Course Evaluation (includes course outline and class plans)
Part 1. Introduction and overview
Because the instructor relied extensively on his actual international experience, a brief biography is given below.
Jim Lindsay took early retirement in 2000, after 28 years as an Australian diplomat. As a diplomat he was posted to Chile, Laos, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Pakistan, Kenya. While on posting, he had responsibility for a number of countries including Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and southern Sudan. He was UN observer of elections in Mozambique, November 1994. He served as Australia's deputy permanent representative to United Nations Environment Program (1996-2000).
The development of the course outline was based on the extensive international experience of the instructor. The basic approach of the course was that of a seminar, whereby students were given readings, questions, case studies and simulations as resources on a weekly basis. In addition, current events were discussed and followed through articles on the Internet, which were then posted on the website used by the instructor for the course. Students were encouraged to do their own further research on the Internet and bring information to class or include in their weekly written assignments.
The classes were designed to be participatory and interactive, with students making a major contribution to every class, both in discussion, presentation of case studies, simulations and small group activities. The role of the instructor was more that of facilitator and resource person. The instructor shared anecdotal information and examples from his own experience s a diplomat in many countries, most of which are considered to be “developing”.
One intention of the course, was to give students a sampling of the type of work that diplomats actually do. A career diplomat from the Australian Embassy was invited to speak about the structure of the Embassy and the nature of his work. The case studies helped illustrate the process by which diplomats contribute to the formulation of foreign policy. Specific examples from the instructor's experience as a diplomat were shared with the class to illustrate the role and functions of a diplomat.
A search on the Internet through the libraries of institutions such as the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the United States and the booksellers such as Amazon.com revealed few books on Diplomatic Practice. The instructor purchased two books from Amazon.com which seemed to be the most appropriate, Diplomacy, Theory and Practice by G. R. Berridge and Arts of Power by Chas. W Freeman. Neither book was entirely satisfactory. Berridge writes in a very dry style and the book is not well organized. Freeman's book is essentially an update on Machiavelli's ideas and so fails to give a balanced view. Neither book has case studies or specific examples. Case studies on Diplomatic Practice were not found after extensive searching on the Internet. There seems to be no equivalent to the case studies on international relations produced by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, which proved so effective for the students in the International Relations course. The instructor was obliged to produce his own case studies drawing on his international experience and material found on the Internet. This was time consuming, but the effort was worthwhile as the case studies provided the students with a feel for what diplomats actually do. The students particularly enjoyed this part of the course. (See their comments below.)
The instructor was able to arrange for a broadband (ADSL) line to be installed in his apartment. This line is approximately ten times the speed of a regular telephone line. The ADSL line was essential for researching on the Internet. It would have been impossible to find enough suitable information for the course without it.
A resource book explaining the participatory methodology would be useful for instructors with little background in this educational philosophy and approach. One recommended book is The New International Studies Classroom: Active Teaching, Active Learning, edited by Jeffrey S. Lantis, et.al. published by Lynne Reinner, 2000. This book clearly explains the case study method, as well as simulations and games.
The course sought to prompt the students to look beyond the actual events which diplomats have to deal with and to view the underlying forces and interest groups which influence developments. They were encouraged look at issues from several points of view and to note that this could sometimes lead to widely differing interpretations of an issue.
The class was conducted as a highly participatory seminar. See the section below giving the students’ evaluation of the course for more specific feedback. Overall, the main difficulty encountered was lack of time and trying to cover too much material in too short a period. Each of the case studies should have been at least a class in themselves.
The size of the class (over thirty students) meant that it was difficult to involve the whole class in a discussion. One solution was to break the class into small groups, but this meant that sometimes groups lacked the structure to pursue issues on their own.
The written assignments consisted of a mixture of factual questions and others which required thought and research to answer. The purpose of the factual questions was to ensure that certain basic information had been read and understood, (e. g. what are the main points in the Vienna Convention?). These questions were not popular with the students who generally felt that answering them was not a good use of their time. In general, analytical questions require more complex thought processes, answering factual questions also plays a role in the learning process.
Analysis of the diplomatic manoeuvring behind current events such as the Iraq war was informative and interesting to the students. More of this type of study should be included in future courses.
The ethics of being a diplomat was also discussed. The recent resignations of US diplomats who did not agree with their government's policy on Iraq was used as the starting point for the discussion. Students had not previously considered the ethical aspects of diplomacy. It is a topic that should be included in future courses.
Suggestions for future courses
Use of the Internet should be more integrated into the course structure. A web site should be established whereby students can post their own comments as well as suggested web site urls and materials. The weekly sessions should be more focused on the use of the web site and the shared materials. This would make it more interactive as well as avoid excessive photocopying. For this approach to be effective, BFSU should look into setting up their own broadband network, (if they have not already made plans to do so).
Because of the class size no simulations were done, but some of the students themselves suggested that they should be done. For example, a simulation could be done with groups of students representing North Korea, China, the United States and the United Nations in negotiations concerning nuclear weapons. For simulations to be effective they would need to be given a complete class period. Participatory learning takes time, but helps students develop the critical analysis, research and communication skills necessary to be leaders in whatever field they enter.
BFSU should consider producing its own book of case studies for use in future courses. If of a high quality, diplomatic case studies could be offered on the Internet on a fee-paying basis as the Kennedy School of Government does for its international relations case studies.
Course Outline and Class Plans
Note: As a resource for incoming professors as well as colleagues at BFSU, I have included the lesson plans for each session, including reading assignments and discussion questions are included on the CD submitted with this report.
James Lindsay March 2003
Class 1 Overview: Politics and Power
Class 2 Diplomacy and Power Politics
Class 3 Role of the Diplomat
Class 4 International Framework of Diplomacy
Talk by Australian diplomat on work of the Embassy in Beijing
Class 5 Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Class 6 Implementation of Foreign Policy: Lobbying and Advocacy:
Reading: Arts of Power, p 45-52
Case study: Apartheid in South Africa , Gareth Evans, Australia's Foreign Relations p. 291-297
Class 7 Functions of Bilateral Diplomacy
Case study: Australia: Implementing Policy Change: Coalition Govt and DIFF
Class 8 Development of Foreign Policy
Case Study: China Hands
Class 9 Implementation of Foreign Policy: Dialogue and Negotiation
Case study: US Diplomacy and recent developments in Iraq
Class 10. Multilateral Diplomacy
UN peacekeeping, China in the Congo
Class 11. Monitoring and Evaluation of Foreign Policy
Case study: Peacebuilding in Cambodia
Class 12 Functioning of an Embassy: Consular Function
Class 13 Functioning of an Embassy Immigration Function, Refugees, Geneva Convention
Class 14: Diplomatic Summitry
Case Study G8 summit Evian
Ongoing Assessment Process based on written assignments and class participation
Assignments: each class
Participation: each class
Course Evaluation: Students' comments
Question 1 Did your understanding of the nature of diplomacy change as a result of this course? Explain.
I benefit a lot from this course. As a result of this course, I know more specifically the issues concerned with diplomatic practice. In the class, I heard some legendary stories of diplomats and diplomatic issues and we discussed much about the hot issues that had impacted on international politics. All of these give me a more critical eye to assess a country’s diplomatic actions and foreign policies from different perspectives.
When I first came to this course , it struck me as a partially new look. The current course presents wide-ranging and comprehensive views. I think it is the best way to improve my understanding of the nature of diplomacy and enlarge my scope of knowledge.
This course helps me to have a deeper understanding of nature of diplomacy. Now I know diplomacy is not only about rousing extravagant parties, speeches, and communiqués. It is about responsibilities and commitments.
My understanding has changed in some way. Previously, in my opinion, diplomacy is just interest-oriented, which is only the extension of national interest. As a result, it is to some extent selfish and ‘dirty’. But after the course, I find diplomacy much more profound. It is the whole combination of domestic affairs, the international relations and personal factors. After this course, I think I have got more interested in diplomacy.
Diplomatic practice course really inspired me a lot. The course presents more comprehensive views , including some points opposite to my previous attitudes, than ever before. By this way, I can further my understanding of the nature of diplomacy.
Reading the materials you provided to us and discussing them in the class, my understanding of the nature of diplomacy and diplomatic practice is improved. I am also very impressed by the successful example of the economic sanctions imposed in South Africa. I noticed a US congressman mentioned the success of economic sanctions in South Africa when discussing bills about imposing economic sanctions on Burma.
This diplomatic practice course indeed help me to know more and deeper about the nature of diplomacy by providing us with more detail and concrete examples in the diplomatic practice. At least, it helps me to form an image of the diplomatic career as a whole.
After I learned this course, my respect to diplomacy is confirmed and my understanding about diplomacy is deeper and broader than before. Through this course, I know that diplomacy has a great function for countries in the modern world. Diplomacy is part of one country’s administration, so it is the barometer of the country’s policy. Meanwhile, it is also the tool to achieve peace between countries when they have conflicts between each other.
I am glad to find that my understandings of the nature of the diplomacy have greatly changed, or I should say, improved, as a result of the course. Before it, my picture of the diplomacy was very limited and vague. Now by looking at so many informative materials, doing researches after class and experiencing so fruitful class discussions, I am confident that the relatively compete image of the diplomacy comes to me. Diplomacy is committed to solving affairs between nations by negotiation and consultation, with the representation of the interests of the home countries. It advocates communication, cooperation and peace. I believe the role of the diplomacy will be more and more notable and imperative in the international community, for it is the best way for us to solve inter-national problems.
Up until I take this course, I had basically viewed diplomacy, especially that among powers, as a zero-sum game. Like most Chinese, I had got used to the thinking drawn from painful and humiliating Chinese modern history---as a country, if you are weak, you are bound to be beaten. The implication is that in international community, only the powerful have the say. So diplomacy is mainly about chasing and exerting power. In line with this understanding of nature of diplomacy, I believed that the most important ethic of a diplomat should be loyalty to one’s home country.
During this course, my understanding concerning diplomacy have been changed a lot, although not totally. In completing assignments and participating in in-class discussions, I have been exposed to many cases in which cooperation will make every country will while confrontation will render every country lose, such as environmental protection and free trade. During this period of time, we together with Professor Lindsay were sorry to see certain occasions where diplomacy was lost to hostility and even wars, especially the war against Iraq. But by analyzing those cases together, I have understood diplomacy should have worked and diplomacy should have benefited all sides if it had been given another chance. Thus, one country’s national interests are mostly in alliance rather than in conflict with the interests of the human beings as a whole. A good diplomat should be sensitive enough to detect the coincidence between the two and promote them. I say my views are not totally changed, mainly because when two countries’ interests are in conflict, to each party the first priority of diplomatic conduct should be given to the essence of interests rather than the form of cooperation. Thus, I still believe the most cherished quality of a diplomat is not the devotion to world peace, but his or her loyalty to the home country. The form of diplomacy, whether it should be bilateral or unilateral, should also serve the ultimate goal. But fortunately, to most countries the world peace is also their important interests, if not the most essential interests.
In all, this course has provided me with a new perspective of viewing international relations. Before, I was used to simplifying the solution of every international conflict as a zero-sum game, and never thought about doubting its correctness. Now, I think more and often find myself struggling with the choice between zero-sum thinking and non-zero-sum thinking. I call this change a gaining from this course.
Question 2 How did your understanding of the ethics of diplomacy and the conduct of foreign policy change during this course?
My ideal perspective of the ethics of diplomacy, which stems from humanity
and personality, hasn’t changed much. But I have come to realize that it is no easy task, especially after the classmates have shown their attitudes that diplomats should be policy-followers in the first hand. Speaking of the conduct of foreign policy, I find it a much more complicated process than I have thought. It has to do with lobbying, advocacy, dialogue, negotiation and so on.
This course did not change my understanding of ethics. On the contrary, it enhanced my understanding. Obligations, bravery and loyalty, I guess, are very important to diplomacy.
I was very impressed by your personal views about the ethics of diplomacy. You emphasized on the importance of morality and sincerity in the diplomatic career. And you said you didn’t lie in your personal career. It has really changed my view about diplomats. Before the class I thought diplomats had to lie because the statesman told you to do so. Now I agree with you.
Ethics of diplomacy has been included and discussed for certain times in this course. It inspires me to think more and deeper in that field. Beyond any doubts, any job has its own ethics, including the job as a diplomat. Since we are just studying diplomacy, it is hard for us to feel the idealistic conflicts of some diplomats, when they are to carry out some diplomatic tasks that are against their personal judgments and beliefs. Of course, we can’t fully comprehend their moods when the American diplomats handed in the resignation letters to the state department. But since the duty of the diplomats is to follow and conduct the foreign policy, the personal judgments should be put aside. I believe the diplomats play a key role in conducting the foreign policy, as advocates and executors.
I used to believe the most important ethic of a diplomat is to be patriotic and he can use all legal means in order to achieve his goal and serve the country. After we discussed this mater in class, my old views changed and I now think the most important ethic of a diplomat is to be honest and sincere, otherwise he will win no trust from others and be unable to do his job. Previously I believe the conduct of foreign policy is only the concern of the government. When I have read about and discussed the role of NGO and the features of the web side of Canadian Foreign Ministry, I realized other group and also ordinary people can have a say about it and also try to influence the shape of foreign policy.
The basis of the ethics of diplomacy is the loyalty to their own country and the esteem to the human being. Sometimes, the two conflicts with each other. So the diplomats sometimes face the choice between the two. We read the resignations of the American ambassadors.
I always believe the first and foremost ethics of diplomacy is advocating peace. We don’t deny conflicts of interest between countries, but we do not need war . Also, a diplomat should be loyal and responsible to his government and his people. But, first, he himself should be honest and sincere, which is the basic moral standard for a man and in which I have great faith. I used to think the career of a diplomat decided that he was a liar, but now I know it is not necessarily so. Likewise, He should have a sense of equality and respect to other countries. The making of Foreign policies requires diplomats’ suggestions and consultation, while once the decision is made, the diplomat should conform to it unconditionally, unless he resigns for objection.
Before this course, I think little of the ethics of diplomacy and the conduct of foreign policy. I previously thought that the diplomat should be loyal to his country and tried every mean to safeguard his country’s interests. And the process of conducting foreign policy is the process of achieving a country’s interests. Now, I have a more comprehensive picture about them. The ethics of diplomacy should be set in the context of the world. For a diplomat, acting within the limits set by their country’s actions and foreign policy is undoubted. However, he should also contribute to the peace of the world.
I have learned much more important codes of ethics in the discussion with the teacher and the classmates, for example, a diplomat should be honest, should respect other country’s sovereignty, and should respect human rights of every people in the world.
Question 3 What are your views about a career in diplomacy? Has this course influenced those views?
Basically, a career in diplomacy needs high qualities. First, he should have strong faith to his career and his mother land. He must have well prepared to sacrifice himself to his cause. Secondly, he must be well-educated, quick-witted and versatile person that can cope withal kinds of situations. Last but not least, he should have the ability to face the music in any time. Above all is my long-time stance about a career in diplomacy. The diplomatic practice course was greatly enhancing my understandings on my view from different angles.
I once believed this career is high-profile, well-paid and enjoyable. From this course I learn the other side of being a diplomat. First, diplomacy is not all about slogans and diplomats should be involved in many practical, trivial but equally important issues. (The stories told by you demonstrates this well.) There is so much diplomacy can do, but there is equally so much that diplomacy that can not do. If diplomacy succeeds, the politicians will attribute it to their judicious leadership and their commitment to peace. If diplomacy failed, the diplomats might become the victims and scapegoats. After Iraq War broke out, I can read frustration and helplessness from the face of Colin Powell.
Before entering the university, I really wanted to be a Chinese diplomat in the future. In my opinion, the image of the diplomats is very admirable and glorious, because they could represent our motherland to present in the international stages. Meanwhile, the diplomats could be well informed and knowledgeable by traveling abroad frequently and meeting with some other high-class foreigners. The diplomatic career must be exciting and challenging in my eyes at that time.
I think this course changes some of those views above. From this course, I get to know some practical things in the diplomatic career. After all, diplomat is a kind of profession. Like all the other jobs, it has its advantages and disadvantages. As professional diplomats, it is impossible for them to feel exciting all the time. Under some glorious and great moments, there is many more basic and fundamental work to do. Some of them are boring and tiring. Moreover, a diplomat should always be cautious about his words and deeds. And his freedom of speech and action is somewhat confined by the nature of diplomacy
Previously my impression about a career in diplomacy is busy, boring and routine, reading papers and writing papers. After I looked into the functions of embassies and consulates, I found out so many interesting things a diplomat can do and should do. I never thought a diplomat’s life could be so colorful.
I used to suppose that a diplomat just needed to sit on the negotiation table and repeat to his counterparts what his government expected him to say and also was often invited to variable formal or informal parties to enjoy himself. But now , you know, it by no means is the case. Actually, it is the very tough and demanding work, requiring all kinds of knowledge and skills. Here, the case study section in class means a lot to me to understand this truth. A successful diplomat is capable of giving quick and proper response to the emergencies under any circumstance. It involves his expertise, wise, perseverance, will and personality.
Before taking this course, I thought being a diplomat was an easy and relaxed job. But now I know that as a diplomat, there is a great deal of tough work waiting for him. In a sentence, from this course, I admire diplomats.
I once wanted to be a diplomat. But for some reasons I could let it come true temporarily. However, I believe that the ultimate purpose of a diplomat should be making the world more orderly and peaceful by diplomatic conducts between nations. This is also what I learned from this course.
Question 4 What did you like best about the course?
I like the discussion of the course. We can say what we think of and approve of without a pre-concluded answer. We may be convinced or not, but the most important things are what we can learn from others and ourselves.
My favorite part about this course is the supplementary reading materials in the process of classes. Actually, we are not totally unfamiliar with the content of what we read after class as homework assignments. But I would always take on a look brand-new after going through the supplementary reading materials you gave us in the class.
The most interesting part of this course is you expose us to various even conflicting ideas and inspire us to form our own. That’s very effective. For example, the ideas in the article Elect the Ambassador is really revolutionary and I relish reading that very much.
Diplomatic Practice is definitely among my favourite courses in four years .Thank you very much for sharing your experience and knowledge with us. It is our pleasure and honour to attend your class.
It is nice that we can have free discussions in the class--very instructive to present my own views and to learn from the classmates and the teacher;
The material is always up-to-date, leaving a deeper impression of the content of the course in our minds.
As far as I am concerned, I like the small group discussions of this course best. Actually, we can exchange ideas, practice our English and learn from each other. In my opinion, it is the simplest but best way to share our viewpoints and broaden our minds.
First and foremost, I admire to have an experienced professional diplomat as our teacher. The lesson is taught according to his understanding of diplomacy. This course provides us some original ideas from his diplomatic career.
Second, It helps us to form a grand picture of diplomacy as a career, by the introduction of the function of the foreign ministry and the foreign missions. Moreover, I learned more from the topics and reading materials, in which we study some original case and form our understanding of diplomacy.
Third, I like the clear arrangement of the lessons and the structure of the course. Frankly speaking, diplomacy is a new and complex subject, so it is hard to explain it well in such a short term. The syllabus helps me to understand the emphasis of this course.
The last but not the least, I like the reading material very much. We can’t find those materials in China by ourselves. And some of the readings are quite inspiring and useful.
I like the reading materials and the class discussion very much. Some of the materials are very informative and I learned a lot after reading them. Some materials are well-written short passages and I really enjoyed their excellent arguments and reasoning.
About the course, I like the readings and materials best, especially those articles downloaded from the inter net.
I like the free discussion in class best and also very appreciate the informative and interesting reading material. I would like to hear other student’s point s of view on the matters and then present mine. Sometimes our views differ and we get a hot discussion. Perhaps this discussion finally didn’t achieve any outcom e, but it is not what we matter for. What we matter for is that during it we have made much thinking and our mind has widened. Above all, sometimes we spark some very interesting and challengeable points unexpectedly, which greatly encourages us. Another enjoyable thing is to read all kinds of materials, especially those concerning topicality and newspapers. For example, I find it absolutely enjoyable to read the reading about G8 summit.
Another function of free discussion is to improve our spoken English while the assignment benefits our written English. The delivery of lecture by one of the officials of the Australian embassy is unforgettable. It is a good way in teaching to invite people concern to give lectures as it can bring new blood and breeze to the class. Bring students closer to diplomats, to their life and work is very exciting and would stimulate students’ passion on the subject.
I would lik!e to say that your way of [continuous] assessment, is reasonable and helpful to accelerate students’ ability of independent thought.
Discussion is what I like most. We seldom have chances to discuss in English this semester, and exchanging opinions about international politics.
I think reading materials after class and how we performed each time of doing homework was the final result of our grades of this course are recommendable. It is better to evaluate a student according to his usual performances. The other thing is that learning is not just confined to attending classes. I really learn something from after-class reading, such as the roles of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Embassy. For example, travel advice, one of the functions of the embassy, is very fresh to me. Other materials, such as UN Resolution 1441 and the alike, help me know more about the Iraq war: the background, the US point of view about it and how people’s view differ in the US. In class, you would talk about the materials we just read and give us your opinions. It sometimes displayed our different point of views. According to that, I can not only perceive our different perspectives, but also find out what important elements I had neglected. I think progress is as a result of learning from differences.
I like those classes concerning the real diplomatic practice, including those about Iraq War, from the UN Resolution 1441 to the disputes between the US and the Western Europe to the deeper analysis of the US¡¯ four reasons for Iraq War, those about ¡°China Hands¡±, about DIFF failure, about migration issue, about the Group of Eight Summit, and so on. In my opinion, these courses can better improve our comprehension of the complex diplomatic relations between countries, together with the theoretic introductions. What impresses me most is what you told us about your own experiences on diplomatic practice which we are most interested in from the very beginning till now, since it is real and vivid, told from the perspective of an experienced professional diplomat. And I appreciate your efforts to vary the form of the course by inviting the Australian diplomat to class and also connecting with the US Embassy.
What I like most about this course is case studies, the thinking-provoking questions in the assignments, as well as the diversity of reading materials, especially those about the current hot issues. The topics I benefit most in terms of enlargement of knowledge are immigration, sanction, and multilateral diplomacy. Teacher is an emotion-demanding job, and I really admire and have been moved by your enthusiasm in teaching. In my opinion, only enthusiasm of the professor can make a course a good one and even better in future.
What I like best about the course is the lively form of teaching and the teacher’s serious attitude toward every lesson and every student
5. What did your like the least about the course?
The small-group discussion consumes too much time. We often just spend very little time on the designated topics and deviate to other topics.
To be frank, I sometimes found the questions whose answers were quite obvious and stuck to the rules on the assignments were not interesting and significant. I prefer the questions of that I can express my own ideas to those of that we could only answer through copying some lines from the materials.
Sometimes, I think the questions on the assignments were not meaningful, esp. those needing objective answers.
I don’t like the discussion section very much. In my opinion, to know what famous politicians and diplomats think about these questions is more important than what we students think about them.
When the students were divided into several groups, sometimes the students may talk about something irrelevant to the course, especially when the teacher was talking with other groups.
Question 6 What would be your recommendations to improve the course in the future?
Try to reduce the time of small-group discussion. After small-group discussion, we’d better have a big-group discussion including all classmates to conclude the points of small-group discussion.
My suggestions are as follows:
Provide the students with more supplementary reading materials.
Ask more questions based on the understandings of the reading assignments and encourage the students to present their own views as much as possible.
Give the students more opportunities to show their talent of individual present.
I recommend that in future classes, all the reading materials except those from the latest newspaper may be bound together and given to students at the beginning of the semester.
As for the future class, I recommend you provide more additional readings to the students.
First, I hope this course could invite more professional diplomats to come to give speech, not only the senior officials but also the junior officials. I believe the junior officials could have a vivid discussion with us.
Second, I strongly recommend to pay a visit to the US or Australian embassy. We could know more about the function of the embassy, and it also could help us to have better communication with each other.
Third, I think the discussion should be shorter, or it could be divided into several parts. Thus, we don’t need to wait so long and have nothing to discuss.
My recommendation is to control the time on each session of class discussion. Sometimes we spent too much time discussing on one topic and then find not enough time left to discuss the next issue.
Many thanks to the professor. Diplomatic Practice is one of the courses that I like best this semester.
As for case study why not consider varying the form? For instance, ask several students to respectively play the roles of a China senior official, US one, North Korean one and South Korean one. They are now sitting at the negotiation table to talk about North Korea issue. Look at how they use diplomatic skill to perform themselves. Maybe it can achieve an inconceivable outcome.
One suggestion is that the course ¡±diplomatic practice¡± should concern more the practice, no matter it is the issues of current or past diplomacy, or some personal experiences. There are some examples. We can see clearly what the diplomatic relations between countries and how much can diplomatic means function through the analysis of the role of Mr. Powell in Iraq War. From the travel advisories, we get to know that the consular functions are involved with many aspects and have very specific contents. What we learn from your description of how your colleagues and you dealt with the old and stubborn Australian man detained by foreign authority and another man who kept giving trouble to the Embassy, is that to be a responsible diplomat requires many qualities.
Another suggestion is that the questions for discussion should be more debatable, which may arouse much interest. In my opinion, the hottest discussion was about the ethical standards of conduct in diplomacy, during which you asked everyone to speak.
I think this course will be more effectively conducted if the professor can change the way of conducting in-class discussion. Dividing the class into several groups is not a bad idea, but in practice it caused too much chaos. I also suggest the professor consider canceling the “facts” questions in the assignments. According to my own experience, I finished them by copying sentences from reading materials. The professor has told me it is preferable if I can paraphrase them, but I still think I benefit little from such copying or paraphrasing.
I think if the course is divided into topics and leave projects for students to research and discover themselves. As far as I know, assigned readings sometimes are easy to forget.
Besides, I also think it a good idea to have more comments from Professor Lindsay, because his own experience and ideas are much treasured by students.