Digital issues shape our future and the future of each country; they are no longer niche issues. Key conversations on the governance of digital issues take place at the international level, with profound geopolitical implications.
Issues which were considered ‘techie’ subjects, or deemed futuristic, are now part of the diplomatic reality. Artificial intelligence, cyber-attacks, fake news, and e-commerce are negotiated at the United Nations, and at regional and bilateral fora worldwide. In developing their digital/cyber/tech diplomacies, countries face many challenges and open issues, including:
How to adjust foreign policy to the emerging digital geopolitics and geo-economics
How to integrate digital, cyber, and tech policy aspects into the existing structure, or develop new diplomatic structures
How to develop representation in tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, Shenzhen, and Bangalore
How to ensure diplomatic coherence across security, economic, human rights, technical, and other aspects of digital foreign policy
How to engage the tech industry, engineers, civil society, academia, and other non-state actors in decision-making on tech priorities and international negotiations
How to train diplomats and other officials with the skills and knowledge to deal with digital issues
How to ensure effective participation in the digital negotiations of small and developing countries, and other countries with limited human, organisational, and financial resources
How to participate in digital processes in International Geneva where more than 50% of global digital policy issues are addressed (trade, human rights, standards, security)
Countries have started developing new approaches to digital diplomacy challenges. Denmark’s tech ambassador is focusing on relations with the tech industry in Silicon Valley; Switzerland has a decentralised digital diplomacy approach across government departments and scientific networks; and, the delegations of the EU and Canada in Geneva have appointed diplomats who focus exclusively on digital aspects of multilateral affairs. These approaches and other examples will enrich our discussion on how to conduct diplomacy in the digital age.
The conference contributes to the implementation of the recommendations of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation which identified lack of diplomatic capacities as one of the obstacles for informed, inclusive, and impactful global digital co-operation.
The conference will take place on Wednesday, 18th September 2019, at DiploFoundation, WMO/OMM building, 7bis, Avenue de la Paix, Geneva. All times are in CEST.
08.45 - 09.15
Welcome coffee and registrations
09.15 - 09.30
Setting the stage
Dr Jovan Kurbalija (Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform)
Amb. Valentin Zellweger (Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva)
09.30 - 10.30
Emerging models of digital and tech diplomacy Moderated by Dr Katharina Höne (Senior Lecturer, DiploFoundation)
Amb. Henri Verdier (Ambassador for Digital Affairs of France)
Amb. Thomas Schneider (Head of International Relations, Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM))
Ms Anne-Rachel Inné (Executive Director, Government Affairs and Public Policy, American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN))
10.30 - 11.00
11.00 - 12.00
How countries interact with the tech industry and innovation hubs Moderated by Mr Vladimir Radunović(Director of Cybersecurity Programmes, DiploFoundation)
Mr Martin Rauchbauer (Consul and Co-Director, Open Austria (San Francisco))
Mr Jean Yves Art (Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships, Microsoft )
Mr Christian Simm (Consul and CEO, swissnex Boston)
Mr Danko Jevtović (Member of the Board of Directors, ICANN)
12.00 - 13.00
From the trenches of digital diplomacy in Geneva - how to cover complex trade, human rights, security, health, telecommunication digital policy processes Moderated by Dr Jovan Kurbalija (Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform)
Amb. Janis Karklins (Permanent Representative of Latvia to the UN in Geneva)
Ms Chrystiane Roy (First Secretary, Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs, Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN and WTO in Geneva)
Ms Katarzyna Gorgol (Adviser, Digital Affairs and Telecommunication, Delegation of the EU to the UN in Geneva)
Mr Jivan Gjorgjinski (2019 Chair of the UN CCW GGE on LAWS [Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems])
13.00 - 14.00
14.00 - 15.00
World café: Key challenges for diplomatic practice in the digital age, and how to solve them
(Parallel sessions: Select two sessions. Participate in the first; rotate after 30 minutes to another session)
Session 1: How can small and developing countries keep abreast of digital policy developments?
Led by Mr Vladimir Radunović (Director of Cybersecurity Programmes, DiploFoundation)
Session 2: What is the impact of big data and artificial intelligence on diplomacy?
Led by Dr Katharina Höne (Senior Lecturer, DiploFoundation)
Session 3: What are the skills and knowledge that are needed for digital diplomacy?
Led by Dr Jovan Kurbalija (Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform)
15.00 - 15.30
Concluding discussion: A Geneva agenda for Digital (and) Diplomacy
Version: 17 September 2019
Since the conference tackles the organisation and running of digital foreign policy, it is of particular relevance for diplomats and public officials involved in digital diplomacy, as well as business people and academics, and other professionals involved in the field. Kindly note that the conference will not tackle the use of social media or related public diplomacy issues.
You are invited to express your interest in attending the conference by completing the application form. Places are limited; registration confirmations will be sent within 3 working days. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and expenses.
*The event is at its full capacity therefore registrations are now closed
Dr Katharina (Kat) E Höne researches, writes, and teaches on a number of issues in the area of diplomacy, global governance, and the impact of technology on international relations. Over the last years, she has focused on research at the intersection of diplomacy and technology. She was part of a research project on Data Diplomacy: Updating diplomacy to the big data eraand the lead researcher and author of Mapping the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence for the conduct of diplomacy report, both supported by the Ministry for Foreign of Affairs of Finland. In addition, she has more than 10 years of experience in teaching international relations at universities in the UK and Germany, and in delivering in-situ, blended, and online training to diplomatic practitioners. Kat holds an MA in Diplomatic Studies (University of Leicester, UK) and a PhD in International Politics (University of Aberystwyth, UK). In her work, she is driven by her aim to level the playing field at international negotiation tables through capacity development, and to provide out-of-the-box thinking and inspiration by drawing on her passion for science-fiction.
Originally from the Czech Republic, Dr Tereza Horejsova is currently based in Washington DC. Joining Diplo in 2012, Tereza has had an international career in academia and the non-governmental sector in the Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland. During her stay in Geneva (2012‒2016), she coordinated the activities of the Geneva Internet Platform. She holds an MA in International Area Studies and a PhD in European Studies, both from the Charles University in Prague.
Executive Director Government Affairs and Public Policy, ARIN
Ms Anne-Rachel Inné Executive Director Government Affairs and Public Policy, ARIN
As Executive Director Government Affairs and Public Policy, Ms Anne-Rachel Inné serves as the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)’s primary link to governments of US, Canada and 26 Caribbean economies. Immediately prior to working for ARIN, Anne-Rachel was ICANN’s Vice President Government Engagement in Geneva, Switzerland. She also worked as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the Africa Regional Registry, AFRINIC, taking care of operations and governments’ engagement in the Registry’s public policies process. Anne-Rachel worked at the IICD in The Hague, Netherlands (1998-2001) as several countries Programme Manager directing multi sector social development projects that were early adopters of ICT/Internet. She produced and publicised Learning by Doing: Lessons Emerging from the ICT Stories Projects for the benefit of the projects and the wider community. She was a member of the Bureau of the African Group at WSIS as a representative of the African Private Sector and a Member of the Gender Coalition during WSIS. Anne-Rachel was an entrepreneur and consultant in the ICT4D sector and a founding member of the African Enterprise Network (AEN) in 1997. Anne-Rachel is featured as ICT Expert in the ILO/IOM book for the AUC: African Women at the Service of the Union. She is the recipient of several awards for her demonstrated immense commitment and continued engagement with African communities. Anne-Rachel currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Diplo US.
Dr Jovan Kurbalija is the Executive Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP). He was a member of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance (2004‒2005), special advisor to the Chairman of the UN Internet Governance Forum (2006‒2010), and a member of the High Level Multistakeholder Committee for NETmundial (2013‒2014). In 2018-2019, he served as co-Executive Director of the Secretariat of the United Nations (UN) High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
A former diplomat, Jovan has a professional and academic background in international law, diplomacy, and information technology. He has been a pioneer in the field of cyber diplomacy since 1992 when he established the Unit for Information Technology and Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta, and later, DiploFoundation.
Since 1997, Jovan’s research and articles on cyber diplomacy have shaped research and policy discussion on the impact of the Internet on diplomacy and international relations. His book, An Introduction to Internet Governance, has been translated into 9 languages and is used as a textbook for academic courses worldwide. He lectures on e-diplomacy and Internet governance in academic and training institutions in many countries, including Austria (Diplomatic Academy of Vienna), Belgium (College of Europe), Switzerland (University of St Gallen), Malta (University of Malta), and the United States (University of Southern California).
Mr Vladimir Radunović Cybersecurity and E-diplomacy Programmes Director
Serbian-born Mr Vladimir (Vlada) Radunović is a lecturer in cybersecurity policy, Internet governance, and e-diplomacy on postgraduate and professional courses. He also serves as an expert with the Geneva Internet Platform. He served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) from 2016 to 2020, and a member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) from 2012 to 2014. Vlada has been a lecturer, speaker, and resource person on a number of educational and training programmes and events worldwide, including within the WSIS and IGF processes. His professional and research focus is on Internet governance, broadband policy and net neutrality, cybersecurity and cyber-diplomacy, e-diplomacy, and capacity development. He holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade and a Master’s in Contemporary Diplomacy from the University of Malta. He is currently working on his PhD in cybersecurity. Vlada is currently member of the Board of Directors of Diplo US.