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In focus



Diplomacy is tasked to continuously adapt to an ever-changing world. And today’s world seems to increasingly evolve around data. Data is often perceived as an unstoppable force for innovation, a defining element of modern society, and even the ‘new oil’ of today’s economy. In this world, where data has moved from scarcity to abundance, the diplomat faces new challenges and opportunities.

New data could be used to better inform foreign policy, measure foreign and domestic sentiments, or to monitor quickly unfolding emergency situations. Data arises as a topic on the diplomatic agenda, from data sharing between countries to the protection of personal data across borders, and from the regulation of e-commerce data flows to the international standards related to data. Finally, with data becoming increasingly valuable, it might be shifting geopolitical power dynamics, placing significant leverage on those countries and actors that collect, store, and control data and its infrastructure.

This page describes DiploFoundation’s work on the topic of data diplomacy, examining data’s impact as a tool for diplomatic activities, as a topic for diplomatic discussions, and as a changing environment in which diplomacy is conducted. Get in touch with the Data Diplomacy team at data@diplomacy.edu, in case you have questions or suggestions, or would like to get involved, or subscribe to our Data Diplomacy mailing list.
 

Featured: New report on the potential of big data for diplomacy

Data diplomacy report coverDiploFoundation recently launched a new report on the potential of big data in diplomacy, called Data Diplomacy: Updating diplomacy to the big data era, commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. The report maps the main opportunities of big data in different areas of diplomacy, proposing ways for ministries of foreign affairs to capture its potential, and describes the key considerations to take into account for big data to flourish. Read the press release, the full report, or the executive summary.

 

Data diplomacy research project



Data science and big data have become commonly-heard concepts, yet very little is known about how, and to what extent diplomacy could adjust to the emerging data-driven era.

In 2017, DiploFoundation conducted a research project on data diplomacy, commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, which provided an overall analysis of the impact of big data on diplomacy and international affairs.

The data diplomacy project included policy research, data policy seminars, and other activities, organised with the aims of:

  1. Exploring the trends and best practices in data science that are of relevance for diplomacy and international affairs.
  2. Analysing the limitations and challenges related to the application of big data to diplomacy and international affairs.
  3. Fostering dialogue among data scientists and diplomatic communities.
  4. Raising awareness and understanding on the topic of data diplomacy among foreign affairs officials.

The research project culminated with the publication of Data diplomacy: Updating diplomacy to the big data era.

Data science and big data have become commonly-heard concepts, yet very little is known about how, and to what extent diplomacy could adjust to the emerging data-driven era.

In 2017, DiploFoundation conducted a research project on data diplomacy, commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, which provided an overall analysis of the impact of big data on diplomacy and international affairs.

The data diplomacy project included policy research, data policy seminars, and other activities, organised with the aims of:

  1. Exploring the trends and best practices in data science that are of relevance for diplomacy and international affairs.
  2. Analysing the limitations and challenges related to the application of big data to diplomacy and international affairs.
  3. Fostering dialogue among data scientists and diplomatic communities.
  4. Raising awareness and understanding on the topic of data diplomacy among foreign affairs officials.

The research project culminated with the publication of Data diplomacy: Updating diplomacy to the big data era.

Data and digital policy



In Geneva, the main operational hub of the United Nations and the international system, data appears in two major realms. First, data is a tool used to develop better policies on health, trade, migration, and climate, to name just a few relevant areas. Second, data is a topic of diplomatic negotiations addressing privacy, security, digital trade, and other important issues. In addition, Geneva hosts numerous events and discussions focusing on data from the technological, economic, and policy perspectives. To improve understanding of this quickly evolving issue, the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) is organising a series of activities and events focusing on how data is shaping our digital future.

Data Talks

The GIP organises regular meetings that converge actors in International Geneva who are concerned with the potential, as well as the risks, related to data management in international affairs. The meetings address issues such as cloud computing, data protection, open data, data immunities, and data for monitoring the sustainable development goals (SDGs). By sharing best practices and experiences, the meetings aim to share lessons learned across silos and institutions. The outcomes of the first four Data Talks discussions are captured in the short publication, Data and International Organisations: Navigating cross-sectoral data challenges, which maps the main challenges and best practices of data-related issues.


Data and Internet governance

Data is the topic of many global and regional discussions. The GIP Digital Watch observatory provides event reports, research, and the latest updates on policy-making around (big) data, including developments in privacy, security, standards, infrastructure, jurisdiction, and e-commerce. At the 2017 Internet Governance Forum, the GIP coordinated a data track, consisting of seven data-related open forums, organised by international organisations.

 

Find out more about the Geneva Internet Platform’s Data Governance project.

In Geneva, the main operational hub of the United Nations and the international system, data appears in two major realms. First, data is a tool used to develop better policies on health, trade, migration, and climate, to name just a few relevant areas. Second, data is a topic of diplomatic negotiations addressing privacy, security, digital trade, and other important issues. In addition, Geneva hosts numerous events and discussions focusing on data from the technological, economic, and policy perspectives. To improve understanding of this quickly evolving issue, the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) is organising a series of activities and events focusing on how data is shaping our digital future.

Data Talks

The GIP organises regular meetings that converge actors in International Geneva who are concerned with the potential, as well as the risks, related to data management in international affairs. The meetings address issues such as cloud computing, data protection, open data, data immunities, and data for monitoring the sustainable development goals (SDGs). By sharing best practices and experiences, the meetings aim to share lessons learned across silos and institutions. The outcomes of the first four Data Talks discussions are captured in the short publication, Data and International Organisations: Navigating cross-sectoral data challenges, which maps the main challenges and best practices of data-related issues.


Data and Internet governance

Data is the topic of many global and regional discussions. The GIP Digital Watch observatory provides event reports, research, and the latest updates on policy-making around (big) data, including developments in privacy, security, standards, infrastructure, jurisdiction, and e-commerce. At the 2017 Internet Governance Forum, the GIP coordinated a data track, consisting of seven data-related open forums, organised by international organisations.

 

Find out more about the Geneva Internet Platform’s Data Governance project.

Data diplomacy and capacity development



While data is becoming an increasingly important tool for diplomats and other actors in international affairs, as well as a growing topic on diplomatic agendas, diplomats and officials are not often well-equipped to effectively understand the various dimensions of data diplomacy. Yet, in order to maximise the potential of data in diplomacy and international affairs, it is important for policy makers, diplomats, aid workers, and other relevant actors to understand the basic principles of the possibilities, limitations, challenges, and management of (big) data in their respective policy areas.

Without turning diplomats into data scientists, DiploFoundation is exploring the basic understanding of data that is necessary for diplomats to manage data projects and simple tools, and to follow and engage in diplomatic negotiations on the topic of data.

In May 2018, DiploFoundation will launch a course on data diplomacy for the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, DiploFoundation has integrated insights of its data diplomacy research in various capacity-building activities, including the upcoming online course in E-diplomacy (next starting date: 7 May 2018).

While data is becoming an increasingly important tool for diplomats and other actors in international affairs, as well as a growing topic on diplomatic agendas, diplomats and officials are not often well-equipped to effectively understand the various dimensions of data diplomacy. Yet, in order to maximise the potential of data in diplomacy and international affairs, it is important for policy makers, diplomats, aid workers, and other relevant actors to understand the basic principles of the possibilities, limitations, challenges, and management of (big) data in their respective policy areas.

Without turning diplomats into data scientists, DiploFoundation is exploring the basic understanding of data that is necessary for diplomats to manage data projects and simple tools, and to follow and engage in diplomatic negotiations on the topic of data.

In May 2018, DiploFoundation will launch a course on data diplomacy for the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, DiploFoundation has integrated insights of its data diplomacy research in various capacity-building activities, including the upcoming online course in E-diplomacy (next starting date: 7 May 2018).

Data diplomacy resources



Training



E-Diplomacy

Start Date: 6 May 2019

Master in Contemporary Diplomacy

Start Date: 4 Feb 2019

Internet Technology and Policy

Start Date: 23 Jul 2018

What's next?



Join us for the various events related to data diplomacy, and get in touch with us:

Join us for the various events related to data diplomacy, and get in touch with us:

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