Countries stepping up their cyber offensive capabilities, data governance debates intensifying, and the calls for modernisation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) continuing were among main digital policy developments in September 2018.
In our September WebDebate, we looked at space diplomacy. While space diplomacy is a hotly debated issue of geopolitical dimensions, it also reminds us of the need for multilateral efforts and pooling resources together in the interest of achieving a larger goal, while offering opportunities to foster better collaboration between scientists and diplomats under the various guises of science diplomacy.
In our July WebDebate, we looked at what new skills are needed for mediators to operate in a conflict environment impacted by the spread of new technologies, what new tools have become available in this context, and how mediators can concretely benefit from these skills and tools.
Our June WebDebate tackled the topic of Algorithmic diplomacy. Three issues in this field were discussed in the debate: algorithmic diplomacy in the context of geopolitical analysis and public diplomacy, impact of algorithms on human rights and the question of filter bubbles and online echo chambers that seem to be generated by algorithms.
In our May WebDebate, we looked at the potential of teaching and learning negotiation skills online. Joining us to to consider this possibility were Ambassador Kishan S. Rana, professor emeritus and DiploFoundation senior fellow; Ambassador Stefano Baldi, Ambassador of Italy to Bulgaria; and Dr Katharina Höne, research associate in diplomacy and global governance at DiploFoundation.
The overarching question of the WebDebate in March was: how can African states navigate multilateral diplomacy successfully?
Addressing this formidable question were Amb. Amr Aljowaily, Egypt’s ambassador to Serbia, and Dr Yolanda Kemp Spies, a senior research fellow at the University of Johannesburg's Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. The debate was moderated by Dr Katharina Höne, research associate in diplomacy and global governance at DiploFoundation.
We leave digital footprints everywhere. Modern society is marked by data which is continuously generated through various devices and in numerous ways – such as through social media, Internet browsing, and through satellite images, among others. This is why some call this the Big Data Era. While big data has become a topic for the private sector, promising greater efficiency and new business insights, it remains unclear what the potential of big data is for diplomacy.
In our December WebDebate, we focused on digital diplomacy. We discussed the following questions: how have ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) adopted social media as part of their public diplomacy efforts? Is digital diplomacy more than simply being on Twitter or Facebook? Should diplomats even be on Twitter or Facebook, or is it time to abandon these as outdated fashion trends? We also explored how digital diplomacy can empower new actors and how they interact with more traditional diplomatic players.
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.