The EU and the World

The Center of Excellence launched in Fall 2018 a new full-semester graduate course at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA): "Diplomacy in Practice: the EU and the World". The course is taught by Ambassador Pierre Vimont, the former Executive Secretary General of the European External Action Service.

The course introduces students to the practice of modern diplomacy through case studies of global or regional crises and the EU’s response to them. Students learn how foreign policy is devised and implemented from the perspective of a professional diplomat.

The course starts with an introduction of the EU institutions involved in foreign affairs. Each class then focuses on a specific case study: the EU’s strategic partnerships; its neighborhood policy; the migration crisis; the situation in Ukraine; the conflicts in Syria and Libya; the Middle East peace process; the Iran nuclear agreement; and Brexit. In each case, students explore the interplay between the various instruments of foreign policy, including crisis management, defense and security, trade, financial aid, humanitarian assistance, and public diplomacy.

The course gives Columbia students an opportunity to learn, from a practitioner’s perspective, about the concrete functioning of the institutions of the European Union, and they also learn about the international role of the EU, its policies and instruments.

Prof. Vimont’s seminar received the “Top Five Award” from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Based on student evaluations, the course was ranked in the top five, out of 200 courses taught at SIPA in fall 2019. 

The course is open to SIPA students, but also advanced undergrads, and students from other disciplines across campus.


With the support of the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union