Soft Skills for (Future) Diplomats and Peacebuilders

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
Course Level

Are you an (aspiring) diplomat or peacebuilder? And do you have ideals for a better world? And would you like to work on your communication and personal leadership skills? Then this is the place for you! During this summer school a seasoned diplomat and an experienced peacebuilder, both with lots of training experience, will work with you on your need to know in order to contribute to making this world a safer, more peaceful and more sustainable place. Expect a fun and highly interactive training that is both about thinking and feeling.

People aiming to contribute need to know themselves deeply and master some difficult skills. You will learn how to maintain your moral compass, use compassionate communication skills and develop personal leadership. Based on case-studies from the field of international relations and many exercises, a seasoned diplomat and expert trainer will help you to start this process.

This course is meant for anyone who is interested in learning about personal leadership and communications in the field of international relations. It is not necessary that you are (already) active in this field.


Day 1: the problem – personal leadership in dealing with international challenges
•    Overview of the course and establishing personal learning objectives.
•    People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. So, what inspires you? What is your vision? What do you stand for?
•    Buidling bridges between cultures.

Day 2: experiencing collective action problems - a simulation
•    Negotiation simulation.
•    Personal reflection on three levels: personal leadership, group dynamics and morality.
•    Inquiry into collective action problems.
•    Informal evening programme.

Day 3: harnessing the power of group dynamics, empathy and negotiation skills
•    How to deal with disagreements before they lead to resistance or even conflict?
•    How to create decisions with a group that are truly supported by everyone.
•    How to stay calm when the going gets tough?

Day 4: your moral compass – character strengths and values
•    Which character strengths do you bring with you?
•    The power of honest communication and feedback.
•    What to do if the other party plays a mean game?

Day 5: challenge – being a compassionate and effective professional
•    The difficulty with communication techniques is in applying them in your life, so let’s get real.
•    Participants will present a personal case to practice with.
•    How to continue practicing and growing: the hero’s journey.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)
Course director
Dr. Lauren Gould


Jan Reinder Rosing

Jan Reinder studied (International) Law at the University of Utrecht. In 2004 he became European Champion debating and founded a company in debating and communication.  In 2006 he published 'De Debatwijzer', a handbook for debaters. In 2008 he left his company and became a diplomat for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for which he served in The Hague and the Dutch Embassy in Ankara. In 2011 and 2012 he studied philosophy part-time. Between 2013 and 2016 he was member of the Dutch team that campaigned for a seat on the UN Security Council. In 2016 he joined the EU Diplomatic Service for three years to work on the prevention of violent conflict outside of the EU. In 2019 he founded a company that focuses on supporting organizations and individuals in developing wisdom. He holds a coaching certificate and followed many trainings in amongst other meditation, empathic communication and inclusive decision making.

Henrik Looij

Henrik Looij finished a Research Master in Human Geography and Planning(2008). In the same period he became a certified coach. In 2007 he co-founded an incubator for social entrepreneurs and a creative, international agency for social and sustainable development questions. Since then he worked in more than 20 countries worldwide, with a growing network people and organisations that are a continuous source of inspiration. Since 2012 he also is a partner of an organization which uses nature as a teacher for personal and organisational development questions. As a social entrepreneur he is increasingly interested in climate change and mitigation. After co-founding green energy company Groenpand (2013), he now seeks to develop new methods and platforms for sequestering carbon and restoring landscapes. When is he is not in The Netherlands, you can probably find him on the east-coast  of Sweden, where he runs an inn with the love of his life and their baby boy. 

Target audience

This course is meant for advanced bachelor and master students and professionals.

Study load

The courses will start every day at 10h00. The ending time is around 15h00. Often, there will be a homework assignment of between 1 and 2 hours to prepare for the next day.


Course fee:
Fee covers
Course + course materials
Housing fee:
Housing cost
Housing provider:
Utrecht Summer School

Extra information about housing

In this course a limited group of participants (20) is admitted. We accept participants on a first come, first served base.

If, due to for instance COVID-19 restrictions, this course cannot be offered as a classroom course, it will be offered as an online course.

More information

The course will take place in Janskerkhof 2 room 0.19 in Utrecht.

On Tuesday the course will not run from 10h00 until 15h00 but from 10h00 until 21h00 in the evening. We have prepared an informal evening programme for all the participants.

Utrecht Summer School | E: | T: +31 30 253 4400


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline
01 August 2021