplomacy: conceptual Divergence and Applications,” The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 3(3): 56-75.

Lisle, Debbie (2009), “How do we find out what going on in the world”? in Jenney Edkins and Maja Zehfuss, eds., Global Politics. A New Introduction, London: Routledge: 147-69.

Olesen, Thomas (2007), “Contentious Cartoons: Elite and Media-Driven Mobilization,” Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 12(1): 37-52

Powers, Shawn (2008), “Examining the Danish cartoon affair: mediatized cross-cultural tensions?” Media, War and Conflict, 1(3): 339-59.


8.6. On Business and Risk Assessment

Furedi, F. (2009), “Precautionary culture and the rise of possibilistic risk assessment”, Erasmus Law Review, 2(2): 197-220 (13 pages).

Jarvis, D. and M. Griffiths (2007), “Learning to Fly: The Evolution of Political Risk Analysis”, Global Society, 21(1): 5-21 (17 pages).

Makridakis, S. and Taleb, N. (2009), “Decision making and planning under low levels of predictability”, International Journal of Forecasting, 25(4): 716-733 (17 pages).

Power, M. (2009),  “The Risk Management of Nothing”, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34(6-7): 849-55 (6 pages).

Power, M. (2007), Organized Uncertainty, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Chapter 1, pp. 1-33 (33 pages).

Cerullo, Virginia and M.J. Cerullo (2004), “Business Continuity Planning: A Comprehensive Approach”, Information Systems Management, 21(3): 70-78 (8 pages).

Wakefield, Alison (2014), “Corporate Security and Enterprise Risk Management”, in Randy Lippert and Kevin Walby, eds., Corporate Security in the 21st Century: Theory and Practice in International Perspective, Palgrave, chapter 12, pp. 235-53 (18 pages).


8.7. On NGOs and Crisis Diplomacy

Abiew, Francis Kofi (2012), “Humanitarian action under fire: reflections on the role of NGOs in conflict and post-conflict situations”, International Peacekeeping, 19(2): 203-16 (13 pages).

Avant, Deborah (2007), “NGOs, corporations and security transformation in Africa”, International Relations 21(2): 143-61 (18 pages).

Avant, Deborah and Virginia Haufler (2009), “Organizational Strategies and Security in Unstable Territories”, paper presented to the annual meeting of APSA (25 pages).

Danish Refugee Council (2015), “DRC Policy Position on Humanitarian Access”, position paper: Copenhagen: DRC (9 pages).

Roberts, Nancy C. (2010) ‘Spanning “bleeding” boundaries: humanitarianism, NGOs, and the civilian-military nexus in the post-cold war era’, Public Administration Review 70(2): 212-22 (10 pages).

Spearin, Christopher (2008), “Private, armed and humanitarian? States, NGOs, international private security companies and shifting humanitarianism”, Security Dialogue 39(4): 363-82 (19 pages)

This summer course will consist of a combination of academic lectures given by university professor from Denmark and abroad, lectures given by practitioners in the field (diplomats) and other external speakers. You will be required to make small presentations in class, either alone or together with other students.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period


Submission of written assignment no

later than 12:00 noon September 17th 2015

Preapproval (Not graded) on September the 18th 2015

Announcement of grades no later than 16:00

October 16th 2015


Make-up exam:

Submission of written assignment nolater than 12:00 noon

October 19th  

Announcement of grades no later than 16:00 November 13th 2015

Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner