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Overview Training Resources Developed by ITCD


In pursuing its goal of promoting the training of Commercial Diplomats, the Institute for Trade and Commercial Diplomacy (ITCD) develops and publishes instructional materials on the professional practice of Commercial Diplomacy. These materials include information about curricula and courses, instructional modules, case studies, simulations, operational documents reflecting best professional practice, and a guide to resources available elsewhere. ITCD also works with other organizations involved in the development of training materials or in the establishment of new training programs in Commercial Diplomacy. ITCD provides samples of most of the materials it has developed on its website, which are available free of charge. ITCD retains copyright to the materials, and is happy to discuss with interested parties licensing arrangements for commercial use for a fee. The various program elements and their rationale are described below.

1. Comprehensive model Commercial Diplomacy curriculum, including course outlines

The founder of ITCD has developed a model curriculum for graduate training in Commercial Diplomacy, which formed the foundation for the Masters Degree in Trade Policy at the Monterey Institute and influenced the Masters Degree in Trade Policy at the University of the West Indies. ITCD has shared this curriculum, including course outlines, with other interested educational institutions and has prepared other interested institutions, since the development of professionally oriented graduate education in Commercial Diplomacy and the related field of trade policy management remains a priority goal of the of the Institute.

2. Instructional modules forcourses in Commercial Diplomacy 

ITCD has developed instructional modules for each of the professional skills required in Commercial Diplomacy. These instructional modules form the foundation of ITCD’s customized training programs and its online certificate program in Commercial Diplomacy (see No. 7 for a full description). Each of these modules includes PowerPoint presentations, talking points, teaching notes, a study guide, and other supporting materials. ITCD makes a sample of these materials available through its website, and licenses these materials to interested institutions. ITCD’s goal is to assist institutions interested in developing training programs in Commercial Diplomacy, and to upgrade available teaching materials to a level of quality comparable to those available in business management and public administration programs. ITCD also hopes to contribute to the professionalization and broader public recognition of this new area of academic training.
ITCD’s goal is to augment the current electronic modules with new technologies such as interactive Internet applications, CD-ROMs, and video presentations. Ultimately, ITCD expects to develop textbooks on how to manage trade negotiations and make trade policy.

3. Case studies of past decisions in Commercial Diplomacy

ITCD develops and publishes case studies of past decisions in Commercial Diplomacy. These cases are written from the point of view of someone responsible for managing the trade policy making and negotiating process. Case studies in Commercial Diplomacy are built around historically important or particularly interesting trade problems and demonstrate how they were addressed through advocacy programs, legislation, negotiations, or dispute settlement. Case studies developed by ITCD cover a wide range of issues, countries, industries, types of negotiations, methods of dispute settlement, and approaches to public advocacy.

The case study approach, like that used in Harvard's Executive Training programs, is effective in teaching the operational aspects of Commercial Diplomacy. They provide insights into the political and economic strategies that are 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. Such an analysis is rarely, if ever, conducted.

Distribution of these studies to current practitioners in the business community and the government will enable them to reflect on past negotiation successes and failures and improve their performance in future trade negotiations.
A list of case studies developed by ITCD is available on this web site. ITCD is prepared to license these cases upon request.

4. Simulations of real-world negotiations, dispute Settlement, press conferences, public hearings

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 knowledge areas 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 direction or outcome of negotiations.

5. Inventory of operational documents in Commercial Diplomacy, reflecting best professional practice

ITCD collects sample operational 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. The inventory is expanded from time to time to include documents representative of a wide range of countries and cultures, and cover the full range of issues addressed by Commercial Diplomats.

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. Operational documents developed by experienced professionals are an essential teaching tool. It gives students an idea of what such a document looks like, what it contains, and what makes it effective. Students also learn how different countries and cultures handle similar tasks.

6. Guide to training and information resources in the area of Commercial Diplomacy available electronically on the Internet and in hard copy

ITCD 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 any training program. 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 website can serve as a starting point for a student’s 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.

7.  Form strategic alliances with institutions at home and abroad that want to offer commercial diplomacy training to their country's government and business communities, as well as, to American exchange abroad

 In order to establish quality professional training in Commercial Diplomacy, many more educational institutions, businesses, and governments must establish training programs in the field. ITCD facilitates the development of these programs by working directly with such institutions, in addition to making its training materials available. Strategic alliances allow the ITCD staff to leverage an investment in the development of instructional materials by translating them and adapting them for use by others globally.

A typical package includes:

  • Commercial Diplomacy curricula and instructional materials based on that institution’s specific needs;
  • Training of instructors;
  • A set of distance learning modules and exercises transmitted through the Internet;
  • Access to the ITCDonline Certificate Program on Commercial Diplomacy (see No. 7 below); and
  • Advanced training for the school's very top candidates -- typically up-and-coming officials and managers.


ITCD also advances this goal by establishing a close cooperative relationship with other organizations involved in developing training materials and programs in the field, including national economic development agencies and international trade organizations.. ITCD hopes that cooperation will lead to strengthening these programs, while at the same time enriching the materials that can be made available by ITCD.

8. ITCDOnline Certificate Program on Commercial Diplomacy

In April 2005 ITCD launched the ITCDonline Certificate Program on Commercial Diplomacy (www.ITCDonline.com), which takes advantage of the wealth of ITCD’s resources. ITCD believes that online learning is an essential element of its education and training services, particularly with regard to building trade capacity in the developing world. This comprehensive online certificate program gives trainees and practitioners in the field an opportunity to strengthen their knowledge and analytical skills related to the professional practice of Commercial Diplomacy. It also strengthens their ability to deal with international trade and investment policy issues and to participate effectively in the trade policy development and negotiation process. The coursework contained in this 20-module program is broken down as follows

• Understanding Commercial Diplomacy
• The Global Trading System
• Communicating the Message
• Analyzing the Issues
• Negotiations and Building Consensus
• Dispute Settlement

Each module within the above sections gives participants access to the substantive training materials. Generally, the modules contain the instructions, manual, PowerPoint, resource listings, exercises, case study questions, and module exams (including a 100-question final exam). Participants must correctly answer 80 percent of the test questions to proceed to the next training module.

Anyone interested in taking the course can go to www.ITCDonline.com and complete the application for enrollment. However, ITCD also partners this online learning with its on-the-ground training workshops to maximize the impact of the students’ learning experience. And, even though the intended participants are those who attend these workshops, conceivably the scope of participants has the potential to be far wider.

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