The Internet has become central to public and private communication while contemporary tools, including social media, have brought millions into open, peer-to-peer conversation spaces. This provides enormous opportunities and challenges for states and international organisations as they seek to engage with new policy spaces developing around the Internet. E-diplomacy, for states and international organisations, requires a new set of skills, organisational changes, and innovative ways of approaching global policy.
Diplo provides solutions for two main aspects of e-diplomacy. First, Diplo offers complete support for conceptualising and deploying e-participation in international meetings. This includes strategic planning for remote hubs and workshops, guidelines for meeting organisers, integration of social media tools, and training of moderators.
Second, Diplo provides capacity development for the use of social media in diplomatic services and international organisations. It starts with an assessemnt of the specific organisational and communication needs and requirements of the organisation in question. The programme includes one-day intensive training in social media, followed by one-month intensive online coaching, and around one-year of ongoing assistance for the integration of social media. The summary of the programme is available here.
At the Internet Governance Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania, in September 2010, participants at the venue were joined by 33 local hubs (local meetings held worldwide in parallel), with hundreds more contributing worldwide through the smart integration of social media. For the first time, virtual participation approached the interactive status of those present in person, creating a unique policy space and vastly extending the forum’s reach. In September 2011, at the Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, the number of remote hubs increased to 42.
In 2011, Diplo ran a capacity development programme for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa in public and e-diplomacy. This comprehensive programme involved junior diplomats (online training), mid-ranking officials (face-to-face training), and high officials and parliamentarians (intensive executive training). Following the success of the pilot programme, a second capacity development programme for South Africa will be delivered in 2012.