Preface to Transatlantic Perspectives on Diplomacy and Diversity

In 2014, Humanity in Action published Transatlantic Perspectives on Diplomacy and Diversity, a collection of ten research essays written by Fellows in the Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship. In this preface, Judith Goldstein and Anthony Chase, the volume's editor, discuss the origins of the Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship and how diplomatic and international issues fit within Humanity in Action's educational mandate. Transatlantic Perspectives on Diplomacy and Diversity is available for purchase on Amazon


Since its founding, Humanity in Action has been concerned with diversity, human rights, leadership and moral responsibility within democratic societies.
The Humanity in Action Fellowship programs began with a Danish, Dutch and American pilot program in 1999. Now operating in five European countries and the United States, the programs explore the national histories and contemporary politics of diversity and minority rights. 

While our programs bring together international groups of university students and use a transatlantic perspective, the educational content, particularly the historical considerations, has been developed in a purely national context. For example, Fellows in the Polish program learn about how Poland, once Europe’s most heterogeneous country, became its most homogenous; they discuss the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the extermination of the Jews, Communist control and the Solidarity movement. Fellows in the French program explore the history of French colonization, collaboration and occupation during the Second World War, the Dreyfus affair and the Algerian war. Our programs examine these histories so that the Fellows might begin to understand the contemporary realities of diversity, citizenship and pluralism within the selected countries.

The specific national focus of the programs has been unique. Unlike many organizations focusing on human rights, we have turned our attention to human and minority rights within democratic societies: the violations of these rights and the ways in which Western societies fail to live up to liberal democratic values. We have used this emphasis on the national entity because we believe that issues of diversity, human rights and minority rights are specific to the national context and are the product of unique national histories, cultures, economies and political philosophies.

 

In 2014, Humanity in Action initiated a different approach. We observed an intensification of issues relating to diversity, minority-majority relations and pluralism that transcend national borders. Territorial conflicts and minorities in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Counterterrorism and civil liberties in the United States, Europe and beyond. Hate speech and anti-Semitism in digital spheres. Sectarianism and humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and Iraq. The global LGBT rights movement. Fundamentalism, religious extremism and violence. The Eurozone crisis and the rise of extremist parties in Europe. These issues have been at the center of Humanity in Action’s concern but, as manifested transnationally, did not fit neatly within our nationally-based fellowship programs. Although the issues involved complex national-international dynamics – often with startlingly local ramifications – we nonetheless had focused only on the national discussions. 

Without a dedicated international program, we could not examine the transnational and international dynamics of these issues. Thus, we sought to expand our educational mandate and pedagogy to focus anew on diversity in broader international and diplomatic perspectives. This motivation was the foundation for creating the Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship, a major new program for American and European graduate students. We designed the program to educate a group of 24 competitively-selected Fellows in the most challenging international issues, to connect them to established leaders and to inspire them to action. The program serves to develop new leaders who have the understanding and convictions to bring positive change in international fields.

In the program, we place an emphasis on diplomacy and explore foreign policy as formed by a diverse set of actors: heads of state and foreign ministers but also CEOs, lobbyists, advocacy NGOs, philanthropists and online activists. We built the program upon a wide range of discussions with experts and practitioners on subjects as diverse as humanitarian intervention, “digital diplomacy,” hate speech, immigration and global health.

Our goal has been three-fold: to promote constructive diplomacy in a changing world through innovative and inclusive approaches, to increase understanding of complex diversity issues and their connections to diplomatic concerns, and to promote the inclusion of those of minority backgrounds in international fields for the advancement of human rights and international understanding.

The research essays in this volume provide a preview of the important contributions the Fellows will make in international fields. The essays demonstrate the ingenuity, cultural understanding and values of our Fellows as well as their desire to seek out answers to the most difficult diplomatic and social issues. Giselle Lopez of American University devotes her essay to an investigation of the 2011 intervention in Libya and the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect. Jessica Wamala of Villanova University provides an expansive analysis of the inclusion of minority groups in the US Foreign Service. Johannes Lukas Gartner of Humboldt University explores sexuality-based asylum laws and practices in the European Union. The seven other essays provide equally important discussions of critical international issues.

The publication is divided into four sections which highlight the broad subject matter of the fellowship and the diverse range of interests of the Fellows. In the first section, “Diversity & Inclusion,” Jessica Wamala, Ava Morgenstern and Johannes Lukas Gartner discuss fundamental questions about the inclusion of minority groups in larger social bodies. In the section “Human Rights & Democracy,” Kyle James Rohrich and Bastiaan Bouwman provide critical analyses of the promotion of democratic systems and human rights by foreign ministries and NGOs. The third section, “International Relations Theory & Doctrine,” includes two essays: Jake Nelson’s discussion of postcolonial ecocriticism as an approach to international relations and Giselle Lopez’s examination of the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect which uses Libya as a case study. The essays by Jessie Landerman, Daphné Joseph-Gabriel and Fabiana Sofia Perera in the final section, “Business, Technology & Development,” look to the future and explore new and non-state trends in international relations, including corporate social responsibility, foreign direct investment and information and communication technology (ICT).

In addition to the essays included in this volume, Humanity in Action has posted several essays by other Diplomacy and Diversity Fellows online. These include Wendell Adjetey’s comparative analysis of policing and racial bias in Toronto and New York and Goleen Samari’s investigation of Syrian women refugees’ health needs in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. We look forward to the wide distribution of all the essays. 

We would like to thank several individuals and institutions for their immense contributions to the inaugural program and to this publication in particular: our colleagues Chloé Choquier, Amaya Bloch-Lainé, Philip Ugelow, Katherine Trujillo, Martine Alonso Marquis and Cynthia Bunton; James M. Lindsay and Kate Collins at the Council on Foreign Relations; and the Robina Foundation. We would also like to thank the external reviewers who volunteered their time to work with our Fellows in developing these essays: Henry Alt-Haaker, Meline Arakelian, Cynthia Bunton, Corinne Cath, Talia Dubovi, Shoshana Iliaich, Thomas Huddleston, Madeleine Joss, Joseph Kaifala, Nejra Kalkan, James Kirchick, Boukje Kistemaker, Rémi Korman, Sigal Liberman, Andrew Metcalf, Bruno Noisette, Helle Porsdam, Andreas Sampson and Samuel Yates.

 

Judith S. Goldstein, Founder and Executive Director, Humanity in Action

Anthony Chase, Director of Programs, Humanity in Action (Editor) 

Citation

Goldstein, Judith S. and Anthony Chase."Preface." In Transatlantic Perspectives on Diplomacy and Diversity, edited by Anthony Chase, 1-2. New York: Humanity in Action Press, 2015.

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