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Discussion Group

Higher Education Institutions and Diplomacy: Never the Twain Shall Meet?

STG Talk

Add to calendar 2023-10-04 14:00 2023-10-04 16:00 Europe/Rome Higher Education Institutions and Diplomacy: Never the Twain Shall Meet? BTA116 Buontalenti - Casino Mediceo YYYY-MM-DD


04 October 2023

14:00 - 16:00 CEST



Buontalenti - Casino Mediceo

The STG Talks, held weekly at Palazzo Buontalenti, serve as a space for discussion for the STG community and beyond. Led by the STG Fellows, the talks are a place for informal learning and exchange on global issues affecting different areas of policymaking.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) do not stand alone as ‘ivory towers’ separate from society and economy. Nor are HEIs completely removed from either the foreign policies of their home governments or from transnational governance.

Some Horizon 2020 programmes bankrolled by the European Commission have funded HEIs to undertake research into science and cultural diplomacy but have been relatively silent on the roles these institutions might play in diplomacy. It is well recognised that HEIs are important institutional actors in in intercultural exchange and scholarship more generally. However, we live in a rapidly changing and enlarged diplomatic landscape of non-state actor involvement ranging from celebrity diplomats through to science diplomats. 

From time to time, the scientists and scholars in universities and colleges provide advice and analysis for Ministries of Foreign Affairs or become enrolled in the initiatives of International Organisations and treaty negotiations. But can they also become ‘sites’ for, or actors in, diplomacy? Many universities are already centers for diplomatic training but sometimes they can participate in what is called ‘track two diplomacy’. Sometimes a university can become a diplomatic problem while certain individuals and groups of scholars can generate international attention due to the treatment they receive from their home or foreign government pressing upon principles of academic freedom. 

These are the types of issues that the panelists will address, questioning to what extent that HEIs (might be) playing a bigger or more influential role in diplomacy rather than being seen as mere ‘tools’ of public or civic diplomacy.


  • Diane Stone, Chair of Global Policy, STG, European University Institute
  • Vera Axyonova, Marie Sklodowska Curie REWIRE Fellow, University of Vienna
  • Marina Cino Pagliarello, Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow, European University Institute
  • Sebastién Huber, Head of Strategy and Development & Director (ad interim) Academic Service, European University Institute


Please note this is an in-person event. No zoom link will be provided upon registration.

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