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DiploNews – Issue 6 – 1 October 1999

DiploNews – Issue 6 – October 1, 1999

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Traditional vs. Cyber Diplomatic Communication

In response to an article in the 3rd Issue of DiploNews, Professor Paul Sharp informed us that after e-mailing inquiries to a few embassies and diplomatic missions of a particular country he did not receive any answers. DiploNews received comments from a few countries thinking that perhaps they were the target of this message. None of them, including our host country, were the country to which the inquiries were sent.

Following this message we decided to conduct a small survey of our own. We wanted to discover if non-response is an exception or the rule. We requested information from a few embassies (both developing and developed countries) through e-mail or web-based forms. The results were not encouraging. Some sent an e-mail generated response (protocol was satisfied). However, only a few provided an answer and from the majority we have not yet heard anything after a few weeks.

This gives us a good departure point for research addressing the following questions: Is e-mail correspondence considered to be part of official diplomatic communication? Are websites considered part of official diplomatic representation (in cyberspace)? Will the speed of traditional diplomatic correspondence adjust to the expectations of new clients approaching diplomatic missions via the Internet? To join a discussion on this and other topics please send messages to diploforum@diplomacy.edu.

DiploWeb: Key Skills in Web-management

Today it is quite common to find historical analysis based on the "determinants of success" –from land (agricultural age) through raw materials (industrial age), to financial capital (modern industrial age), and finally to knowledge and creativity (postindustrial age). What have been and will be the determinants of success in the field of web-design? Although the time span is much shorter (years rather than centuries), we developed the following timeline:

  • 1991-1995 – computer engineers (key task: establishing technical infrastructure for connection)
  • 1995-1998 – graphical designers (key task: design and graphical possibilities of the Internet)
  • 1998-???? – information managers (key task: organisation of vast amounts of data)
  • future – linguistics (key task: dealing with meanings of text and documents)

In summary, if you want to invest in the future invest in specialists in information management. If you want to take further risks, as we do currently, concentrate your effort on linguistics. Of course we will continue to need computer engineers and graphical designers as parts of the team, but not as key players.

Broadcast of Diplomatic Activities via the Internet

After initial experiments by the ITU and WTO, live broadcast of diplomatic activities via the Internet is becoming more common. For example, the latest session of the UN General Assembly is now being broadcast via the Internet. You can experience the sessions live today and you can listen to previous sessions by accessing the archives. This is another technological breakthrough that may affect diplomacy by reducing the need for physical presence, enhancing possibilities of developing countries to participate, etc. However, "corridor diplomacy" still remains to be covered by traditional ways and means.

Note from DiploTeam: Establishment of DiploForum Discussion Group

Based on feedback from recipients of this newsletter we decided to open a discussion group–DiploForum. While DiploNews is delivered on a "one-to-many" basis, DiploForum will run on a "many-to-many" system–your messages will be broadcast to all recipients of DiploNews. We hope that even this issue will provoke some comments and discussion. To post a message, send it to diploforum@diplomacy.edu and it will be forwarded to all members of DiploNews. Please keep in mind that this discussion group is not monitored–messages will be automatically sent to all members of DiploNews. If you want to send a message to the DiploTeam please use diplo@diplomacy.edu.

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