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DiploNews – Issue 36 – 28 June 2001

DiploNews – Issue 36 – June 28, 2001

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Time and Timing in Diplomacy

Time is the only resource that cannot be increased at will – as such it is the most precious of resources. Diplomats, like others, constantly refer to time in the context of their activities: buying time, biding time, wasting time, running out of time, etc. Yet we find it difficult to deal conceptually with time, i.e. to organise our thoughts about time in some structured way. No systematic study of the nature and role of time in diplomatic activities has yet been carried out.

DiploProjects plans to organise a brainstorming seminar on Time and Timing in Diplomacy in spring 2002. We feel that focusing on the time dimension of diplomacy could bring novel insights and yield useful lessons for the discipline. The purpose of the seminar is thus to begin sift through the enormous anecdotal evidence of the role of time in diplomacy and to begin grappling with the concept.

We would like to hear from potential participants in the seminar. Please read our initial thoughts on the subject and send us your contributions.

World Bank conference held via Internet

International organisations are increasingly adopting the Internet as a means to conduct part or all of international conferences, for a variety of reasons. The Guardian reported on June 20 that the World Bank had decided to hold its annual conference on development economics on the Internet, originally scheduled to take place on June 24 and 25 in Barcelona, after thousands of protesters threatened to disrupt the meeting. However, the anti-globalisation movement responded that a virtual conference was just a vulnerable as a live gathering and that they would use "cyber sit-ins" to voice their protest. The Internet conference, which will address Globalisation, Poverty and Wealth, will include interactive sessions, allowing participants to question speakers through e-mail.

To read the entire article visit website.

E-mail burn-out

The initial enthusiasm over e-mail is in the decline due to information overload, according to another Guardian article of June 20. The article cites a Consumers' Association study which found that over the last year the number of people who named email as their favourite form of communication dropped from 14% to 5%, while the number who prefer face-to-face meetings has jumped from 39% to 67%. At the same time, "snail mail", although diminishing in use percentage-wise as a means of communication, is still increasing in total volume. Steve Woolgar, a sociologist of the Internet at Oxford University, points out that this is an example of the popular conception that a new form of technology will render the older ones obsolete. Instead, what usually happens is that older and newer forms co-exist, or even stimulate each other.

To read the entire article visit website.

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