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DiploNews – Issue 80 – 20 December 2005

DiploNews – Issue 80 – December 20, 2005

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International Conference – Challenges for Foreign Ministries: Managing Diplomatic Networks and Optimising Value

Foreign ministries the world over face a complex environment. Abroad they encounter unpredictable volatility in world affairs; the need to build extensive-intensive bilateral and regional networks; complex multilateral agendas crowded by new subjects; the need to build plural constituencies in foreign states, many nonofficial; the task of managing their own external image; new forms of public and soft diplomacy; and economic diplomacy covering trade and investment mobilization and free trade accords at bilateral, regional, multilateral and global levels.
At home they deal with plural partners, official and non-state, participants in the external policy process and stakeholders in the foreign ministry’s actions. The foreign ministry must act as a coordinator and a catalyst in such networks, covering the expanding foreign agenda. It must carry conviction with them, in an environment that often questions the foreign ministry’s functions. Domestic and external issues merge and influence each other in ways that no one anticipated even a decade ago. The conference will address several linked themes:

  • The Action Canvas for MFAs: Progressive adaptation, or Reform?
  • The Home Role: Partners and Publics; Public Diplomacy 
  • Embassy networks; MFA-Embassy integration 
  • Consular Work: A Cinderella in the Limelight 
  • Multilateral Diplomacy; e-diplomacy 
  • Value from Training: Mid-career and advanced training, e-learning 
  • Managing Performance 
  • Knowledge Management 

The conference particularly focuses on the foreign ministries of countries with limited financial and/or human resources. It will facilitate experience sharing, with academics contributing to the wider objective of producing optimal value from foreign ministry systems, winning support from their stakeholders and publics.
For more information, to submit an abstract, or to register, please visit the conference website.

EU Diplomatic Service on Hold

Britain, currently holding the EU rotating presidency, has ruled out the possibility for the emergence of the European External Action Service (EEAS), also known as the EU diplomatic service, in the near future. Setting up the EEAS is one of the provisions of the Constitutional Treaty. Article II-296 of the Treaty provides a general description of the service which “shall work in cooperation with the diplomatic services of the Member States and shall compromise officials from relevant departments of the General Secretariat of the Council and the Commission as well as staff seconded from national diplomatic services of the Member states.” Accordingly, regular diplomatic consultations began between interested parties in November 2004, aimed at working out the organisational structure and functioning mechanisms of the future EU diplomatic machinery. The talks, however, have been on hold since the rejection of the Constitution by France and the Netherlands. The EU has entered a period of reflection and reconsideration which has practically stopped any progress on creation of the EEAS. Read more in

Call for Applications – February 2006 Short Online Courses

Diplo will offer 2 short online courses starting in mid-February 2006: 

  • Diplomatic Theory and Practice (Professor Geoff Berridge and Mr Haraldur Egillson)
  • Multilateral Diplomacy (Professor Dietrich Kappeler and Dr Petru Dumitriu) 

Courses are designed to allow working diplomats and others involved in international relations to continue their education by learning about new topics in the field of diplomacy, or expanding and refreshing their knowledge of more traditional topics. Courses require 10 weeks of part-time study, typically 6-8 hours per week. Successful participants are awarded a postgraduate level certificate from DiploFoundation.

The application deadline for both courses is January 23, 2006. Please apply early to be sure of a place in the course.

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

International Conference on Internet Governance: The Way Forward

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis resulted in the decision to establish an Internet Governance Forum. The decision taken by parties at the WSIS indicates WHAT the Forum should do and WHO should be involved (multistakeholder approach). However, it remains to be seen HOW the Forum will be organised. This conference, to be held from February 10 – 12 in Malta, aims to provide an initial mapping, through addressing questions such as: 

  • How can the structure of the Forum appropriately involve various stakeholders covering a wide range of issues? 
  • How can the Forum promote a bottom-up and inclusive nature, while maintaining an efficient and operational organisation? 
  • How can complementarity between all stakeholders be increased? 
  • What solutions from other international organisations/initiatives could be adapted for the Forum? 
  • How can meaningful participation of institutions and individuals from developing countries in the Forum be facilitated? 

Prominent players in the Internet Governance debate will also address the following topics:

  • Internet Governance Capacity Building 
  • Implementation of the WSIS Conclusions on Internet Governance 
  • Multistakeholder Approach to Internet Governance 
  • International Cooperation and Internet Security 
  • Legal Challenges of Internet Governance

For more information or to register, visit the conference website or e-mail conference@diplomacy.edu.

NGOs in Russia

The Lower House of the Russian Parliament (Duma) is about to pass an amendment to a law which would give the Russian government greater control over Russian-based NGOs. In accordance with the bill, all NGOs operating on Russian soil will be subject to registration in a state commission with powers to allow and scrutinise their activities. According to Russian authorities, the new regulations are a necessary step to preventing organisations with dubious aims or purely commercial interests from pursuing their activities under the guise of NGO status. Civil society organisations active in the field of human rights disagree. Human Rights Watch, for instance, believes that this move will curtail basic human freedoms of association and expression, and therefore contradicts international conventions on human rights to which Russia is a signatory. Read more in

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