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DiploNews – Issue 117 – 7 March 2008

DiploNews – Issue 117 – March 7, 2008

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May 2008 Online Courses

We invite applications for the following online course beginning the week of May 5, 2008:

These three courses are available as Online Certificate Courses (application deadline: March 31, 2008).

For further information, click on the titles of the courses above, or visit our courses website.

Climate Change Diplomacy

Over 60 participants from around the world met in Malta during 7 to 8 February to discuss climate change diplomacy. The two-day conference was organised by DiploFoundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta. “One aspect we all share is that we are all vulnerable to climate change; nobody is immune,” said Ambassador Michael Zammit Cutajar in his keynote speech; he added that everyone must “unite around a common unified message of adaptation, which should take place here, now, and must come first.” The conference was opened by Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Frendo of Malta who said that as a common concern for humanity, climate change cannot be tackled in isolation. In an effort to help diplomats from small island states deal with the challenge, he stated that Malta is committing €25,000 each year for three years to start a training programme for diplomats from small island states on climate change issues. Frendo added, “I am confident that DiploFoundation will live up to its renowned efficiency and effectiveness, providing an important and valuable input to the on-going debate and negotiations on how best to confront the adverse effects of climate change.” International speakers included Aubrey Meyer, from the Global Commons Institute, who spoke about the importance of reducing fossil fuel consumption and finding other sources of energy, warning that “the next 18 months ahead of us will be the most important 18 months of human history.” Aldo Matteuci, senior fellow at DiploFoundation, suggested that “the threats posed by climate change are mostly political and economical, instead of scientific.” Dr Kurbalija concluded the two day conference by demonstrating the effectiveness of using technology in the field of climate change diplomacy. The importance of bringing diplomats closer together using technology was further exemplified by the online broadcast of the conference in the virtual world of Second Life. For more information, see the Climate Change Diplomacy summary.

Does Everyone Really Hate Diplomats?

“Does Everyone Really Hate Diplomats?” is the title of the blog of the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. Miliband’s discussion of the public image of diplomats has stimulated a series of comments regarding stereotypes of diplomats (receptions and black limousines) and more in-depth reflections regarding the changing role of diplomats in modern society. Recently, a similar discussion occurred after the publication of Baldi and Baldocci’s book on diplomats as writers: Through the Diplomatic Looking Glass. In the preface to the book, Jovan Kurbalija pointed out an emerging paradox of our time: on the one hand, he claims, diplomacy has an increasingly high relevance for modern society; yet, on the other hand, diplomacy and diplomats have a profound “image deficit” in modern society. See Reflections on Diplomacy for the full text of Kurbalija’s comments.

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