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Explanation of Instructional Modules

The instructional modules are designed to assist students and practicing professionals in commercial diplomacy in using the training materials provided on this website to build expertise in particular areas of knowledge or skills related to commercial diplomacy.  Each of the modules identified in the index leads users to reading lists, outlines, manuals, PowerPoint presentations, case studies, simulations, simulated case, and web links relevant to a particular area of knowledge, skill, or policy area.  These materials can be used to supplement the instruction provided in formal courses taught in the field, or they can be used as part of a program of self-study.  ICDP hopes in the future, resources permitting, to link these materials to an interactive distance-learning program.

Reading Lists

The reading lists will offer users a selection of books and articles in the field that will give the students of commercial diplomacy the opportunity to explore the subject matter in greater depth. Many of the books can be purchased on websites provided by booksellers and research institutions. Many of these sites can be found in the section on links under the heading of Books on Trade.


Outlines offer users an overview of the subject matter covered in each area. They represent the first step in the preparation of manuals covering the subject matter of the module. Once the manuals are developed, the outline serves as a table of content for the relevant manual.


Manuals cover particular skills and areas of knowledge crucial to the practice of Commercial Diplomacy or training in the field in a very practical, hands-on manner. They provide a basis for professional entry into the field at a working level. They include a great deal of practical information as illustrative material, however. They are not meant to provide comprehensive theoretical treatment of a subject. Rather, they are designed to give the average practitioner an essential grounding in the field, sufficient to meet the demands of day-to-day practice.  They are clearly not meant to train experts in the field, but they should enable the average practitioner to understand what they can expect from an expert when more in-depth knowledge becomes necessary, and to grasp the essence of the material provided by the expert.

PowerPoint Presentations

Power Point slide presentations guide students through the critical concepts, principles, and terms in the field, and provide a framework for using the analytical tools and addressing the subject matter covered by the module. Talking points and teaching notes supplement many PowerPoint presentations.

Case Studies

Trade case studies are built around historically important or particularly interesting trade policy challenges. They demonstrate how these challenges were addressed through advocacy programs, legislation, negotiations or dispute settlement. They provide insights into the political and economic strategies that were employed by industry advocates, politicians and government officials. Furthermore, they give both students and professionals a way to learn from past successes and mistakes. Case studies afford the critical opportunity to ask of past trade negotiations what went well, what didn't, and what could be improved? 

Simulated Cases: Students Tackle Issues In Commercial Diplomacy

An invaluable exercise for anyone who wants to develop a strong set of skills for the professional practice of commercial diplomacy is to analyze a specific trade issue in depth and to create a comprehensive, coherent set of policy recommendations for addressing that issue. Such an analytical exercise goes well beyond simply learning about trade policy. ICDP, through its web site, publishes some of the best such exercises developed by students pursuing a Masters Degree in Commercial Diplomacy at the Monterey Institute. These exercises give students and practicing professionals insights into the application of the analytical tools and communication skills to real world trade issues. They demonstrate the integration of commercial, economic, political, institutional, legal, and domestic policy analyses of an issue; the development of a strategy to address the issue; and the writing of the briefing papers, white papers, advocacy letters, press releases and op-ed pieces that policymakers and business people use to advance their interests. 

Simulations of Negotiations, Dispute Settlement Proceedings and Press Conferences

Simulations provide an opportunity for students in commercial diplomacy to practice negotiation, mediation, dispute settlement and public advocacy skills while addressing real world issues in commercial diplomacy. Unlike case studies, which are historical, the simulations are drawn from real-world situations on current outstanding issues. Simulations of negotiations and dispute settlements are a core part of a hands-on-approach to professional training in Commercial Diplomacy. They provide a nuts-and-bolts perspective that is an excellent way to train trade professionals. Simulations teach students how to integrate material from different areas of knowledge such as business, economics, politics, law, culture, public policy and science; how to simplify and focus complex issues to the priority issues; and how to make decisions in the face of imperfect information and the time pressures typical in the real world. Simulations teach not only the art of negotiation, dispute settlement and public advocacy, but also how to use research to pull together information relevant to these processes. By choosing a current conflict, students have access to a rich base of contacts, the Internet and other research sources, and can thus see how research can be used to influence the outcome or direction of negotiations.

Operational Documents In Commercial Diplomacy

The Preparation of operational documents is an essential part of professional training in Commercial Diplomacy. It requires students to integrate what they know and their analysis of an issue within the operational context of the documents that are the essential tools of Commercial Diplomacy.

A sample of documents, which were prepared by professionals in the field, is an essential tool in learning how to write such documents. They provide an insight into what such documents look like, what they contain, and what makes them effective. Students also learn how different countries and cultures handle similar tasks.

The operational documents presented here provide a sample of documents such as public policy statements, strategy papers, briefing memoranda, press releases, cables, public testimony, and speeches that reflect best professional practice in the field. Over time, the inventory will be expanded to include documents representative of a wide range of countries and cultures, and cover the full range of issues addressed by commercial diplomats.

Web Sites Relevant to Commercial Diplomacy

ICDP collects and publishes information about training and information resources in the area of Commercial Diplomacy available from the Internet and other public sources. Teaching students where relevant research materials can be obtained is an important part of a training program in the field. Commercial Diplomacy requires practitioners to assemble information and analytical material on a wide range of subjects, frequently on short notice, and the information published on this web site can serve as a starting point for student research efforts. The guide also provides information about training materials in the field that are available from other sources, thus giving instructors a wider choice of materials.


Commercial Diplomacy has a terminology all of its own, and those new to the field are often baffled by terms and concepts regularly employed in commercial diplomacy writing. ICDP seeks to assist those new to the field by making available dictionaries of some of the most commonly used words.


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