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DiploNews – Issue 42 – 23 January 2002

DiploNews – Issue 42 – January 23, 2002

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Web-Management in Diplomacy (Conference in Malta, 1-3 Feb. 2002)

A huge amount of information on how to design, create and maintain a good website is available these days. But where can you get information specifically geared towards creating good websites for diplomatic services? Although most diplomatic services have made the first steps in using the
Internet for public diplomacy, little research or discussion has examined the topic in depth.

The second International Conference on Web-Management in Diplomacy is aimed specifically at the special needs of websites of diplomatic services. We believe that websites are too important a tool for public diplomacy to be left in the hands of IT specialists or graphic designers: as the content or information providers, diplomats must be integrated into the process of maintaining diplomatic websites. The problem comes in the communication between three different professional cultures: diplomats, designers and IT specialists. How can this gap be bridged?

The experts speaking at our conference – diplomats, IT specialists, design specialists – will address these topics and others, in an attempt to discover how we can make web-management in diplomacy functional and reliable.

Skills for Modern Diplomacy: Trade, IT and Diplomatic Relations (Workshop in Trinidad and Tobago, Feb. 2002)

The Institute of International Relations, in conjunction with DiploProjects of the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, will be hosting a Workshop on Diplomatic Skills for Modern Diplomacy: Trade, IT and Diplomatic Relations, from 18 to 22 February, 2002, at the St. Augustine Campus of The University of The West Indies in Trinidad.

This workshop, targeting CARICOM and Latin American countries primarily, is aimed at equipping trade professionals and diplomats with the information technology (IT) skills necessary for dealing with the changing face of diplomacy. Participants will receive training in Information Management for trade and diplomatic activity, including instruction in databases, web page design, and the use of other Internet-based tools and services for diplomacy. Special emphasis will be placed on trade diplomacy and information technology. The concept of trade diplomacy will be further explored through sessions on trade negotiations, bilateral economic relations, dissection of regional diplomatic documents, and analysis of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations.

Program details can be obtained from the Institute of International Relations Secretariat at iirt@diplomacy.edu or from its website.

DiploAward 2001

The British Foreign and Commonwealth office (www.fco.gov.uk) has won the Diplo 2001 Award for the best website in Diplomacy. The award will be presented at the Second International Conference on Web Management and Diplomacy to be held from the 1st to the 3rd of February in Malta.

DiploProjects organised a competition for the best website in the diplomatic community with the aim of promoting web-culture and awareness among diplomats and diplomatic services. It will also provide a bench mark for standards for websites within the community. The ten sites that were shortlisted for evaluation by experts and users included: Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The selection process for the competition is based on the multidisciplinary approach Diplo's own Web Management Methodology, where the collaboration of information providers, technicians and designers provides a site that is well rounded in structure and information and presentation.

DiploAward 2002 competition will include: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Diplomatic or Consular Missions, International Organisations, Search Engine/Information Service in Diplomacy, Other Actors in Diplomacy (NGOs, Media, etc.).

For more information on DiploAwards check out the following links at the website.

Public Diplomacy – Messenger vs. Message

The distinction between the message and the messenger is as old as diplomacy: it originates at the moment our distant predecessors decided it was better to hear the message than to eat the messenger. The Council for Foreign Relations revisited this issue in the context of relations between
the US and Muslim countries: "To a certain extent, in this case, the messenger may be more important than the message. The wrong messenger will kill the message, no matter how good it may be. The regional populace is far more likely to find Muslim and Arab interlocutors credible on these issues. The most important tactic we can take is to find credible proxies who can speak on our behalf rather than shouldering the entire public diplomacy burden ourselves."

For more information on public diplomacy read the article by Pamela Smith, available in our online publication "Modern Diplomacy".

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