What Is Education Diplomacy?

Education Diplomacy uses the skills of diplomacy grounded in human rights principles to advance education as a driver for human development.

Education diplomats use the skills of diplomacy to:

  • Uphold education as a human right and essential for the realization of all other human rights
  • Build consensus around the role and benefits of education in an increasingly complex world
  • Secure the responsibility of governments to provide education in their nation
  • Inform global leaders about the benefits of education for their nation, region, and the world
  • Enlighten educators and the public about how education contributes to peace, global security, and sustainability
  • Promote the appropriate and positive influence of non-state actors, such as NGOs and businesses, in advancing education
  • Place education at the center of the global development agenda by bridging education to positive social, economic, health, and environmental outcomes
  • Enhance the work of those who engage in government-level interactions to promote the linkages of education to international relations and foreign policy objectives, such as ministry officials and education attachés, as well as civil society leaders and advocates
  • Support the enlightened self-interests of nations by showing how education advances health, peace, solidarity, economic progress, and multinational cooperation.
  • Share theories, ideas, concepts, and best practices through international exchange to promote intercultural and cross-disciplinary understanding.


Reflection allows individuals or groups to look at past practices or actions to guide future undertakings. Read more.

Intellectual Flexibility is the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and utilize multiple, creative solutions. Read more.

Global Ethics are based upon universal values that serve as guiding principles or standards to govern individual or community actions. Read more.

Appreciative Inquiry promotes the strengths of individuals and communities and sustains positive change. Read more.

Negotiation reconciles problems or needs by addressing conflict dynamics and finding a mutually agreeable solution. Read more.

Mediation resolves an issue or dispute with the assistance of a neutral, third party who facilitates discussions toward agreement. Read more.

Cross-Cultural Communication cultivates relationships with individuals from differing cultural backgrounds through verbal and nonverbal exchange of thoughts and ideas. Read more.

Other skills of education diplomacy include forecasting, emotional intelligence, active listening, design thinking, cultural sensitivity, systems thinking, and creating shared value.

The Four Cornerstones of
Education Diplomacy

Education diplomacy requires a solid level of competence in cross-disciplinary knowledge and the global initiatives that are driving policies in education and human development at the international, national, and local levels. In addition, to engage in education diplomacy, one must be aware of global trends that impact communities and, therefore, have a direct and indirect effect on education.


Human Rights are those fundamental, inalienable rights inherently due to a person simply for being human. In modern history, these have been formalized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. What role do human rights play in the advancement of cultures, the development of a nation, and human progress? How does the universal right to education influence our understanding and the value of learning in other cultures and communities?

International Education Policy is the critical understanding of education systems, policies, issues, mechanisms, and initiatives between and among nations, and the role of individuals, beneficiaries, and processes working toward education reform. What international initiatives drive education policy at the national level? What funding mechanisms are in place to implement national education plans? What are the considerations and implications of global education initiatives? How do they impact your work?

International Development is the cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary context intended to contribute to societal and human progress. It comprises the global, local, and national processes and relationships that contribute to the creation of conditions, capacities, and understandings within which communities are able to address social, economic, and political problems, and all people are able to thrive. Does development mean the same thing to all people, societies, and countries? What cultural and contextual considerations need to be taken into account? Whose voices should be included in the development process?

International Relations describes relationships and platforms between countries and the individuals who mediate them. Traditionally, these relations have been carried out by state and ministerial level diplomats. However, due to globalization, information technology, and an emergence of diverse citizens working between nations, contemporary international relations often transcend the boundaries framed by foreign policy and formal state-level platforms. This has been referred to as the "New Diplomacy." With the ease of knowledge sharing and transfer between global citizens, is there a specific skill set necessary to positively effect change and move an agenda forward?