• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Diplomacy
  • Areas of interest Diplomacy
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

Since 2009 there has been a fundamental shift in the way that the Pacific Island states engage with regional and world politics. The region has experienced what former Kiribati President Anote Tong aptly called a 'paradigm shift' in ideas about how Pacific diplomacy should be organised, and on what principles it should operate. Many leaders have called for a heightened Pacific voice in global affairs and a new commitment to establishing Pacific Island control of diplomatic processes.

This change in thinking has been expressed in the establishment of new channels and arenas for Pacific diplomacy at the regional and global levels and new ways of connecting the two levels through active use of intermediate diplomatic associations. This 'new' Pacific diplomacy has seen real success in diplomatic outcomes in key sectors of global negotiations for Pacific states such as fisheries, climate policy, decolonisation and trade.

This course examines this new diplomatic agency on the part of Pacific Island states and explores its impact on relations with larger states - such as Australia, China, France and Indonesia - as well as on the shape of the regional institutional architecture. It also questions what this experience tells us about the power of small states to influence diplomatic outcomes in world affairs.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand the foreign policy priorities of Pacific states, and the constraints and resources influencing their diplomatic efforts to pursue them.
  2. Examine the role of regional diplomacy and regional institutions in Pacific diplomacy.
  3. Critically assess the political significance of ‘new Pacific diplomacy’ in relation to a changing regional order in the Pacific.
  4. Analyse the impact of the new Pacific diplomacy on diplomatic outcomes in fisheries, climate change, decolonisation, trade and global positioning.
  5. Evaluate the implication of the new Pacific diplomacy experience for the broader debate about the power of small states to influence diplomatic outcomes in world affairs.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Reflection paper 1 (500 words) (15) [LO 1,3]
  2. Reflection paper 2 (500 words) (15) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Reflection paper 3 (500 words) (15) [LO 1,2,3]
  4. Reflection paper 4 (500 words) (15) [LO 1,2,3]
  5. Essay (3,000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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This course comprises some 130 hours of activity over 12 weeks, both interactive/seminar based and independent research. The course comprises a maximum of 6k words of assessment or the equivalent.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Greg Fry and Sandra Tarte, eds., The New Pacific Diplomacy, ANU Press 2015


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

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Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

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6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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