Knowledge Diplomacy Project
The project builds on the work of the University of London in facilitating effective knowledge exchange and provides an accessible and participatory environment for academics, policymakers, practitioners and students where they are able to join the exciting conversation on an emerging concept of Knowledge Diplomacy.
What is Knowledge Diplomacy?
The nature of modern international relations has undergone a significant change with the emergence of new actors and processes that are shaping diplomatic practices and international affairs. In this setting, international higher education has had a long history of building transnational cooperation. However, the actors engaged in international higher education and the functions they play in the present diplomatic processes are only beginning to receive scholarly attention. Knowledge Diplomacy, although a developing and often disputed term, is the best concept for comprehending the diverse functions that knowledge, research, innovation, and higher education institutions play in international relations and how international relations shape these important functions.
The Knowledge Diplomacy project is leading a study analysing the role of international higher education institutions, research, innovation and knowledge exchange in building and strengthening transnational cooperation. The project includes research publications, events and network development to bring together leading practitioners in diplomacy and academics from a variety of disciplines. The overall aim is to promote and understand the significance of knowledge diplomacy in both academic and policy discussions that contribute to tackling pressing global issues.
Dr Tim Gore OBE, Knowledge Diplomacy Project Lead
The project builds on the work of the University of London in facilitating effective knowledge exchange and provides an accessible and participatory environment for academics, policymakers, practitioners and students where they are able to join the exciting conversation on an emerging concept of Knowledge Diplomacy. The project establishes partnerships to investigate the linkages between knowledge, public understanding, and the execution of global policies. It highlights the importance of collaboration across borders and communities of practice and academic disciplines. The project's objectives include producing a range of academic and non-academic outputs that examine Knowledge Diplomacy and its ability to navigate the realm of policy, expertise, and impactful research.
The idea for the Knowledge Diplomacy project originated in June 2019 at the British Council’s Going Global conference in Berlin. Since then, the project went through several transitions and phases to facilitate unique access and collaboration among practitioners of diplomacy and academics across disciplines through a variety of outputs, including research, events, workshops and many more. In 2021, Phase 1 of the project explored through several online seminars the challenges that COVID-19 and climate change have exposed in the information economy and ecology. In 2022, Phase 2 expanded and located the concept in relation to cities. The project explored the roles of cities as sites of knowledge creation and dissemination, exports and imports of culture, and international efforts between stakeholders in climate change diplomacy and higher education’s response to crisis situations.
In 2023, the project initiated its Phase 3. This phase addresses the theme of ‘Facilitating Access, Participation and Exchange of Knowledge in a Fragmented World’ and implements the network of expertise, production of Knowledge Diplomacy research, and academic publishing work and its promotion among wider audiences through additional public outreach and engagement activities.
Timeline of events
Centre for Distance Education delivers a presentation on Knowledge Diplomacy at the British Council’s Going Global conference in Berlin. During the same year, ICR Research joins the project.
ULIP joins the project, establishes new funding streams and sets up a steering group.
Second paper presented at the British Council’s Going Global conference. Start of Phase 1 of the Knowledge Diplomacy project.
Phase 2 of the project starts and explores the roles of cities in relation to Knowledge Diplomacy. Four webinars and two workshops are implemented. The project publishes a call for chapters for a planned book publication.
Phase 3 of the project begins with new members in the Steering Group. The aims for this year include: development of the Knowledge Diplomacy Network, publication of the first collection of chapters, and implementation of the first Knowledge Diplomacy conference.
Core Group Members
Tim Gore is Chief Executive Officer of ULIP. He is the Knowledge Diplomacy Project Lead and Steering Group Chair. Tim specialises in university strategy in an international context. He has also held diplomatic, business development, project management, marketing and lecturing roles. He has held senior leadership positions in career postings in France, UK, India, Jordan, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong with experience in higher education, cultural relations, diplomacy and commercial enterprise.
Lilija is a Researcher and Project Officer at ULIP. She manages the Knowledge Diplomacy project. Lilija specialises in the fields of International Relations and Public International Law. Her research focuses on implementation of international norms, International Relations theories, human rights and minority rights, mobilisation and activity of civil society groups, and development studies.
Alexander is a Project Officer at ULIP. He supports the project’s activities. He is currently a PhD candidate at Sorbonne University, where his research focuses on the soft power potential of the British higher education system.
Stuart is the Founding Director of ICR Research. He is an experienced policymaker and consultant, with experience of bridging between theory and practice. He is an Associate of the Edinburgh Futures Institute, University of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Centre for Online and Distance Education, and Research Associate in the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) at SOAS.
Dr J. Simon Rofe is Reader/Associate Professor of International Politics at the University of Leeds where he is responsible as subject lead for the Curriculum Redefined project. Dr Rofe is also Deputy Director of the Centre for Online and Distance Education. He previously headed the Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise portfolio (2020-22) at SOAS University of London, and designed, developed and delivered under the aegis of the IR Model, numerous online learning programmes at a variety of HEIs, NGOs and other organisations.
Other governance members
- Tim Gore, Steering Group Chair, Chief Executive Officer, University of London Institute in Paris
- Lilija Alijeva, Researcher and Project Officer, University of London Institute in Paris
- Charles Burdett, Director of Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, School of Advanced Study
- Anne Duncan, Director, British Council France
- Alexander Lake, Project Officer, University of London Institute in Paris
- Stuart MacDonald, Director, ICR Research
- Frank Baumann, Head of Cultural Programmes, Goethe Institut London
- J Simon Rofe, Deputy Director, Centre for Online and Distance Education
- Paul Smith, Director, British Council Germany
- Sarah Wolff, Director of the Centre for European Research at Queen Mary University of London
- Linda Amrane-Cooper, Director, Centre for Online and Distance Education
- Kim Le Minh, Head of Library, IT and Facilities, University of London Institute in Paris
As part of the Phase 2, the project undertook an enhanced literature review that contributed to the understanding of the Knowledge Diplomacy concept. This exploration introduced Phase 3 into the Project through an inter-disciplinary enquiry that includes non-academic perspectives on the topic of Knowledge Diplomacy, and the valuable practitioner’s expertise.
Currently, the Project is developing an edited collection of chapters for a planned publication which explores the role of higher education and research in diplomacy. In addition to the planned book publication, the project has published four event reports, which are publicly available.
Finally, the research element of the Project is informed by a series of closed workshops with contributions from academics and practitioners.
Key research questions:
- How can University of London and its partner institutions explore and contribute to the field of Knowledge Diplomacy?
- How can we comprehend the historical, current, and future contexts in which higher education institutions and academic, policymaker, and practitioner knowledge exchange operate?
- What are the effects of research, knowledge exchange, and higher education institutions on global challenges and transnational cooperation?
Overall, the main objectives of the Project’s research outputs are:
- To engage in knowledge exchange among academic and non-academic stakeholders;
- Facilitate internal learning within the University and dissemination of findings among the wider audiences interested in addressing global issues;
- Understand the past, present, and future contexts that higher education institutions and processes seeking to address global challenges operate in;
- Share empirical and innovative research addressing the dynamics between higher education institutions and relations between states and vice versa; and
- Shed light on the impact of research and higher education institutions on global challenges and cooperation between states to stakeholders in diplomacy.
Knowledge Diplomacy and global education are at this kind of “sliding doors” moment right now as we emerge from COVID-19, as we have a sense of a driverless world, as we wonder which models are going to prove the best actually in delivering security, justice, and opportunity for people.Tom Fletcher CMG - former UK Ambassador and Foreign Policy Adviser, Author, and Principal of Hertford College (Oxford)
The Knowledge Diplomacy project has presented a series of free online public events designed to initiate discussions on the potential of the Knowledge Diplomacy concept to address global challenges.
In 2021 and 2022, the series explored the challenges that COVID-19 and climate change have exposed in the information economy and ecology, and analysed the role of cities as sites of knowledge creation and dissemination, exports and imports of culture, and international efforts between stakeholders in climate change diplomacy and higher education’s response to crisis situations. The online seminar series has been successful in bringing the leading stakeholders together. The seminar series has directly involved academics and practitioners from the UK, France, Germany and beyond. You can access our YouTube playlist to view event recordings.
In 2023, the Knowledge Diplomacy project facilitated an in-person conference in Paris exploring the role of higher education, research, and knowledge exchange in diplomatic processes. The conference was co-organised by the University of London Institute in Paris, the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the School of Advanced Study, the Centre for Online and Distance Education, and ICR Research. The conference was supported by the University of London Knowledge Exchange Fund enabled by UKRI Research England.
|Knowledge Diplomacy Seminar – Cities and Culture||169.34 KB|
|Knowledge Diplomacy Seminar – Cities as Sites of Knowledge Creation and Exchange||160.32 KB|
|Knowledge Diplomacy Seminar – Knowledge Diplomacy and Crisis||206.38 KB|
|Knowledge Diplomacy Seminar – Cities as Actors for Global Climate Change||168.51 KB|
Partners and Contributors
The Project has built firm partnerships with external collaborators that represent cultural diplomacy entities, specifically the British Council and Goethe Institut. The expertise, networks and knowledge provided by these collaborators aided the project tremendously in positioning itself as a one-of-a-kind collaboration among professionals working in higher academic institutions, the cultural sector, non-governmental sector, diplomacy and international organisations across Europe.
The public engagement events involved high level representatives from the UCL Medical School, SOAS, British Council France, School of Advanced Study, and University of London; and panellists represented notable institutions including the UK Health Security Agency, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Greater London Authority, UK Science Museum Group, Council of Paris, French Embassy in the UK, Council of Europe, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, International Science Council, King’s College London, Thomas Jefferson University, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of California – Berkley, Floating University Berlin and other institutions.