The nature of modern international relations has changed dramatically with new actors and processes shaping diplomatic processes, namely communication, negotiation, and representation (Holmes and Rofe, 2016). These changes are particularly observable since the end of the Cold War, where “a state-centric process which focuses primarily on ministries of foreign affairs and professional diplomats is no longer adequate” (Knight, 2014, p.2). Many new actors are navigating the pathways of contemporary diplomacy, including non-governmental organisations, transnational companies, professional groups, and diplomatic experts (Ogunnubi and Shawa, 2022). While international higher education has had a long history of building relations between and among states; the actors engaged in this field and the functions they play in the present diplomatic setting are only starting to grasp the attention of scholars. Knowledge Diplomacy, while a developing and often contested term, is the most appropriate concept for understanding the various types of roles that research, innovation and higher education institutions play in international relations and vice-versa.
Knowledge Diplomacy attempts to understand the ways in which higher education institutions, processes, research, and innovation shape international relations, and simultaneously the ways in which international relations shape higher education, research institutions, research, innovation and the various processes that accompany these elements on sub-state, state and international levels. The volume sees Knowledge Diplomacy as an orchestra of communicative, representative and negotiatory processes that aim to establish consensual knowledge on various issues. Here, consensual knowledge includes formal and/or informal understanding between policymakers and a network of professionals (academic and other experts) with recognised expertise in a particular field on how to resolve local, regional, national or global problems. Solutions to these problems will depend on engagement and contributions from the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ scientific community.
By using the Knowledge Diplomacy paradigm, this volume aims to offer new perspectives on this evolving understanding of diplomacy. The editors are particularly interested in viewpoints from Diplomatic Studies, International Relations and Political Science, as well as related fields in the Humanities and Sciences such as epistemology, language, culture, ethics, international law, anthropology, political and human geography, sociology, psychology et al. The volume also seeks contributions from scholars specialising in Education Studies, and Computational Science (epistemics, AI and machine learning). Interdisciplinary contributions to the volume are also welcomed by the editors.
In addition, the editors seek contributions from the viewpoint of Knowledge Diplomacy practice, including its procedures, institutions, standards, and legal framework from within policy making and management circles. The volume promotes research into important global challenges including pandemics, climate change, inequality, geopolitics, and technology. One of the main themes of the book is that Knowledge Diplomacy is of crucial importance as innovative ideas and new scientific discoveries are essential for addressing complex global problems. These scientific discoveries and innovative ideas are led by scientists, experts, and professionals working in research and innovation. The volume seeks to evaluate these and other points with greater scrutiny by reflecting on the Knowledge Diplomacy terminology, theory, practice, case studies, and many more.