I started the year knowing that we were nearing another milestone. In November 2017, we celebrate 15 years of DiploFoundation, and 25 years of research and training in the fields of diplomacy and the Internet (at that time ICT). I couldn’t be prouder!
Diplo’s roots can be traced back to 1992 when we realised there was a need to merge ICT tools with diplomatic practice. Computers were quickly becoming important, and the world was changing fast. It meant that diplomacy also needed to adapt quickly to a new playing field.
In November 1992, with the help of the governments of Malta and Switzerland, the Unit for Computer Applications in Diplomacy was established at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies.
In November 2002, this Unit evolved into DiploFoundation, established by Malta and Switzerland, as a not-for-profit organisation.
Since then, Diplo has trained close to 6,000 participants from 208 countries and territories, in contemporary diplomacy, Internet governance and digital policy, humanitarian diplomacy, and many other areas.
Throughout this time, Diplo’s mission has always been clear: to increase the role of small and developing states in global diplomacy; to improve global governance and international policy development; and to assist all actors to deal with the fast-emerging policy field of Internet governance and digital policy.
We achieved our mission by training diplomats and practitioners, focusing on small and developing countries; by developing tools for e-participation in global governance; by offering post-graduate academic courses; and by publishing books and research on digital policy, e-diplomacy, online learning, e-participation, and more.
Fifteen years down the road, Diplo continues to look ahead. The need to adapt and innovate is more important than ever. The demand for training programmes and courses in subjects such as cybersecurity, digital commerce, and e-diplomacy demonstrate the necessity to remain current and relevant.
New courses and research on the impact of artificial intelligence, blockchains, and big data are about to be launched. In our agile approach to our work, we identify emerging issues and address them by using substantive research based on technology, law, economics, and political science. The key is to be on the cutting edge but not slide into the hype that new developments easily bring. This is part of Diplo’s success and will continue to be the driving force that fuels our determination to strive forward.
It is time to look ahead at the future of diplomacy by looking back at how we have dealt with innovation so far. It is time to celebrate the dedication of Diplo’s team, faculty, alumni, collaborators, and friends. It is time for the celebrations to begin!
Join us for the anniversary conference, The Future of Diplomacy, on 17-18 November in Malta. More details on the conference website: http://15years.diplomacy.edu