Foreign Service and International Development Specialist

The Foreign Service and International Development Specialist (FSIDS) program aims to prepare students for a career in the Canadian Foreign Service, bilateral and multilateral organizations, or international NGOs. The program will introduce you to the world of diplomacy in bilateral and multilateral settings, as well as provide training in essential diplomatic skills such as negotiation and networking. You will also learn how to develop and manage international development projects, which are a major priority for NGOs worldwide and Global Affairs Canada.

To Be Announced

*In special circumstances, there might be an additional cohort with an earlier start date. Contact us for more details.

What you'll learn

The principles and organizational structures of global diplomacy
How to pursue a career in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy
How to navigate the bilateral and multilateral diplomatic environment
How to acquire contacts and build effective networks in the diplomatic world
Acquire the right attitude and skills in diplomatic negotiations
How to work with and manage different stakeholders in international development projects

*** This Course is not recognized or endorsed by The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) for Registration as a Regulated  Canadian Immigration Consultant, for more information


Essentials of Diplomacy

This module examines the process and practice of diplomacy, providing in-depth, hands-on professional training, with an emphasis on skill-based, experiential learning. Offering a practitioner’s view, the module explores how diplomacy works in practice and the essential role of diplomats, as the backbone of everyday international relations. It aims to guide professionals through the theoretical and practical building blocks of the contemporary practice of diplomacy, with a focus on gaining the essential knowledge, skills, and global outlook necessary to be an effective modern-day diplomat. This module explores diplomacy from different vantage points: the history and evolution of diplomacy, diplomacy in theory and practice, the tools, principles and practices of effective diplomacy, strategic diplomatic priorities, and the application of diplomacy in bilateral and multilateral settings. The module will familiarise students with the activities of a modern diplomat and the role of diplomacy in facing the global challenges of the 21st century. The module is designed for professionals interested in the field of international relations, with particular interest in careers in the foreign service, international organizations, multilateral corporations, NGO’s etc.


Effective Networking in Diplomacy and Advocacy

This module presents a contemporary approach for networking and advocacy for the purpose of obtaining foreign policy results. It is designed for professionals with various levels of experience from the junior officer to the mid-career manager. It is presented for the practitioner but may also be useful for the academic to gain a wider understanding of diplomacy in the 21st century. The module proposes the context of Canada‘s relations with United States as Canada‘s most important partner and ally. It uses the US context also because of the complexity of the US governing and decision-making systems. The module suggests that Canada practices a more modern diplomacy in light of these features, in lieu of a traditional diplomacy which may be suited to relations with other countries with more traditional foreign policy systems or with which Canada’s relations are less extensive. The module presents examples of types of contacts to include in one’s network for an increased influence in decision-making in the host country. This should enable an improved targeting of contacts for results and suggests less traditional tools to ensure success. Overall, it is hoped that the practitioner will be able to improve their development of strategies for engaging with networks to reach influencers and decision-makers who influence Canada’s foreign policy interests. The module also contains several case studies that provide examples of challenges, networks, practice and outcomes. Two written assignments are required to aid students to apply lessons learned.


Working in the Bilateral Environment

This module will cover the conceptual framework of bilateral diplomacy by examining two very different bilateral diplomacy case studies, a) Canada-Kingdom of the Netherlands, and b) Canada-Venezuela. Each case stems from a different end of the wide spectrum of bilateral diplomacy, in terms of maturity, common interests/antagonism, and the degree of institutional footprint in place. On one hand there will be an overview analysis of the well-established bilateral relationship between Canada and the Netherlands, and on the other, the case of Venezuela, a relationship that evolved from being one of cordial and productive engagement to the uncharted waters of acrimony and unexpected developments that characterize the relationship today. This module will help you understand a country like as Canada frames and manages its bilateral diplomacy and the role different types of officers play in such complex and collective undertaking.


Working in the Multilateral Environment

This module introduces you to multilateral affairs and the myriad and diverse careers possible working within and around the multilateral ecosystem. We will cover the concepts and origins of the multilateralism, the range of multilateral actors (governmental and non-governmental), the current tensions within the system, and an insider’s understanding of the career possibilities in the multilateral environment. Emphasis will be on working and family life realities for those launching a career in multilateral affairs.


Intergovernmental Negotiations

This module introduces you to the world of intergovernmental negotiations, which is a key tool in diplomacy and the cornerstone of bilateral, regional, and global governance. This module is not a negotiating course per se but a primer for those interested in negotiations as a career or looking to enhance their current career as an intergovernmental negotiator. Emphasis will be on the real-world of negotiation.


International Development and International Project Management

International development is truly an interdisciplinary field. It explores the causes, effects, symptoms and linkages between the economy and economic growth, society and poverty, and the environment and sustainable development. It is seen as a cross-fertilization of the social sciences, economics, and political science. International development is especially concerned with the development of countries in the Global South (such as Brazil, India, Russia, Colombia and much of the African continent) and their relationship with countries in the Global North (such as Canada, the US, Japan, and much of the European Union). Various theories and debates have emerged to explain the relationship. But globalization and its impact on nations is front and centre to the debate as it is intricately linked to trends in international migration, international political economy, transnationalism, development aid, to name a few. Further, international development studies often use indicators for health, education, democracy, human rights, sustainability, and economic growth as measures of the overall health of nations with the aim of addressing problems of poverty, inequality, and oppression. The growing disparity between nations is a preoccupation for the international community. While globalization has helped to generate economic growth for countries such as India and China, previously considered to be part of the Global South, this growth is not benefiting everyone equally. Further, economic growth has come at the cost of unsustainable environmental practices. There has been a steady increase in the movement of international labour migrants from the Global South to the Global North in response to these economic and environmental pressures. Most international organizations are working collectively and independently to better understand the linkages and to put rules and norms in place to ensure that the global system that enables the growth of nations are more resilient, more beneficial for all, and more legitimate. This module will explore these issues in a brief yet deliberate manner as well as the key organizations that are working in the field of international development. The program is designed for individuals who are interested in learning more about or pursuing careers in international development. Therefore, it uses current affairs, practical case studies, and sometimes controversial issues to help explain the concepts. It is ideal for people looking to enhance their knowledge and understanding of global issues and trends in the international development of nations.

Timothy J. Hodges

Timothy Hodges is Professor of Practice in Global Governance at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID), where his work focuses on environmental global governance, and the negotiation and implementation of international sustainable development treaties by Indigenous Peoples, governments, and stakeholders. Professor Hodges is a former career Canadian diplomat, with a focus on multilateral negotiations in broad range of instruments – including, for example, United Nations (UN) General Assembly, World Trade Organization, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Stockholm Convention, Basel Convention, Cartagena Protocol, Nagoya Protocol, NAFTA, and the Arctic Council. Concurrently, he is Principal at Timothy J Hodges & Associates — an international consultancy providing confidential strategic advisory, negotiation and leadership services to governments, private non-profit organizations, industry, and Indigenous and local communities. Professor Hodges lectures widely on international treaty law negotiation at universities across Canada, Europe, and Asia. He served as Co-Chair, Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the United Nations treaty on Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge (i.e., the Nagoya Protocol). Professor Hodges is past President of Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO).

Claudette Russel

Claudette Russell has almost 10 years of experience working in the international development arena as an independent consultant for organizations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Youth Business International, the UNICEF Office of the Eastern Caribbean, the Commonweal Secretariat, USAID, and the Caribbean Development Bank. This international experience has primarily been in the fields of education reform, technical and vocational education, and youth development. She has also worked with these and other organizations to develop institutional and individual capacity to conduct research, undertake monitoring and evaluation, and to develop and cost strategic plans.

Her experience also includes over 30 years in the Public Service of Canada, including 10 years at the executive level covering a range of public policy issues that focus on lifelong learning, with special attention on providing policy advice on Indigenous K-12 and post-secondary education, youth development, and labour market development. She has briefed and prepared Ministers and senior officials for multilateral and bilateral meetings as well as G8 meetings and designed and participated in international study tours to Australia and the US. She was also involved in setting up the Youth Secretariat in the Privy Council Office of the Government of Canada, responsible for the Prime Ministers Youth Council.

Ms. Russell has a deep understanding of international development issues and has worked in cross-cultural environments with Indigenous peoples in Canada, across the Caribbean, and in parts of South America. She understands the challenges facing marginalized peoples and communities, and challenges working in multi-sectoral environments to effect change.

She is a seasoned communicator with exceptional oral and written communications skills which has enabled her to prepare a broad range of reports, policy papers, and discussion papers for a range of audiences, including Parliamentarians, policy researchers, community leaders, educators, and administrators in a domestic and international context. She is known for my ability to convey information in a concise, articulate, engaging, and accessible manner.

Ms. Russell has a Master of Arts in International Development, Master of Science in Statistics, and Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics. Currently, as the Owner of Russell and Associates she designs and brings together creative teams for international development consultancies.

Patrick Brennan

Mr. Patrick Brennan is currently serving as a Special Advisor to the President of Vancouver Island University and is the Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Professional Training Centre, where he applies decades of leadership experience in diplomacy, program and policy development, mentorship, and Indigenous affairs.

From 2014 to 2018, he served as the Executive Director for McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development, where he ran executive training programs, built strategic partnerships with key institutions including government departments, UN Agencies, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, and supported the Institute’s research programmes in collaboration with leading global think tanks, universities, foundations, NGO’s and the private sector.

Prior to McGill, Mr. Brennan served as the Manager of Multilateral Relations in the Intergovernmental and International Relations Directorate of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. During his time at the Department, Mr. Brennan assisted with Canada’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, initiated research for the examination of programming and policy approaches taken by other countries in the area of Aboriginal affairs, supported Canada’s work in the area of the Post 2015 United Nations Development Agenda, and contributed to Canada’s Strategy for Engagement in the Americas.

Mr. Brennan has also worked at the Department of Canadian Heritage on initiatives ranging from multiculturalism and citizen engagement to public service renewal and the establishment of a forum for the promotion and advancement of policy development within the department.

Prior to joining the Department of Canadian Heritage, he worked for six years at the Department of Foreign Affairs in support of international indigenous issues and was the Deputy Director of the Haiti Program at Foreign Affairs and assisted in writing Canada’s bilateral strategy for engagement in the country.

Mr. Brennan has also worked as a program specialist at both the United Nations World Food Programme and at the Canadian International Development Agency. He was posted with the United Nations in Haiti from 1997-1998.

Mr. Brennan holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal.

Diego F. Osorio

Diego currently serves as Manager, Policy Team, Centre for Rural Economic Development, Canada’s Ministry of Infrastructure. He was previously Senior Advisor of Climate Security at CGIAR Climate Security. Diego is a PhD Candidate (Utrecht U.) and former Canadian Diplomat with 23 years of public administration and international experience covering the UN, NATO, World Bank, Canadian diplomacy, and private sector ventures. Diego has worked globally on diplomatic/political and economic matters, climate change-conflict/adaptation policy, as well as institutional/social reconstruction, civil-military coordination, and humanitarian issues. He has deployed to Afghanistan, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Indonesia (Banda Aceh), Iraq, Central African Republic, Jordan, Kosovo, Liberia, Pakistan, and Timor Leste to name some of his multiple field missions. He previously served as Senior Peacekeeping Officer (2006) and as Senior Advisor on Mediation, Negotiation and Peace processes (2019) at Global Affairs Canada. He is also an Associate Fellow of both the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the Université de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. Diego has lectured in humanitarian action, governance design, the humanitarian-development nexus, reconciliation/mediation, conflict and climate change, post-conflict recovery, political economy, complexity/economic geography, and urban conflict at universities in Canada and abroad. He also works on co-creation and human design methodologies. Diego is also an Adjunct Professor, Master of Public Policy, at Adler University, Canada.

Who is IGS?

The Institute of Global Specialists (IGS) is a not-for-profit college located in St. John, New Brunswick (CAN). However, IGS students may complete their courses from anywhere in the world, provided they have access to a reliable internet connection.

How are the classes delivered?


Our programs are 100% online and are accessible by all mobile devices. Students will simply need access to a reliable internet connection to access their student account. Study materials are pre-recorded or readings, slides, so you get to schedule your own study time. As long as you are meeting the deadlines for your assignments, quizzes and discussions, you’re good to go. Final course exams are typically scheduled on the last weekend of the course.

Instructors are available via email for additional guidance regarding course materials, and IGS staff will assist with any technical questions. While some courses don’t have live classes, they are designed to accommodate live interactions in the form of virtual office hours, as needed.

When do the IGS programs start?


We have monthly start dates. In special circumstances, there might be an additional cohort with an earlier start date. Contact us for more details!

What are the entrance requirements? How do I apply?


A demonstrated ability in English and prior studies at a post-secondary level or relevant professional experience: submission of a resume. We may request further documentation.


To apply, click here.

  • Select your program of choice
  • Fill out the required information
  • Submit a copy of your resume
  • Pay the $175.00 (plus tax) Application Feenon-refundable


Once you have done this, a member of our admissions team will contact you within 24-48 hours to confirm your application has been received and discuss the next steps.

What is the Cost of the IGS programs? Is financial assistance available?


Each module for every program costs CAD$533+tax where applicable. Students can pay as they go (course-by-course).

A non-refundable CAD$175 (plus tax) application fee is also required.

Financing options for 18, 24 or 30 months are also available. CAD$533+tax initial payment is required before the start of the first module.

How long are the IGS programs?


The IGS programs have 6, 7, 8 or 9 modules; and each module is 4-5 weeks long.


  • Foreign Service and International Development Specialist program (FSIDS): 6 modules (24 weeks)
  • Global Immigration Specialist program (GIS): 6 modules (26 weeks)
  • Global Supply Chain Specialist program (GPS): 7 modules (26 weeks)
  • Canada Border Service Specialist program (CBSS): 7 modules (29 weeks)
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialist Program (AIML): 7 modules (28 weeks)
  • Global Education Specialist program (GES): 8 modules (39 weeks)
  • Canadian Immigration Law Specialist program (CIL): 9 modules (42 weeks)

Is career support available?


IGS students can join our free career placement module. This module is designed to support IGS students to transition seamlessly to a job, and understand the numerous pathways to various career opportunities. From writing their resume, cover letters, to tips on how to best navigate the job application process and handling a job interview, students will gain practical skills to help them succeed in their post-program endeavours. The module also focuses on helping IGS students develop engagement strategies, and identify networks and job opportunities with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Try the first Module for FREE
A demo has been made available to you so that you can get familiar with online learning at IGS.

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