Almost 50 years ago (7 October 1963), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) organized the first e-participation session in multilateral diplomacy. The ITU “walked the talk” by opening the first conference on satellite communication with  a satellite-facilitated address by the UN Secretary General U Thant.  It was an exciting occasion, raising a lot of optimism as U Thant said: ‘We in the United Nations also have an interest in the development of global communication facilities as we will have at our disposal new and efficient means of communication with our Member Governments all over the world.’ 

What today can be facilitated by Skype for a marginal cost, back in 1963 required a complex technical exercise involving several telecomm companies.  What can we expect in another 50 years? Will the modus operandi of diplomacy change? Any takers for a crystal ball exercise

 

Note: Special thanks to Anders Norsker, the Chief of the ITU’s Information Services Department who dug this article out from the ITU library.

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