Join us in our next journey through the history of diplomacy and technology. In June, we will look at Renaissance diplomacy, and the impact the invention of the printing press had on diplomacy during the Reformation.
Renaissance diplomacy developed between Italian city-states. Relations between these states were influenced by three key elements: no hegemonic power, a strong interest in cooperating, and solving problems through peaceful means. Like the Byzantine Empire, the Italian city-states preferred to use diplomacy as a way of solving disputes. Italian city-states – in particular Venice – also borrowed certain diplomatic techniques from the Byzantines, such as deception, bribery, and espionage. These later became the trademark of Renaissance diplomacy.
During the Renaissance, the first full diplomatic system was established. It consisted of permanent diplomatic missions, diplomatic reporting, and diplomatic privileges. In diplomatic history, it has been widely accepted that the first permanent diplomatic mission was established in 1455, representing the Duke of Milan in Genoa.
Another important development, linked mainly to the Reformation, was the invention of the printing press. This invention had a considerable impact on all functions of society, including diplomacy. The Church’s dominance through parchment-based writing was challenged, and its participation in diplomacy gradually weakened. Clergymen no longer held a monopoly in literacy and were no longer an indispensable part of each diplomatic mission.
During this period of slow and undeveloped transportation and communications, diplomats were among the few who had the privilege of travelling to remote places in search of news. They played an important role in transferring and spreading knowledge and information.
To find out more, join us for the next Masterclass episode ‘Renaissance diplomacy: Compromise as a solution to conflict’, on Thursday, June 24th, at 14:00 CEST.
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).