Our September WebDebate will focus on questions surrounding the so-called ‘new diplomacies’. Terms such as digital diplomacy, health diplomacy, environmental diplomacy, and education diplomacy, among others, highlight new diplomatic practices – using new tools, involving new actors, and demanding a more specialised skill-set. As these ‘new diplomacies’ seem to gain traction, it is important to engage once more in a debate about the value of ‘new diplomacy’ in its various forms.
Terms such as digital diplomacy, health diplomacy, environmental diplomacy, and education diplomacy, among others, highlight new diplomatic practices – using new tools, involving new actors, and demanding a more specialised skill-set. As these ‘new diplomacies’ seem to gain traction, it is important to engage once more in a debate about the value of ‘new diplomacy’ in its various forms.
According to some, the term describes the involvement of new actors and the emergence of new topics on the global agenda. They argue that the term captures important shifts in the ways in which international relations are conducted.
Yet, we have seen proclamations of ‘new diplomacy’ before – in the context of internationalist ideas and suggestions towards parliamentary-style diplomacy in the early 20th century. Sceptics observe that the term simply marks the latest fashion trend in diplomatic practise without being of much substance.
In ‘Stop Inventing “New Diplomacies’, Mr Shaun Riordan raised some important questions that those proclaiming a new diplomacy need to answer. He argued that ‘we must end the obsession with creating new “types” of diplomacy. It was probably a mistake “inventing” public diplomacy and digital diplomacy. It undoubtedly led both scholars and practitioners into unhelpful, and potentially harmful, cul-de-sacs.’
Based on that, the debate with Diplo's director Dr Jovan Kurbalija and Mr Shaun Riordan will address the call to stop inventing new diplomacies and the danger of the proliferation and overstretching of the term. It, however, will also highlight important shifts in diplomatic practice that need to be captured by adequate conceptual tools.
Join us on Tuesday, 5 September, at 11:00 UTC (13:00 CEST).
Mr Shaun Riordan is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Clingendael Institute. A former British diplomat, he is an independent geopolitical consultant. His current research focuses on innovation in diplomacy, business diplomacy, and strategic approaches to digital and cyber diplomacy.
Dr Jovan Kurbalija is the founding director of DiploFoundation and the head of the Geneva Internet Platform. A former diplomat, he has a professional and academic background in international law, diplomacy, and information technology.
About our WebDebates
The WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by DiploFoundation within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our series of WebDebates.
If you form part of a dynamic circle of practitioners in your community, we encourage you to establish a diplomatic hub to follow the WebDebates and to facilitate discussions. For more information, contact Ms Mina Mudric, DiploFoundation.