City Diplomacy

Do cities need foreign policies?

City Diplomacy investigates the capacity of cities to engage in international relations. If cities are now more connected than ever before on a global scale, local governments are not just spectators of this networked age. Cities are actively forging links across borders, taking part in setting the international agenda, and shifting the landscape of urban politics from local to increasingly global. City diplomacy is and must become a strategic activity for cities worldwide if they are to remain relevant in the new global order.

To get a more systematic look at the capacity of local governments around the world, the Centre, in collaboration with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, is exploring city diplomacy strategies, structures, expertise, and possibilities in an increasingly ‘urban’ age.

Project team

Project partners


Pejic, D., Acuto, M., and Kosovac, A. 2022. ‘City Diplomacy During COVID-19: The 2022 Cities and International Engagement Survey.’ Melbourne Centre for Cities; Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Pejic, D., & Acuto, M. (2022). City diplomacy back home: Central–local tensions in a time of global urban governance. Journal of International Affairs, 74(1).

Acuto, M. Kosovac, A. & Hartley, K. (2021). City Diplomacy: Another Generational Shift?, Diplomatica, vol.3, no.1, pp. 137-146.

Kosovac, A. Hartley. K, Acuto, M. & Gunning, D. (2021). City Leaders Go Abroad: A Survey of City Diplomacy in 47 Cities, Urban Policy and Research, vol.39, no.2, pp. 127-142.

Kosovac, A & Pejic, D (2021). What’s next? New forms of city diplomacy and emerging global urban governance, Cities on Global Governance, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, February 2021.

Pejic, D. (2020). Cities and International Relations. In Oxford Bibliographies in International Relations, Oxford: Oxford University Press.