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By on 30 May, 2013 | From the channel/s: Diplomacy

Why do we succeed in some activities, and fail in others? This question was on my mind during the signing by Malta, Mexico and Switzerland of the extension of the MoU on online diplomatic training. The MoU provides the formal framework for the very successful cooperation between Diplo and the Instituto Matías Romero (the Mexican diplomatic academy).

By on 29 Apr, 2013 | From the channel/s: E-Diplomacy

Today, the word ‘byzantine’ is used to describe devious actions: intrigue, plotting, and bribing. [1] Historical records show that Byzantine politics were morally neither worse nor better than politics in previous or later years. The problem with the dominant negative stereotypes of the Byzantine era is that it hides the rich contribution of the Byzantine Empire to the evolution of humanity. Let us list some of those contributions and achievements…

By on 20 Apr, 2013 | From the channel/s: Diplo Blog

Last Wednesday (17 April 2013) we discussed the key dilemmas of online learning. This lively event involved more than 70 people and 3 panels with 2 panellists debating the following questions:

By on 04 Apr, 2013 | From the channel/s: Diplomacy

When we hear the term 'green economy', the first thing that often springs to mind is the environment - we tend to associate being 'green' with being environmentally friendly. We think of carbon emissions, protection of rainforests, our dependency on fossil fuels, our efforts to produce an energy balance that will lead to more sustainable living. Colloquially, we see 'the greens' as those people who put the environment first. Yet the environment isn't just green. It's not just plants and trees.

By on 29 Mar, 2013 | From the channel/s: E-Diplomacy

In short, full transparency and openness is not an optimal environment for successful diplomacy aimed at solving complex problems through convergence and compromise.

Let me develop the argument:

Ancient Greece is often called the cradle of modern civilization. Greek philosophy is as valid today as it was more than 20 centuries ago, in its attempts to explain our existence. Theatre, geometry, and astronomy, to name a few subjects, originated in ancient Greece.

By on 17 Mar, 2013 | From the channel/s: E-Diplomacy

How to make diplomacy more inclusive and effective is a recurring theme in the history of diplomacy.[1] Aldo Matteuci explains in his blog how even the powerful Catholic Church had to find ways to accommodate the various secular interests at the Council of Trent. Although only bishops sat around the negotiating table, other ‘stakeholders’, including Martin Luther, were very present, indirectly, in negotiations.

By on 16 Mar, 2013 | From the channel/s: Diplomacy

It is fascinating to see how Russia entered the heart of Europe as a consequence of the Napoleonic defeat, was thrown out again after the Revoluation and the end of World War I, came back in as a consequence of German defeat in World War II, and threw themselves out again after the downfall of communism.

By on 24 Feb, 2013 | From the channel/s: E-Diplomacy

This blog was inspired by lively debate during the February advanced diplomatic webinar on the evolution of technology and diplomacy. We discussed the impact of technology on the way we think and formulate ideas. In the latest evolution from typewriters to computers, we gained flexibility in editing text and lost the discipline of formulating ideas into text.

By on 20 Feb, 2013 | From the channel/s: E-Diplomacy

Two developments last week triggered the following reflection.

First, I decided to go for a half-holiday. I decided to spend half of my day with my daughter and her cousin skiing at the local ski centre outside Geneva and to spend the rest of the day working online.  In the morning, we would make the half-hour drive to the ski centre and return in the afternoon when I would take the other – working – part of my ‘holiday’. The plan worked very well on Monday. Half and half.

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