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The 2022 Summer Programme took place, in person, from Sunday July 3rd to Sunday July 10th 2022, with residential accommodation provided by St. Edmund Hall in the University of Oxford. Founded in 1278 A.D., the Hall is one of the most ancient constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, and, according to its own history, “the oldest surviving academic society to house and educate undergraduates in any university." 

Please check back in autumn 2022 for Summer 2023 application. 

About the Summer Programme

 
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Modelled after the historic Harvard International Seminar, founded by Henry Kissinger in 1952, the Oxford Diplomacy & Geopolitics Forum has brought over 100+ elite students and young professionals from over 20 countries to spend part of their summer in Oxford since 2017. 

The programme is a comprehensive, residential summer programme in Oxford, United Kingdom, providing a “master class” on the foreign policy and international security challenges of today’s geopolitical environment. The residential programme allows future world leaders to interact with senior policymakers, world-renowned scholars and prestigious journalists (previous speakers from: UN, NATO, EU, Whitehall, BBC, The Guardian, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale Universities). Young leaders meet to discuss pressing geopolitical and foreign policy challenges in the idyllic setting of Oxford, under Chatham House rules.

Offering seminars on today’s most pressing challenges and issues, as discerned by our global network of senior policymakers. Including daily lectures by leading scholars from the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, King’s College London, and other elite institutions, as well as “practitioner’s seminars” by high-level policymakers from the UK Government, Her Majesty's Armed Forces, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom (ACUK), and other partners from the worlds of diplomacy and international security. Registration includes lifelong membership in our global network. 

The academic programme consists of:

  • Seminars in small interactive groups with specialist policymakers

  • World-class lectures by leading scholars and distinguished speakers

Participants can attend seminars about: 

  • Counter-terrorism & Emerging Security Challenges

  • Middle Eastern Geopolitics: (Re)orientations & Calibrations

  • The Pacific Theatre: North Korea and Japan

  • Cyber-Security: New Challenges and Opportunities

  • The Return of Great Power Politics: Russia and China

  • The Resurgence of Populism: Threat or Opportunity?

Academic Programme

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Seminars meet for two hours, twice per day. Lectures meet for one two-hour session per day.

At the end of the programme, students receive the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present a “Marshall Brief” foreign policy briefing in front of world experts and receive constructive criticism on their presentation. Previously, senior officials from the UK Government, NATO, and the European Union (EU) have participated in the briefing exercise.

Every participant joins an exclusive network of world class academics and foreign policy experts.

Certification & Contact Hours

The programme provides a minimum of 40 contact hours with scholars and practitioners, through 

participation in seminars, lectures, tutorials, and lectures. Most engagement with students occurs

through small seminars and tutorials, allowing for close contact with policy and scholarly experts. 

Larger lectures are limited to keynote and closing addresses. 

Students who successfully complete the programme’s course of lectures, seminars, and tutorials,

adequately deliver a “Marshall Brief” foreign policy briefing in front of world experts and leave the

Programme having fulfilled all the course requirements receive an official completion certificate, jointly signed in recognition by officials from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, and by the Oxford Diplomacy and Geopolitics Forum programme directors.  Alumni of the Programme become lifelong members of our Global Partners Network. 

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Social & Networking Programme

A range of optional social and networking events will be offered throughout the programme. These may include:

  • a networking seminar on careers in foreign policy;

  • walking tour of Oxford;

  • high-table dinners at historic Oxford colleges;

  • after-dinner receptions;

  • excursions to sites of historical interest (Blenheim Palace, “Winston Churchill & War” tour)

Beyond the programme, Oxford is a city both ancient and cosmopolitan, old and new, with a large cultural and social scene offering a wide variety of concerts, theatre and shows, films and exhibitions.

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Accommodation and Practical Information

In 2022, we are pleased to announce that the Programme will be hosted at St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford, one of the most ancient of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. Founded in 1278 A.D., the Hall is, according to the University’s own history, “the oldest surviving academic society to house and educate undergraduates in any university.” 

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Accommodation and meals are offered at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford for every participant, at either the main college site, or else the College-owned Guest House (a short walk from the main site). Students are provided with their choice of single study bedrooms, en suite bedrooms, or else twin (shared) bedrooms. Students benefit from proximity to programme lectures and activities, the very heart of the ancient city of Oxford, as well as from the conviviality and amenities of College life. 

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Wireless internet access is available in all bedrooms, as well as in classrooms and communal spaces of programme facilities, such as the dining hall and library. 

Breakfast is provided every day at the College main site. Additionally, a select few lunches and formal dinners will be sponsored by the Programme. 

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Admissions Criteria & Academic Demands

 
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The Oxford Summer Programme on International Affairs is a comprehensive and selective programme of study taught to an interested audience. The ideal candidates include promising university students and recent graduates, as well as professionals of all ages.

Participants are expected to:

  • undertake some preparatory readings in advance of the programme;

  • attend all seminar sessions and lectures, be actively engaged with their seminar topics;

  • Present a “Marshall Brief” report. Students are provided instructions well in advance of the program. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present what students have learned in front of world experts in a creative but educational format. Experts will be on hand to provide instructions during the programme. 

 

Applicants are advised to read the below admissions criteria below beginning your application, as well as compiling the necessary documentation in advance.  When you have read the criteria and compiled the documents, please begin the application process by clicking the link below. 

The Oxford Summer Programme on International Affairs operates a rolling admissions process, so early applications are recommended

Admissions Criteria

Enrolment is limited and spaces are competitive to ensure a high calibre of programme, teaching according to the ancient Oxford “Tutorial” model, and close engagement between senior policymakers and students. For applicants who are full-time university students, the average GPA of successful applicants has historically rested within the range of 3.3 to a 3.6 on a 4.0 scale (North American system), or a 2.1 on a British system. 

However, we do not discourage otherwise exemplary applicants who may have a more modest academic record, and we have, in the past, accepted candidates who were meritorious on other grounds. Academic qualifications are less important for professional applicants (those out of school for two or more years). We take a holistic approach to admissions. 

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Application Components 

The application involves several components. 

  • Personal and Contact Details. To be submitted via the application form. 

  • Academic Transcript. Please provide an academic transcript pertaining to your current university studies or else your most recently completed degree. We accept scanned PDF copies of an official transcript, however, please ensure that the scan is of high readable quality, and that your name and the name of your institution is clearly visible on the document. Alternatively, you may arrange for your university to send us your transcript directly, at academicaffairs@oxfordgeopolitics.org, within 5 business days of completing your application. 

  • CV or Resume. Please upload as a PDF file via the application form interface. 

  • Writing Sample or Essay Response. You are requested to submit an original 1500-word writing sample on a topic of your choice. This may be, for example, a completed undergraduate paper, or else an excerpt from a lengthier completed paper. Alternatively, you may choose to submit an essay on one of the below suggested essay questions. Writing samples are to be academic in nature, using proper academic citation. 

  • Passport-style photo. Please ensure the photo is from the shoulders up, is a JPEG file, and at least 300 dpi resolution and 3 ½ x 4 ½ cm in size. Please upload via the application form interface. 

  • Professional applicants (those who have not been in full-time education for two years or longer) are additionally requested to provide the name and contact details of a professional or employer reference. The referee may be contacted. 

  • One-time, non-refundable application fee of ₤70. 

Writing Sample or Essay Response 

As part of your application, you are asked to submit one writing sample which will be assessed by Programme faculty in accordance with  academic criteria of demonstrated intellectual breadth and logical coherence of argument. The "Oxford Tutorial system" of education places a high value on originality of argument, and this third characteristic will also be assessed. You are asked to submit one of the following two options. We do not have a preference, and will assess the qualities of the writing sample using the same criteria regardless of which option is selected. 

 

Writing Sample of your choice

An original 1500 word writing sample on a topic of your choice. This may be an undergraduate paper, or else an excerpt from a lengthier undergraduate or post-graduate paper. While the topic may be of your choosing, we recommend that applicants select a writing sample that demonstrates a certain pedigree of knowledge and interest in contemporary challenges in international relations and geopolitics. 

Response to Essay Prompt

Alternatively, applicants may choose to submit an original essay of 1500 words (not including references and/or bibliography) which responds to one of a number of essay prompts offered below. The essay is to be written in academic format, and should adhere to a proper citation style guide (MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard). While we recognize that students will not necessarily be experts in the substantive essay questions, the Summer Programme is comprehensive and competitive, and will be taught to a highly engaged audience. Students are therefore expected to demonstrate a certain fundamental knowledge or grasp of underlying themes in international security and international affairs. 

Short Essay Prompts: 

Please answer one of the following essay questions. You will be prompted to upload a PDF file in the application form. 

  1. China—competitor in a new Cold War, or toothless Paper Tiger?

  2. What have been the major successes and failures of the Allied “War on Terror” since 9/11? Would you recommend changes to foreign policy or domestic practice? In answering this question, please refer to any or either of: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria.

  3. What is the greatest strategic threat to the United Kingdom in the post-COVID era?

  4. “America is back, the transatlantic alliance is back” – President Joe Biden, at the Munich Security Conference, 2021. Discuss. 

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Fees, Financial Aid & Scholarships 

Programme Fees

Fees for 2022 programme - £2400.00 (all inclusive)

Fees include course tuition; course reading materials; access to IT equipped College facilities; accommodation in a standard College room (single or twin bedroom) with bathroom facilities from July 3rd, 2022 (check-in) to July 10th, 2022 (check-out); breakfast in hall and refreshments in Programme Facilities; selection of lunches and formal College dinners; and a selection of social calendar events in Oxford. 

Fees for participation in the programme do not include travel to and from facilities, travel insurance, medical insurance, or any ancillary or unexpected fees that may arise. Please note that accommodation in an en suite bedroom requires an additional £120.00 supplement fee.

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The Programme offers generous multiple full and partial scholarships for deserving student applicants. The scholarships are provided on the basis of both financial need and academic merit. 

  • The Lord Ismay Scholarship – full tuition 

  • The Dean Acheson Bursary for U.S. scholars 

  • The Lester B. Pearson Scholarship for Canadian scholars 

  • The Dwight D. Eisenhower Scholarship for NATO members

  • Partial Scholarships & Bursaries – various 

Many of our most successful programme alumni were recipients of full or partial scholarships, and we warmly encourage applicants to apply for funding. Please fill out the scholarship application form. In the programme application interface, you will be asked whether you wish to be considered for funding. Please indicate so, and upload the completed scholarship request form in the interface. 

Applications for the 2022 Oxford Summer Programme on International Affairs now closed. 

Please check back in autumn 2022 for applications for Summer 2023. 

 
 

Past Programmes

Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, and Geopolitics in the New Populist Era (2018 - 19)

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  • Held at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, with 15+ Allied states represented, including the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, and New Zealand.

  • Students received 36 hours of lectures, seminars, and tutorials. Keynote policy lectures delivered by Nicholas Williams (NATO Head of Operations for Afghanistan and Iraq), Christian Davies (The Guardian), Maj. Gen. Jonathan Shaw CB CBE (former British Commander in Iraq), and Patrick Turner (the acting Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning at NATO).

  • Policy training exercises and workshops included topical geopolitical scenarios, including: NATO decision-making scenario; Iranian proxies in Yemen and Syria; cyber-security in Europe; Russian escalation in CEE; tensions concerning the South China Sea; North Korean WMD development; the threat of ISIL and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). 

Foreign Policy Challenges for the Transatlantic Community in the Era of US President Trump (2017)

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The inaugural Summer Programme was hosted in partnership with the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom, and was held at Green Templeton College and Brasenose College. The Programme featured seminars by Prof. Rana Mitter (Oxford) on "China and the Pacific Theatre", Col Dr. Mark Radford (Oxford) on "Counter-Terrorism and Emerging Security Challenges", Dr. Frederick Ischebeck-Baum (King’s College London) on "The Future of Cyber and Intelligence", and others. Keynote lectures were offered by Sir Tony Brenton KCMG (former UK Ambassador to Russia) and Major Gen. Jonathan Shaw (former UK Commander in Iraq). The final "Marshall Brief" workshop was presented by students and assessed by Dr. Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO HQ.