The BDA organises lectures throughout the year, on topics of the moment, as well as topics of continuing interest in the fields of diplomacy and international business. Lectures are free and open to all, though registration is required. The topics and speakers of the Distinguished Lecture Series are planned on an annual basis, and the Guest Lectures provide us with the opportunity to offer talks at shorter notice. For further information see below or contact

Guest Lectures

Distinguished Lecture Series

28/11/2017 2:00 pm - 2017-11-28 16:00:00

Diplomatic Skills (Part II): Public Speaking

Johan Verbeke
Lecture 6

In this session we will have a look at the “art” of speech-writing and persuasive speech-delivery (speeching), as well as at techniques of media-handling, including the effective conduct of interviews: what’s to be done and what’s definitely not to be done. We may, time permitting, conclude the series of lectures with a summary-profile of the “ideal diplomat”.

21/11/2017 2:00 pm - 2017-11-21 16:00:00

Diplomatic Skills (Part I):  Negotiating

Johan Verbeke
Lecture 5

Negotiation is at the core of a diplomat’s job. We will look at the structure of a negotiation setting and the often implicit rules governing its dynamics. We will then study the some ‘golden’ rules of the effective negotiator. We’ll say something on compromises, and in particular on rotten compromises. And we will have again to address the question of the so-called ‘rational empathy’: decoding your adversary’s mind.

14/11/2017 2:00 pm - 2017-11-14 16:00:00

The Conflict Cycle (Part II) – War and the Use of Force

Johan Verbeke
Lecture 4

When diplomacy fails and conflict could not be prevented or contained, parties may have recourse to the threat with, or effective use of force. Threatening with force is a tricky issue and poses the question of credibility (the ‘red-lines’ issue). And actually using force is even trickier: there are questions of legitimacy (exhaustion of all remedies, proportionality…) and opportunity (so-called wars ‘of choice’ vs. ‘of necessity’)

07/11/2017 2:00 pm - 2017-11-07 16:00:00

The Conflict Cycle (Part I) – Preventing and Managing Conflict

Johan Verbeke
Lecture 3

Preventing conflict is what diplomats are being paid for. But why then has the lofty concept of preventive diplomacy not gotten off the ground. Managing latent conflict situations is about getting a grip on the elusive dialectic between competition and cooperation. We’ll say something on that. Getting to understand the mind of the other is key in preventing and managing conflict. We’ll be looking at some important differences between the Western and the Eastern mind, so often overlooked by otherwise well-meaning diplomats.

31/10/2017 2:00 pm - 2017-10-31 16:00:00

The State of the World – A critical geopolitical Analysis

Johan Verbeke
Lecture 2

In this session, we will put the concepts identified in the first session at work. We will make a critical assessment of the “State of the World” from a macro-political point of view. What are the powers at work in a world characterized by strategic unease, uncertainty and unpredictability? How do the main players – US, Russia, China and Europe – interact? Where does the EU stand in all this?


24/10/2017 2:00 pm - 2017-10-24 16:00:00

What is Diplomacy? An Introduction

Johan Verbeke
Lecture 1

In this introductory session we will set the scene for what is to follow in this series of lectures by looking at some basic approaches to the study of diplomacy and, in particular, at the conceptual building blocks of diplomacy, its basic vocabulary: power, influence, (vital) interest, engagement vs. containment, legitimacy vs. efficacy, etc.