The Department of Diplomacy and International Studies (DDIS) is a bi-lingual, multidisciplinary and international teaching, research and training institute based at the University of Nairobi. Its core mandates include undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and training. It also engages in research, publications and conferencing. It attracts students not only from Kenya, but Africa region and the world; has global reach in its partnership collaborations. It has hostel facilities for foreign students and researchers. DDIS has thus become a leading regional and international center of excellence in diplomacy and international studies training and research.
The Department of Diplomacy and International Studies (DDIS) of the University of Nairobi which has become a regional and international “Institute of Choice”, has come a long way. DDIS journey stated back in 1973, as a Diplomacy Training Program (DTP), charged with the all-important and strategic role of training future diplomats for the entire African region.
Through funding from various development partners, including the Swiss government, the French government, UNDP, The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC), the Ford and Sasakawa Foundations, the Diploma program metamorphosed into a full-fledged Institute [later Department] which was officially launched in 1990, to offer post graduate programs in Diplomacy and International Studies. From its humble beginnings with only 18 postgraduate diploma level students and only three founder members of staff, the Department now has a student body of over 1500 students.
Over the years the Department has a leadership position in the training of diplomats and conflict managers who perform negotiations, mediation and other diplomatic functions in different parts of the world. Today (2016), the Department awards Doctorate Degrees in International Studies, Master’s Degree in: International Studies, and Diplomacy. It also offers a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Studies; Postgraduate Diploma and Ordinary Diploma programs in International Studies. It has also set up Latin America and South East Asia regional study areas.
The Department's academic staff includes highly qualified Scholars in their areas of research and teaching. Some of them have the added advantage of having previously served in Ambassadorial and other high-level leadership positions internationally and in the Africa region.
DDIS programs are in high demand due to the high quality and relevance of our programs. We provide a user-friendly environment that is sensitive to the needs of our students. DDIS attracts high-caliber students from all over the African Continent; thus providing its students with a rich multi-cultural experience. The Department also counts among its alumni many ambassadors, diplomats, and international and regional civil servants. This reaffirms our basic philosophy and belief at the DDIS: that the “sky is the limit” in our constant pursuit of academic excellence.
The Department maintains close links with the resident diplomatic community. The latter participate in the Department's programs either as guest lecturers, seminar resource persons/participants, or advisers in practical aspects of diplomacy such as diplomatic negotiations. The location of the Department allows it to benefit from a large diplomatic presence and international organizations and media personnel in Nairobi.
The Department has well-developed teaching and research links with institutions that have related programs. DDIS has established links with the National Defence College of Kenya and with the Defence Staff College in Nairobi. It runs an MA program in international studies at the National Defence College and also a Diploma program in International Studies at the same institution. The Department has since its inception enjoyed and continues to strengthen its historical links with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, through training. In this connection, most of the staff of the Ministry continue to obtain their degrees and diplomas from DDIS.
The Department is constantly seeking to expand its international network of collaborators in strengthening its programs. It has developed links with the United Nations University of Peace, with whom it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2006. Also in 2006, DDIS signed an MOU with the Spanish Government. The Department also maintains an active collaboration with the Ministry of East African Co-operation of Kenya, the East African Legislature, and International Non-Governmental institutions, such as the Heinrich Boll Foundation and the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC).