In January 2021, we held the first session of our new monthly Zoom series titled Diplomacy and Technology: A historical journey, a masterclass with Dr Jovan Kurbalija, where we discuss the evolution and interplay of diplomacy and technology.
In the January introductory session, Kurbalija drew a map of our historical journey and explained the three questions we will be answering during the series:
In November 2020, Switzerland introduced its Digital Foreign Policy Strategy, marking a new phase in its efforts to shape the governance of digital issues. For decades, Switzerland has been at the forefront of international digital developments.
Last year, the United Nations General Assembly met mostly virtually throughout the High-Level Segment for the first time in its history. This exploration of a new spatial dimension for the United Nations is a reflection of the potential and challenges of our time today. It is also further proof of how interlinked the modern world has become. No country is immune from the effect of cross-border infectious diseases, and no country is out of reach of the powerful information and communication technologies.
The pivoting argument in the article ‘Reading the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] Clearly’ by Perry Link (The New York Review of Books, 11 February 2021 issue)on US policy toward China is the topos of appeasement vs disagreement or resistance. I quote the analogy: ‘Why are the lessons the West has learned opposing dictators like Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin so difficult to apply to China?'
Is the analogy appropriate? Let’s have a closer look:
DiploFoundation works on capacity development in the fields of diplomacy, Internet governance, and digital co-operation. Established in 2002 by the governments of Malta and Switzerland, Diplo, among other initiatives, works to improve the role of small and developing states in global diplomacy by:
The Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) aims to provide simple and evidence-based access to and analysis of the complex fields of Internet governance and digital policy. The GIP’s particular focus is on building the capacity of diplomatic missions, international organisations, companies, and civil society to follow digital developments in Geneva, serving as a digital hub.
This year has posed a tremendous challenge to diplomats. The impact of COVID-19 is felt in almost all areas of international relations. At the same time, there are various challenges to the conduct of diplomacy and how diplomats work. Particularly, in light of lockdowns and social distancing, diplomats had to change the way they worked. For example, how can negotiations be pursued and furthered in times of social distancing? For diplomats from small and developing countries, some of these challenges were exasperated, and additional challenges arose.
Precise agriculture, monitoring water use, remote medicine – these are just some of the developments enabled due to the expanding use of Internet of things (IoT) devices. There is no doubt that IoT devices can improve our lives. At the same time, however, the growing use of IoT devices raises security, privacy, and trust concerns, as well as the need for establishing privacy and security standards for IoT devices.