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New Graduate Certificate in Public Diplomacy Generates Excitement Among Students

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Media, Film & Journalism Studies

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By Hannah Kipersztock, first-year MA, international studies

When I found out about the new Graduate Certificate in Public Diplomacy, I knew it was exactly what I'd been looking for. The certificate was launched in fall 2019 as a joint program of the Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies (MFJS) and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at DU. It combines courses in strategic communication and international relations to prepare students for careers in cultural diplomacy, global public affairs and strategic communication, foreign aid, nation branding, and global health and development.

As an undergraduate, I had majored in public relations before I decided to switch to political science and international relations. Public diplomacy engages both of these areas and focuses on the way governments, nonprofit organizations, or transnational political institutions use communication tools to influence their own publics, as well as publics in other countries. Essentially, public diplomacy is the perfect combination of my interests.

Despite the fact that it's so new, the Certificate in Public Diplomacy has already generated a lot of excitement among grad students in the MFJS department and the Korbel School. I spoke with some of my peers who are also pursuing this certificate to get their perspective.

First-year international and intercultural communications (IIC) student Rachel E. Anderson said that she pursued the certificate because it "really compliments the IIC degree. With public diplomacy courses, I'm able to do a deep dive into topics that wouldn't necessarily be covered in my degree program. Not to mention, having the certificate with my degree will hopefully give me an extra boost for my professional and research pursuits."

Sam Arndt, another first-year IIC student, said, "As someone with an undergraduate degree in international studies, an interest in diplomacy, and a love for travel, I'm hoping to find a job in international diplomacy upon graduation. The Public Diplomacy certificate is worth pursuing for me because it will allow me to gain the knowledge I need to work in my field of preference." Sam will be putting what she's said here into action through an internship this summer at the U.S. Embassy in Tblisi, Georgia.

Lalitha Christian, a second-year master's student in international studies at the Josef Korbel School, explained that "After 6.5 years of working for the largest business advocacy organization in the state, I decided to pursue a master's degree where I can take the skills I acquired in public relations and community affairs and translate them into a career in international relations. The Public Diplomacy Certificate provides a perspective different from traditional diplomacy courses at Korbel and aligns perfectly with my experience, interests, and future career goals."

Ultimately, graduate certificates are meant to supplement your education with specialized courses in a field you are passionate about. Some MFJS graduate students have also pursued the Global Business and Corporate Social Responsibility Certificate as well as the Global Health Affairs Certificate, so you have some options if public diplomacy doesn't sound like your thing. However, if any of my words or those of my peers resonate with you, I highly recommend applying to the Certificate in Public Diplomacy!