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Diplomatic Capacity Index

Tracking Global Investments in Diplomacy

Carla Freeman and Mark White

The Diplomatic Capacity Index (DCI) measures the diplomatic resources that countries can draw on to exercise influence on the global stage across four Classes of Diplomatic Activity (diplomatic infrastructure, diplomatic access, leverage-able advantages for diplomacy, and standing as a background for diplomacy) and three Spheres of Diplomacy (political sphere, economic sphere, and security sphere).

By tracking the contents of the diplomat’s toolbox, the Diplomatic Capacity Index offers policymakers and analysts a new baseline for assessing countries’ diplomacy and foreign relations with a particular focus on the potential for future diplomatic activities.  Through the DCI, comparisons of national diplomatic capacity with other widely used measures of national capability such military power or economic power are possible for the first time.

The Diplomatic Capacity Index comprises over 80 indicators and incorporates three years of data for 30 initial countries.  In the future, the DCI team plans to produce a full annual index for over 190 countries incorporating rankings, numerical and graphical analysis, and case studies.  An annual report will provide detailed analysis by the Classes of Diplomatic Capacity and the Spheres of Diplomacy as well as for the overall DCI.  The information and analysis will also be available via a public website.


  • For a further overview of the DCI click HERE

  • For a visual representation of the DCI project click HERE


  • Find the 2020 SAIS Review article on the DCI HERE

  • Find the 2022 SAIS Review article on the DCI HERE

Cinnamon Dornsife

Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Institute, SAIS


Carla Freeman

Co-Director of the Diplomatic Capacity Index Project

Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute, SAIS


Mark White

Co-director of the Diplomatic Capacity Index Project

Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute, SAIS


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