Or, how the domestic interrupted the global at the G7

Alistair Somerville

President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One. (Image: White House/Adam Schultz/Flickr)

President Joe Biden’s first international trip concluded on Wednesday after a much-anticipated summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva. The meeting between the U.S. president and the Russian autocrat topped off what The Wilson Center’s Dan Hamilton described as a “cascade of summits” over the past several weeks. For Biden and his fellow G7 leaders, the summit offered a welcome return to in-person diplomacy. However, throughout the week, their bold global agenda never fully managed to break free from the realities of domestic and regional politics.

Diplomats prepared a deftly-sequenced series of meetings and summits, which began…


ISD’s new podcast mini-series, Diplomacy and the Arab Spring at 10

This month, we wanted to highlight a new podcast mini-series from the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy on the origins and legacies of the 2011 Arab uprisings. The series features conversations between U.S. ambassadors, activists, scholars, and thinkers who experienced events first hand.

Diplomacy and the Arab Spring at 10, a Diplomatic Immunity podcast mini-series

Listen now

The series explores revolutions in five countries — Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria — through the eyes of their respective U.S. ambassadors during the Arab Spring.

Conversations with scholars, practitioners and next generation thinkers from the region — including Georgetown School of Foreign Service alumni — guide listeners through the origins, events, and…


Launching two blog series on diplomatic leadership and the ABCs of case teaching

This month, our authors have been asking: what does effective leadership in the foreign affairs space look like? (Image: Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

The promotion of diplomatic leadership and teaching the theory and practice of the diplomat’s craft lie at the core of everything we do at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

As we further this mission, we have launched two new series in The Diplomatic Pouch this, examining two important issues: diplomatic leadership, and the role of case studies in diplomatic training.

Diplomatic leadership

In order to explore what makes effective leadership in foreign affairs, we sought contributions from diverse authors in the ISD community and beyond.

ElsaMarie DSilva, founder & CEO of the Red Dot Foundation based in Mumbai…


In this piece, originally published in Responsible Statecraft, I call for a more coherent approach to UK human rights policy in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a speech outside Downing Street. (Image: Cubankite/Shutterstock)

In an address to the Munich Security Conference on February 19, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a claim we have heard before: the U.K. should be a “force for good” in the world. Johnson, alongside Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, sees this as a key component of the “ Global Britain” agenda post-Brexit, and the phrase has been a frequent refrain in their speeches over the past two years.

In practice, however, the government is not…


Ever since dockers from Sydney and Brisbane organized donations to sustain the 1889 Great London Dock Strike , cities have shaped global politics as cradles of progressivism and international solidarity.

During the strike, 100,000 labourers shut down the Port of London for the entire summer. Australian dockers donated over £30,000 to a strike fund, which helped and working conditions. As the Sydney Morning Herald on 18 September, 1889, “At the great demonstration in Hyde Park in celebration of the close of the strike, the Australian flag waved above the platform from which the addresses were made.”

Much has changed since…


Alistair Somerville via Oxford Political Review

In this piece, originally published online in the Oxford Political Review on February 1, ISD publications editor Alistair Somerville offers some thoughts on priorities for the UK presidency of the UN Security Council.

The president’s chair at the horse shoe table, UN Security Council Chamber, New York (Image: United Nations Photo/Flickr)

The UK assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council today, as it continues to search for a global role post-Brexit.

While the country’s 2021 G7 and COP26 climate conference presidencies receive most of the media coverage concerning “Global Britain”, the opportunity to preside once every 15 months is also an important privilege of the UK’s permanent membership of the…


A new administration in the United States means changes to China policy, diplomatic training, and much more.

New U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivers remarks to the media at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021. (Image: State Department/Flickr)

As we watch the Biden administration make its mark on the White House and across the federal government, ISD staff and fellows have been continuing to provide insights and recommendations on the future of U.S. foreign policy in the The Diplomatic Pouch.

In all, we published seven Transition Notes, dealing with a range of issues that will occupy President Biden during his term. In January, we also published pieces on the role of case studies in diplomatic training and Ireland’s rise to a seat on the UN Security Council, and profiled ISD State Department senior fellow Ambassador John Desrocher.

In…


2020 in case studies

In our final newsletter of 2020 to ISD’s Faculty Lounge, we highlighted some of the case studies from our library that will enable instructors to tackle contemporary global challenges with their students in the new semester.

Various national flags.
Various national flags.
Flags representing various countries (Image: Vladislav Klapin/Unsplash)

2020. A year like no other has come to an end. As we enter a new semester, we reflect on events of the past year, and consider how best to explain the origins and implications of the coronavirus pandemic — and much more from the past year — to a generation of students stuck behind their computer screens.

Over the course of 2020, ISD…


2020 Publications

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

Journalism, commentary, blog posts

U.S. and international publications:

Institute for the Study of Diplomacy:

Subscribe to “This month in diplomacy,” the Medium newsletter from The Diplomatic Pouch at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy

Other outlets/self-published:


ISD may be closed for the holidays, but you can still enjoy episodes of our podcast, Diplomatic Immunity, wherever you listen. The podcast brings you frank and candid conversations about historical and contemporary issues in diplomacy, and we will bring you more episodes in the new year.

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or on the ISD website.

In one of our favorite episodes of season 1, we spoke to the historian Catherine Katz, author of Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans — A Story of Love and War, an innovative new history of the…

Alistair Somerville

Alistair Somerville is the publications editor at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and editor of The Diplomatic Pouch. Twitter: @apsomerville

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