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Applied Diplomacy in Berne, Brussels and Geneva

Prof. Dr. Kurt Spillmann, one of the most renowned experts in international relations, opened the third CAS Foreign Affairs & Applied Diplomacy. In an impressive way, he has succeeded in explaining and classifying current phenomena, such as the old-new American approach to diplomacy or the current tensions between Europe and Russia.

After additional lessons on the basics of international law, the world trade system and Switzerland's role as host state for international organizations, the participants were ready for the second course weekend: the workshop on communication and negotiation techniques. In practical role-plays, ZHAW lecturer and Middle East expert Khaldoun Dia-Eddine explained to the participants, among other things, that it is important to focus not on positions but on interests when negotiating.

The first module was completed in the federal capital of Berne. A visit to the residence of the German embassy allowed insights into the functioning of a bilateral embassy, which has to coordinate with other EU member states at the same time. How cantonal governments contribute to foreign policy was then the topic in the House of Cantons - how parliamentary diplomacy works was explained in the Federal Parliament by a representative of the parliamentary services. Last but not least, the focus was once again on multilateral diplomacy with the Universal Postal Union (UPU). These visits were supplemented and deepened during a workshop and lunch with experienced Swiss diplomats of the "SwissDiplomats - ZurichNetwork" association.

New: Excursion to Brussels
At the start of the second module in Brussels, our close cooperation with the Forum for Foreign Policy (foraus) came into play. Thanks to the highly networked foraus President Nicola Forster, the distanced Brussels could be brought closer to the participants, who often have to deal with EU decisions in their daily work. The importance of a personal network on the ground in Brussels was also demonstrated in discussions with representatives of the most important EU institutions such as the European Parliament or the European External Action Service (EEAS). The participants took the opportunity to exchange views on current political and economic developments with the Head of the Swiss Mission to the EU, Ambassador Urs Bucher, but also with correspondents and various stakeholders - both from the EU and Switzerland.

The next focus was the Business & Diplomacy interface. First, Program Director Dr. Florian Keller explained the turnaround in global competition for multinational companies: As "Made in China" and "America first" exemplify, the longer large economies know how to exploit the value of their large markets and put companies under pressure to create local jobs (see guest commentary in the NZZ). Another expert in this block was Thomas Borer. How Swiss companies can be supported in opening up new markets was demonstrated at the headquarters of the Swiss export promotion organisation Switzerland Global Enterprise in Zurich.

The course was concluded with a slightly different view of the Rhone city. Right behind Geneva Cornavin station we started at the Impact Hub Geneva to learn that there are now many start-ups that work closely with international organisations, such as Accelerate2030. After lunch with experts stationed in Geneva, CAS concluded with a visit to Lake Geneva, at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The next implementation of CAS Foreign Affairs & Applied Diplomacy begins on March 15, 2019, and can also be credited as part of MAS Communication Management and Leadership, for example.