What Diplomacy Can Do for You

15 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020 Last revised: 2 Jun 2020

See all articles by W. Robert Pearson

W. Robert Pearson

Duke University Rethinking Diplomacy; Middle East Institute; American Academy of Diplomacy; American Diplomacy Publishers

Date Written: January 22, 2020


This paper based on Ambassador W. Robert Pearson’s inaugural lecture of the DUCIGS/Rethinking Diplomacy Program at Duke University focuses on how the combination of the disciplines of diplomacy and science plays an important role in facilitating the solution of complex issues. The author introduces a “collaboration model” for modern problem solving of complex problems, including those where good science is a key factor, with many stakeholders. In this model, diplomacy can act as the “facilitator” or the “mediator” to manage that process. In order to succeed with a “collaboration model,” five elements are required: (1) involvement of all the essential stakeholders (those that could make or break an agreement), (2) consensus definition of the problem, (3) sufficient common interests to generate a productive dialogue, (4) a shared commitment by the stakeholders to finding a solution, and (5) successful post-agreement implementation that stands the test of time. Examples of successful stories include the international Ozone Agreement and the agreement on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The author concludes that in today’s world all science is also politics. Knowing what is needed to solve a problem is not enough. Knowing how to persuade the broader public, businesses and governments to do what is needed requires knowing the best way to make that happen. The best way to help make that happen is to use the best tools of diplomacy. Science and diplomacy thus become indispensable partners for human progress.

Keywords: Diplomacy, Sustainable Development Goals, universities, American diplomacy, human behavior, collaboration model, science diplomacy, Vietnam, ozone agreement, Monsanto, black swan

Suggested Citation

Pearson, W. Robert, What Diplomacy Can Do for You (January 22, 2020). Duke Global Working Paper Series No. 22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3601973 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3601973

W. Robert Pearson (Contact Author)

Duke University Rethinking Diplomacy ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://igs.duke.edu/series/rethinking-diplomacy

Middle East Institute ( email )

1761 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://mei.edu

American Academy of Diplomacy ( email )

1200 18th St NW
Suite 902
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://academyofdiplomacy.org

American Diplomacy Publishers ( email )

P.O. Box 2842
125 S Estes Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
United States

HOME PAGE: http://americandiplomacy.web.unc.edu

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics