Education Diplomacy Skills Resources

The Center for Education Diplomacy shares and develops resources that support, inform, and inspire educators who want to transform their leadership using Education Diplomacy skills, approaches, and processes. This is a growing list of skills and resources that we value for your Education Diplomacy growth. Please check back regularly for updates.


Organizations We Like

Consensus Building Institute | DiploFoundation
Harvard Program on Negotiation | PYXERA Global
University of Southern California Center for Public Diplomacy
UPEACE Centre for Executive Education


Resources by Category


Listening in Education Diplomacy builds trust, conveys understanding, opens dialogue, builds empathy, communicates authenticity, and improves diplomatic interactions. Active listening is crucial in all aspects of education diplomacy. It is a key feature of principled negotiation, but should be a key aspect of all interactions among various actors and stakeholders in education diplomacy. The following research-based resources include important aspects of learning, as well as teaching, listening skills.

Danger of the Single Story - TED Talk
Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person, culture or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding, and a limited perspective. Listening helps us avoid this.

What Great Listeners Actually Do (Zenger and Folkman, 2016)
Researchers Zenger and Folkman conducted research among 3,492 participants in a leadership and coaching development program understand the behaviors of managers who were described by their colleagues as great listeners. Their four conclusions included “asking questions that promote discovery and insight, “interactions that build a person’s self-esteem,” feedback flowing “smoothly in both directions,” and tactful feedback that “opened up alternative paths to consider.”

Teaching Listening: What do we do? What should we do? (Janusik, 2002)
This article addresses the gap in time spent in US communications programs on teaching listening versus teaching speaking, with speaking being taught more often than listening, although listening makes up the majority of time spent in communication. The article includes a comprehensive literature review of the methods used to teach educators how to teach listening to students, revealing that there is enough “material to teach the cognitive component of listening,” while proposing a listening curriculum that also includes the behavioral aspects of listening.

Building Trust

Education Diplomacy can only be done successfully in a context of trust, and education diplomats must have the skills to build trust with the communities with whom they work as well as among the actors with whom they collaborate and negotiate to advance education. The following resources include research and experience on building trust among groups.

How to Build and Rebuild Trust (TedX 2018)
Frances Frei of Harvard University discusses her experience restoring trust at Uber. She explains that building trust requires authenticity, logic, and empathy.

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey
Covey discusses personal and relational trust in his best-selling book (a summary by FranklinCovey is linked). Building trust begins with the self and involves the core areas of integrity, intent, capabilities and results. He identifies thirteen behaviors of high trust in relationships: “talking straight,” respect, transparency, “righting wrongs,” loyalty, delivering results, improving, “confronting reality,” “clarifying expectations,” accountability, listening, keeping commitments, and extending trust. It also discusses organizational trust, market trust, societal trust, as well as how to restore trust.

Consensus Building

Consensus building is essential when working with networks and coalitions for achieving common purposes, a core activity of Education Diplomacy. It is the preferred means of coming to agreement in multi-stakeholder diplomacy contexts, and often involves negotiation, compromise, and concession.

Consensus Building: Clarifications for the Critics (Innes, 2004)
In addition to addressing the criticisms of consensus building with case studies and research, Innes discusses the important factors that make consensus building successful, including skilled conveners, inclusion of key stakeholders, a compelling reason to come to the table, and trust. “What successful consensus building achieves is not harmony but rather a social order within which differences can be discussed and addressed and joint action can be taken.”

Education, A Shared Responsibility (UNESCO 2017)
After the global community achieved consensus on the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, including SDG4 on education, UNESCO’s 2017 Global Education Monitoring report focused on meeting commitments, accountability and cooperation.

Stakeholder Mapping

When engaging in any form of consensus building, negotiation, or collaboration in Education Diplomacy, the exercise of stakeholder mapping ensures a clear understanding of all the actors at play in a given area of negotiation or discussion, and clears the way for appropriately engaging those stakeholders and ensuring their voices are heard. The below resources give examples of this in action.

What Global Education Can Learn from Global Health (Asia Society, et. al., 2017)
This article, and a webcast by the same title, maps some of the key stakeholders in global health and draws parallels to the potential for global education garner the global support global health does.

Private Sector Engagement in Education: A Mapping Report (Global Partnership for Education, 2018)
With private education and “low-cost private schools” coming under fire as means to achieving SDG4 while also being important stakeholders in global education, this report describes their current role in international education and maps that role across four functions globally and nationally: expertise; finance; advocacy and voice; provision of goods and services.

Integrated Planning

Education Diplomacy is a practice defined by cross-sectoral and multi-level engagement, and integrated planning is one area of interaction between the various sectors and actors.

Integrated Planning for Education and Development (Persaud, 2017)
This article describes the growth in the “opportunity space” for education stakeholders at all levels to focus more on the links between education and other development sectors and proposes three “dimensions” of integration. These are “horizontal integration” (the education sector with other sectors like health and social protection), “vertical integration” across national and local levels; and “lateral integration” of state and non-state actors.

Cross-Sector Partnerships

Cross-sector partnerships are developed and strengthened by Education Diplomacy, allowing actors from various sectors to find shared goals and work together to achieve them.

How Can Cross-Sector Partnerships Improve Educational Outcomes (Equal Measure)
This report discusses two evaluations of cross-sector programs that have resulted in greater “collective support” for better educational outcomes for learners.


Negotiation is a central area of practice for Education Diplomacy, namely principled, interest-based negotiation that aims for achieving a “win-win” among all parties involved.

Real Leaders Negotiate: What is the difference between leadership and management? (Harvard Program on Negotiation)
This report highlights the ability to negotiate as a key aspect of leadership, providing a case study of Nelson Mandela as a master negotiator, profiling several other successful leaders with negotiation skills, and cautionary tales of leaders who failed to effectively negotiate. (Requires free registration to access.)

Negotiating a Better Future: The Impact of Teaching Negotiation Skills on Girls' Health and Educational Outcomes (Innovations for Poverty Action)
Not only are negotiation skills important in Education Diplomacy, but they can also have a great impact on at-risk learners. This report on a program that taught negotiation skills to girls in Zambia showed that girls who were taught those skills showed better educational outcomes three years later.

Negotiation Preparation Checklist (Harvard Program on Negotiation)
A list of key questions to ask to help prepare for a negotiation.


As a field of practice that involves integrative approaches and multiple systems, Education Diplomacy requires systems thinking, which involves understanding the underlying systems and structures that influence patterns of behavior.

Governing Education in a Complex World (OECD 2016)
What models of governance are effective in complex education systems? In all systems an increasing number of stakeholders are involved in designing, delivering, and monitoring education.

Global Education Monitoring Report (UNESCO)
The GEM report provides in depth research on global education and its progress towards meeting SDG4, providing important data and information on trends in education globally, highlighting interdependence and sustainability and considering the various systems involved in global education.

Education and the Global Goals [Infographic] (Global Partnership for Education)
This infographic illustrates how education is essential to the achievement of all 17 sustainable development goals and how it relates to various global systems.

Innovative Leadership

Education diplomats engage in innovative leadership by drawing on education diplomacy skills and practices to approach issues and systems in new ways.

Creative Public Leadership: How School System Leaders Can Create the Conditions for System-wide Innovation
This report analyzes how school systems are performing in and responding to a changing global context and how leaders can contribute to creating conditions for successful innovation that transform learning outcomes for all. WISE Research


Forecasting, or futures-thinking, helps education diplomats foresee, plan for, and proactively address trends in education and trends that influence education.

Pro-Poor Scenario Toolkit: Workshop Materials and Global Forecasts for 2039
Pro-poor foresight considers a variety of plausible future scenarios while placing people at the center of concern. This toolkit will help communities and countries develop scenarios that explore the expectable, and challenging scenarios that they should consider when planning for an uncertain future. Institute for Alternative Futures and the Rockefeller Foundation

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Featured Resources


Childhood Education: Innovations
special Education Diplomacy Issue (2018)

“Education Diplomacy skills take us beyond the advocacy that has pushed for access to those spaces and into equipping state and non-state actors at local, regional, and national levels to participate in setting the global education agenda and taking on greater leadership roles.”

—Phoebe Farag Mikhail,
“Power Imbalances and Education Diplomacy”

The entire issue of Childhood Education: Innovations is dedicated to Education Diplomacy, an innovative concept itself, offering a new framework for diplomatic skills to improve cooperation, coordination, and collaboration for the advancement of education. The issue includes important thought pieces as well as dynamic examples of education diplomacy in action from local and global actors.