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17 June 2022

A brief history of Diplo

Diplo’s roots date back to October 1992 when Jovan Kurbalija established the Unit for Computer Applications at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta.
 After a few iterations, this unit became DiploFoundation on 20 November 2002.

This year, we celebrate 20 years of Diplo, as well as 30 years of research and education on the impact of digitalisation on diplomacy. Join us on the journey through the evolution of digital diplomacy, and Diplo!

Diplo - how it all started
  • 01
    Thursday October, 1992
    Furniture, Table, Blazer, Clothing, Coat, Jacket, Desk, Computer, Electronics, Computer Hardware, Hardware, Face, Head, Person, Photography, Portrait, Adult, Male, Man, Formal Wear, Screen, Monitor, Suit, Accessories, Tie, Pc, Computer Keyboard, Glasses

     - Journey starts…

    On the 1st of October 1992, Jovan Kurbalija established the Unit for Computer Applications in Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta. The Unit was established with the help of the governments of Malta and Switzerland. Professor Dietrich Kappeler and Dr Alex Sceberras Trigona provided mentorship for the new initiative.  At the […]

  • 01
    Tuesday June, 1993
    People, Person, Crowd, Clothing, Formal Wear, Suit, Indoors, Audience

     - First public presentation on computerisation and diplomacy

    A presentation on the use of computers in diplomacy was delivered at the UN Meeting on Strengthening Foreign Ministries in Transition, sponsored by Butros Butros Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in Malta, in June 1993. For newly established countries in Eastern Europe, this new start opened new avenues for innovation with diplomatic methods as […]

  • 15
    Saturday January, 1994
    Computer, Electronics, Pc, Person, Computer Hardware, Hardware, Desk, Furniture, Table, Screen, Head

     - First manual on computers and diplomacy

    In January 1994, the Unit for Computer Applications in Diplomacy, headed by Dr Jovan Kurbalija, launched its first publication, ‘New Tools for Diplomats: Computer Applications in Diplomacy’.

  • 24
    Monday January, 1994
    Architecture, Building, Cityscape, Urban, Church, Dome, Animal, Bird, Landmark, Car, Transportation, Vehicle

     - First workshop on computer applications in diplomacy

    In January 1994, the Unit for Computer Applications in Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC) organised a workshop on Computer Applications in Diplomacy in co-operation with the UN Secretariat and Malta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The workshop became an annual event and eventually evolved into the Postgraduate Diploma course on IT and […]

  • 20
    Monday November, 1995
    Computer Hardware, Electronics, Hardware, Adult, Male, Man, Person, Book, Publication, Comics, Desk, Furniture, Table, Screen, Face, Head, Monitor, Computer, Laptop, Pc, Accessories, Bag, Handbag

     - Training on information technology in international relations for Commonwealth diplomats

    Between 20 November and 1 December 1995, the Unit for Computer Applications in Diplomacy took part in the Commonwealth Workshop on the Use of Information Technology in International Relations. The workshop was held in Malta.

  • 28
    Tuesday November, 1995
    MedGate logo

     - Mediterranean digital diplomacy initiative

    On 28–29 November 1995, a MedGate workshop was held in Malta, providing training on digital diplomacy for Mediterranean countries. The MedGate portal was an online space for policy interaction among Mediterranean countries. MedGate was organised in cooperation with the Council of Europe.

  • 07
    Sunday July, 1996
    People, Person, Indoors, Theater, Auditorium, Hall, Adult, Male, Man, Cinema, Clothing, Formal Wear, Suit, Architecture, Building, Crowd, Concert

     - ICT and diplomacy presentation at African Union Summit

    The Unit delivered a presentation on computer applications in diplomacy at the Summit of the Organisation of African Unity, in Yaounde, Cameroon (8-10 July 1996).

  • 01
    Thursday August, 1996
    Electronics, Screen, Computer Hardware, Hardware, Monitor, Blazer, Clothing, Coat, Jacket, TV, People, Person, Adult, Male, Man, Formal Wear, Female, Woman, Suit, Furniture, Table, Accessories, Tie

     - Training on information technology and diplomacy in Trinidad and Tobago

    The Unit delivered another presentation on ICT and diplomacy at the Workshop on the Influence of IT on Diplomacy, organised in August 1996 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, in Port of Spain.

  • 01
    Thursday August, 1996
    Book, Publication, Business Card, Paper, Text, Advertisement, Poster

     - First publication on information technology and diplomacy

    In August 1996, Dr Kurbalija prepared the first publication on the interplay between IT and diplomacy. Published as a discussion paper by the Centre for the Study of Diplomacy, the paper signalled the beginning of what came to be known as the field of e-diplomacy, or digital diplomacy.

  • 15
    Thursday August, 1996
    Page, Text, Chart, Plot

     - Domain www.diplomacy.edu starts

    www.diplomacy.edu is one of the oldest domains in the field of diplomacy and international relations. In 1996 we were the first and the main source of information on diplomacy on the net. Even after 26 years of our domain and the arrival of much bigger and stronger universities and organisations, www.diplomacy.edu remains among top 10 […]

  • 06
    Wednesday November, 1996
    Architecture, Building, Cityscape, Urban, City, Tower, Outdoors

     - First presentation on computers and diplomacy at the International Forum on Diplomatic Training

    The International Forum of Directors of Diplomatic Academies and Institutes, held on 6 November 1996, in Ankara, Turkey, included discussions on computers and diplomacy. Starting with Ankara, updates on computer applications in diplomacy became regular features of annual Forum meetings.

  • 21
    Monday July, 1997
    Architecture, Building, Housing, House, Manor, Grass, Plant

     - Is diplomacy profession in peril?

    In July 1997, at the Wilton Park Conference in the UK, Jovan Kurbalija discussed the impact of digitalisation on the diplomatic profession. The conference ‘Diplomacy: Profession in Peril?’ gathered diplomats, academics, and journalists.  Jovan Kurbalija presented his tripartite methodology of following impact of digitalisation on diplomacy: new geopolitical and geoeconomic enviornment new topics on the […]

  • 01
    Saturday November, 1997
    Architecture, Building, House, Housing, Villa, Manor

     - First Geneva training on IT and diplomacy

    Dr Jovan Kurbalija delivered a course on ‘IT and Diplomacy’ as part of the Diplomatic Studies Programme of the Graduade Institute of International Studies, Geneva.

  • 17
    Saturday October, 1998
    Logo, Text

     - Cybersecurity emerges as policy topic

    In October 1998, at the 3rd International Security Forum in Zurich, Jovan Kurbalija delivered a presentation on linking cyber and security developments. Cybersecurity emerges as a policy, technical, and diplomatic issue. The biennial forum brought together individuals who make and shape decisions relevant to international security, among them diplomats and other government officials, military, academics, […]

  • 01
    Friday January, 1999

     - Knowledge and diplomacy conference

    DiploProjects hosted the Conference on Knowledge and Diplomacy, bringing together experts from all around the world to share knowledge and discuss this topic. Conference papers were later published in a book titled ‘Knowledge and Diplomacy.’

  • 01
    Monday February, 1999
    Computer, Electronics, Laptop, Pc, Person, Face, Head, People, Art, Painting

     - First postgraduate accredited course

    In 1999, DiploProjects ran the first Postgraduate Diploma course on IT and Diplomacy, in cooperation with the University of Malta. Some 14 participants, from 9 countries around the world, attended this first course, offered through blended learning (a workshop in Malta followed by online learning). The course eventually evolved into the Master in Contemporary Diplomacy, […]

  • 16
    Tuesday February, 1999
    Logo, Outdoors, Nature, Sky, Person, Weather, Text

     - Expanding the offering

    In February 1999, Jovan Kurbalija delivered a presentation on ‘The Use of the Internet for Training Diplomats’ at the International Studies Association (ISA) convention in Washington.

  • 01
    Wednesday September, 1999
    Page, Text, File

     - DiploNews starts

    The first issue of DiploNews came out on 1 September 1999. The electronic newsletter was created to ‘provide brief news items and relevant web links to the diplomatic community and those interested in the use of IT in diplomacy’. DiploNews has continued throughout the years, and it now has more than 330 issues. The first […]

  • 01
    Saturday January, 2000
    Computer, Computer Hardware, Computer Keyboard, Electronics, Hardware, Advertisement, Poster, Publication, Book, Person, Text

     - Internet guide for diplomats

    Published in 2000, ‘The Internet Guide for Diplomats’, by Jovan Kurbalija and Stefano Baldi, was the first guide specifically conceived and realised to assist diplomats and others involved in international affairs to use the Internet in their work. It included both basic technical information about the Internet and specific issues related to the use of […]

  • 01
    Tuesday February, 2000

     - Knowledge and diplomacy (2nd conference)

    In February 2000, a second international conference on Knowledge and Diplomacy gathered experts to discuss this topic in more depth.

  • 01
    Monday January, 2001
    Book, Publication, White Board, Advertisement, Poster, Text, Page

     - Language and diplomacy conference

    In 2001, DiploProjects began to explore a new topic: Language and Diplomacy. Diplo hosted an international conference on Language and Diplomacy in January 2001. This led to publishing a book ‘Language and Diplomacy‘, a collection of papers presented at the February 2000 Second International Conference on Knowledge and Diplomacy and at the January 2001 Conference […]

  • 09
    Friday February, 2001

     - Web-management in diplomacy (1st conference)

    DiploProjects hosted the International Conference on Web-Management in Diplomacy in Malta, from 9 – 11 February 2001.

  • 01
    Friday February, 2002
    People, Person, Audience, Crowd, Indoors, Lecture, Room, Seminar, Blazer, Clothing, Coat, Jacket, Tablecloth, Adult, Male, Man, Formal Wear, Suit, Furniture, Table, Face, Head, Flower, Flower Arrangement, Plant, Home Decor, Linen, Reception, Reception Room, Waiting Room

     - Web-management in diplomacy (2nd conference)

    The second International Conference on Web-Management in Diplomacy took place in February 2002, in Malta. The conference focused on web-management in diplomacy, and its specific needs for diplomatic services. Diplomats, web designers, and IT-specialists attended the conference, discovering ways to make web-management in diplomacy both functional and reliable.

  • 18
    Monday February, 2002

     - Training for Caribbean diplomats

    DiploProjects and the Institute of International Relations (Trinidad and Tobago) co-hosted a workshop on ‘Skills for Modern Diplomacy: Trade, IT and Diplomatic Relations’ in Trinidad and Tobago. Targeting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Latin American countries, the workshop helped equip trade professionals and diplomats with the IT skills necessary for dealing with the changing face […]

  • 01
    Monday April, 2002
    Pen, Text

     - Diplo Handbooks launch

    DiploProjects published the first book in a new series on practical diplomacy (Diplo Handbooks): ‘Bilateral Diplomacy‘ by Ambassador Kishan S Rana. It came out in April 2002 and was intended for diplomacy practitioners and students of international relations to examine the role ascribed to bilateral diplomacy, and its importance in international affairs. 

  • 01
    Sunday September, 2002
    Language and Diplomacy

     - A dedicated language and diplomacy forum

    In September 2002, DiploProjects launched an online discussion forum dedicated to language and diplomacy. More info.

  • 30
    Wednesday October, 2002
    People, Person, Crowd, Audience, Indoors, Lecture, Room, Seminar, Accessories, Bag, Handbag, Adult, Male, Man, Clothing, Footwear, Shoe, Glasses, Chair, Furniture, Formal Wear, Suit, Debate, Speech, Tie, Computer Hardware, Electronics, Hardware, Monitor, Screen, Architecture, Building, Classroom, School, Desk, Table

     - Getting strategic about websites

    DiploProjects hosted the Conference on Web-Management for International Organisations in Geneva from 30 October to 1 November 2002. It was open to all actors in multilateral diplomacy wanting to learn the strategic importance of websites in achieving efficient communication.

Diplo - the future ahead

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