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E-diplomacy – the new normal

Published on 15 November 2012
Updated on 05 April 2024

Diplo Foundation is organising an e-diplomacy day in Geneva on Friday 16th, one of a series that in Diplo we have been organising for the past two years. And, rather like a leader in a marathon suddenly noticing other runners appear at her side, all at once there seem to be eDiplomacy days somewhere every week (see below).  I am presenting in Geneva on the 16th, talking about core e-competencies for Diplomats (the 5cs: Curate, Critique, Collaborate, Create, Communicate) but, as ever, I am more interested in what I can learn from the experienced diplomats at the session.

We’ll also be discussing online training in diplomacy, a more complex area than is commonly recognised. It’s very much in the news these days, with the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) movement gathering pace, as we’ve discussed here recently. But our experience over 10 years, as a pioneer in online learning for diplomats has taught us a lot about what makes it work and how difficult it can be to engage and instruct at a distance, online. 

We have a High Level Panel on e-diplomacy at 1300. This will be presented very much from the perspective of diplomats. Ambassador Fasel will present the unique Swiss experience in developing an online platform for coordination of multilateral initiatives. Richard Boly, director of eDiplomacy at the State Department, will provide the summary of the US experience in developing the most advanced e-diplomacy project globally. Anders Norsker will present ITU’s activities in remote participation, novelty in multilateral diplomacy. For background reading a lot of e-diplomacy material is covered in our blogs, and in the Topics in Focus section.

After lunch three of the presenters will be available to explore more deeply topics introduced during the presentations. In addition, a  fourth group will discuss diplomatic immunities in the Internet era (e.g. protection of digital archives, protection of diplomatic communication)

Later in the afternoon we will discuss how diplomats address the Internet as a new topic on the diplomatic agenda. Paul Charlton (First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN) (tbc), Peter Major (Special Advisor, Permanent Mission of Hungary to the UN) and Gustav Lindstrom (GCSP) will share their experience in covering increasingly complex Internet governance processes. The last hour will be an open floor discussions: ” Everything You Always Wanted to Know About E-diplomacy, But Were Afraid to Ask”. 

For those who are both afraid to ask and afraid of the Internet there’s some food for thought from one of the most recent e-ediplomacy days, organised by the European Parliament in London. There was a particularly good session from Storyful on verification strategies for reviewing material on the web. They’ve written two good blog posts on the issue, here and here. There’s a nice summary blog here of the day while all the sessions were recorded and available from the EUP site. There was also another e-diplomacy (digitaldiplomacy) day in Brussels on the 13th November, which included an interesting presentation by Debora Serracchiani, the Italian S&D MEP, who is the most followed Deputy on Twitter!. Fascinating to think that only five years ago even those terms would have made no sense to diplomats or anybody else! 

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