Our November WebDebate focused on humanitarian diplomacy. As one of the ‘new diplomacies’, it does not only remind us of the importance of new actors, but also of the importance of conducting careful stakeholder analysis. The growth of technology, and especially social media, has definitely enhanced the ability of new actors to emerge and participate. What are the lessons we can draw from looking at humanitarian diplomacy and what is the impact of new actors and technology?
In 2006, as I was selected by my country to fulfil the role of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Republic of Indonesia, and I found myself searching for options to further my education in the diplomatic field, without having to suspend work. Serving in a non-English speaking country made it an extra challenge to use local libraries for furthering my education.
Disruption is today’s norm. International affairs are not exempt. Ability to handle disruption is needed in all professions. Disruption does not only come via technology, and can affect any area of activity. By its nature, it is unpredictable.
The 9th BRICS summit which took place from 3-5 September, in Xiamen, has once again stimulated a debate about whether the grouping has become a new dominant actor for global governance. Alongside the G7 (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States), which represents the most developed economies in the world, BRIC, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, is today able to have its name frequently mentioned as an alternative gathering of newly emerging and large-scale developing economies.
Is digital diplomacy a proper area of study or a set of tools used to extend traditional diplomatic communication? How can Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) fully harness the potential of digital diplomacy? Does digital diplomacy empower civil society and social movements to the extent that they become diplomatic actors in their own right? How do social media and digital diplomacy solve the overlap of stakeholders’ interests? How do we engage with different realities promoted by social media?
Data and statistics have been gaining increased attention at the global level. One of the main discussions right now surrounds the value and use of data. The Economist asserts that ‘the value of data is increasing,’ and that ‘data are to this century what oil was to the last one: a driver of growth and change’.
DiploFoundation’s September WebDebate asked whether we should take new diplomacies seriously. As moderator Dr Katharina Höne noted, with the term ‘new diplomacy’ gaining traction, it is important to debate and raise critical questions about it and its various forms. Sceptics often observe that new diplomacy simply marks the latest fashion trend in diplomatic practice, without being of much substance.