Ambassador visit sums up Diplomacy course

Students on London Metropolitan University’s new BA Diplomacy and Law and BA Diplomacy and International Relations courses met Ambassador Mark Kent visited the University.

Date: 28/02/13

Students on London Metropolitan University’s new BA Diplomacy and Law and BA Diplomacy and International Relations  courses met one of the world’s leading ‘twiplomats’ when Ambassador Mark Kent visited the University.

Mr Kent is the British Ambassador to Thailand, and is known for his regular use of social media in his role. As Ambassador, Mr Kent regularly blogs and tweets in the local language, a practice that diplomats – or twiplomats – are increasingly adopting.

“We are very keen that our students regularly meet practicing diplomats who are actually doing the job, and we organise regular lectures and talks,” explained Steven Curtis of the Faculty of Law, Governance and International Relations. “We focus on what diplomats actually do and we visit at least five embassies a year as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It’s a very practically orientated course and Mark’s visit is just one example of this approach.”

Having access to serving officials gives students a valuable insight into life in diplomacy and represents a truly innovative approach to the subject. Indeed, London Met’s course is the only undergraduate diplomacy degree of its kind in the world.

“The precise meaning of public diplomacy can be difficult to grasp so hearing directly from someone high up in the field enabled us as students to contextualise the role of diplomacy in International Relations,” said Ella Reed, a student on the course. “The course is definitely enriched by outside speakers.

“The ambassador discussed a multiplicity of roles which make up his work from development and climate change to combating organised crime.”

Student Ellena Kadegge was struck by how approachable Mr Kent was given his position; the Ambassador had come to London Met straight from Buckingham Palace, where he had taken tea with Her Majesty The Queen.

“The Ambassador was really friendly and down-to-earth, so we felt we could ask him questions quite openly,” said Ellena. “A fellow student asked him about the issue of British sex tourism in Thailand which is quite a focal point. He answered frankly that this is a big problem and that the Embassy is heavily involved in campaigning and working closely with the government in Thailand regarding this issue.

“What I found really interesting was hearing more about public diplomacy, as I come from a marketing background and did not expect to find any connection between these totally different worlds. However, the interaction with the public through social media is certainly gaining more importance and will continue to do so in the future.”

The new courses reflect the innovative approach to teaching found throughout the Faculty of Law, Governance and International Relations at London Met. Last year, the faculty received exceptional scores in the National Student Survey, with BA International Relations and Politics scoring 100%.

Find out more about studying diplomacy at London Metropolitan University.