Search form

DiploFoundation is a non-profit foundation established by the governments of Malta and Switzerland. Diplo works to increase the role of small and developing states, and to improve global governance and international policy development.

Diplo seeks to:

  • Increase the power of small and developing states to influence their own futures and development
  • Increase international accountability and inclusivity
  • Increase the legitimacy of international policy making
  • Improve global governance and international policy development

Diplo does this by:

  • Providing capacity development programmes in areas such as Internet governance and multilateral relations
  • Using and developing tools for e-participation in global governance, including remote participation in international meetings and social media for global negotiations
  • Training officials (including diplomats and others involved in international relations) from small and developing countries
  • Providing specialised and effective academic programmes for professional diplomats seeking cost-effective but high-quality training in both traditional and contemporary diplomacy topics
  • Strengthening participation of non-state actors - including those from academia and civil society - in international relations and policy processes

Diplo’s main activities are:

Capacity development. Diplo’s capacity development support begins with individuals, but through the activities of these individuals, our impact reaches into the larger systems of which they and their organisations are a part. Our approach includes online training, policy research, policy immersion, and the development of communities of practice, combined in various ways, as appropriate to each policy context.

Events. In order to deal with pressing issues in global governance, our events bring together people from different perspectives, including diplomats, business professionals, and members of civil society. We work to make our events more accessible through e-tools that support remote participation. Our events often evolve into training activities, publications, or online interaction.

Courses.  We offer postgraduate-level academic courses and training workshops on a variety of diplomacy-related topics for diplomats, civil servants, staff of international organisations and NGOs, and students of international relations. Combining a highly developed learning methodology with our unique online learning platform, our courses are flexible, personal, interactive, and community-building. Courses are delivered online, face-to-face, and in a blended format.

Research. We build on traditional policy research methods through Internet-based techniques including crowd-sourcing, trend analysis, and collaborative research. Topics include diplomacy, Internet governance, and online learning.

Publications. Our publications range from the examination of contemporary developments in diplomacy to new analyses of its traditional aspects. Many of our publications are available online as well as in print format and some have been translated into several languages. We also publish DiploNews, a biweekly e-mail newsletter distributed to a mailing list of over 5000 recipients.  

Diplo in the media. Access our archive of stories about Diplo

History and approach

In this interdependent world, diplomacy is no longer just the ethically superior choice to military solutions, but a necessity for solving complex governance issues.

For many, diplomacy is an elitist world of secrecy and black limousines. Traditionally, it has been the organised machinery for maintaining relations among societies. But we believe that it is more than this: diplomacy is a tool for solving conflicts in modern society through negotiation and compromise.

Diplomacy is more important today than ever before. In our interconnected and interdependent world, we cannot solve problems just by using force (consider Iraq and Afghanistan). Diplomacy is therefore not just an ethically superior choice; it is practically the only one left to us.

But diplomacy is undermined by a fundamental imbalance. Small and developing states are in a relatively weak position in the conduct of international policy processes; their limited resources mean that they do not have a large enough pool of professional, confident, competent international staff. As a result, small and developing states are not equally or effectively represented, so the total effect is diminished and lacks the creativity they would bring. Also, they may feel excluded and therefore reluctant to commit to processes that they perceive do not represent their interests and needs.

Diplo is addressing this problem by helping small and developing states build the capacity to engage effectively in international policy processes, negotiations, and diplomacy.

Origins

Diplo emerged from a project to introduce information and communication technology (ICT) tools to the practice of diplomacy, initiated in 1992 at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta. In November 2002, Diplo was established as an independent non-profit foundation by the governments of Malta and Switzerland.

Structure

Diplo has a small, flexible structure: 28 managerial, research, technical, and administrative employees and around 50 teaching staff, tutors, coordinators, and project-related consultants. We turn over a yearly budget of about €1.5 million.

You can download our latest Annual Reports for 2013, 2014 and 2015 (PDF format; Adobe Acrobat required) or read them online from our Annual Reports page.

Reach

In 2015, 504 participants from 127 countries around the world attended 25 Diplo online courses: 32% diplomats, 16% civil servants, 22% staff of international organisations, 15% representatives of business and civil society, and 6% from from academia. The female/male ratio was approximately 46:54. The table below summarises online course statistics for the last three years.

We consistently achieve good results in community building: at present in our Internet governance community more than 1600 community members participate in 46 active  discussion groups. Members of the Internet governance community network and build their own initiatives following common interests.

 

  2013 2014 2015
Number of online courses 28 28 25
Number of online course participants 496 581 504
Number of countries represented 132 118 127

 

Scroll to Top