If ever there was a time for governments to get their communications right, it is now. Governments everywhere are under scrutiny for what they say, how accurately they report facts, and what actions they are proposing. COVID-19 is spreading faster than press offices can get their messages out. Thanks to the Internet, the media and members of the public are posting stories which may not show governments in their best light. People need to know will they get sick, will they receive the treatments they need, and will they lose their jobs, their homes, their lives.
The coronavirus has been credited with catalysing a shift from a self-centred ‘I’ society to another-centred ‘we’ society. The focus on individual well-being and material wealth that has shaped many people’s identity and aspirations for the last half century or more has now turned into a concern for morality and the benefits of caring, sharing, and community building.
Digital tools havegarnered substantial interest in the context of teaching and training in diplomatic practice. Tools such as video conferences, small online courses, and massive open online courses are changing the landscape of what is possible in the field. Conversations on digital tools for teaching diplomacy are important in order to keep diplomatic teaching and training up to date, offer the best possible experience for participants, and reach those that might have been excluded previously.
When Greta Thunberg travelled by boat and train to attend the recent UN Climate Change Summit in 2019, she sent a wake-up call to diplomats and policymakers to search for innovative digital diplomacy tools, such as online conferencing, to reduce flying and thus, their carbon footprints.
Fortunately, the technology is available. There is a wide range of tools and platforms that can facilitate engaging meetings at an affordable cost.
No single global entity regulates the Internet. Digital policies are in constant flux as the spread of technology and culture have repercussions around the world. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has caused the rest of the world to re-strategise privacy protections.
In May we ran our new online course, ‘Artificial Intelligence: Technology, Governance, and Policy Frameworks’ for the first time. It was a fantastic experience to develop and deliver a course around such a timely topic. In this blog post, we want to share some of our experiences and lessons-learned.