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DiploNews – Issue 95 – 15 December 2006

Call for Papers – Conference on Diplomacy of Small States

DiploFoundation will hold its annual conference in Malta 8 to 9 February 2007. This year’s conference will address the Diplomacy of Small States and the challenges that small states face in achieving better participation in global affairs with fewer resources. Practitioners and academics will present their ideas on such issues as the organisation of diplomatic services, crisis management, the conduct of complex negotiations, innovative forms of representation, and the use of the Internet and ICT in diplomacy.

Although their diplomacy differs in its thrust and nature from that of larger and more powerful states, small states are viable and active partners within the international community. In the diplomacy of small states, a higher premium is placed on persuasion and consensus-building than on power politics. 

The many issues of how small states may participate in the increasingly dynamic arena of global affairs deserve focused consideration within an environment of knowledgeable individuals. This is the purpose of the Conference. Interested contributors may submit a one-page proposal by 05 January 2007.

More information is available at the Conference website.

The Diplomacy of Small States Project

The Malta Conference on Diplomacy of Small States is part of a broader DiploFoundation project on the Diplomacy of Small States. The Conference to be held in Malta in early February is the first event of a more encompassing project lasting until the end of 2007. This project will include meetings and seminars, training, and research. Each of these events, after the conference in Malta, will have a thematic approach. One will focus on small states within multilateral settings, another on small states within the European Union.

More than a hundred diplomats from developing small states will participate in various training activities. The project also aims to accumulate and organise knowledge through a “lessons learned” approach towards successes in the diplomacy of small states. DiploNews will regularly update subscribers about the developments of this exciting project.

Using the Web for Conflict Prevention

As the story regarding Jan Pronk demonstrates, Internet tools are increasingly used by various actors in conflict-prone settings. The Eldis Conflict and Security Resource Guide has a searchable list of readings on conflict prevention, some of which are related to the uses of ICT in conflict reduction. In particular, an article entitled “Wikis, Webs, and Networks: Creating Connections for Conflict-Prone Settings,” by Rebecca Linder may be of particular interest.

Blog Diplomacy

Of relevance to diplomacy and ICT in small states, we note an article in BBC News stating that Jan Pronk, the UN representative in the country, announced in his personal weblog Sudanese government failures in the troubled province of Darfur. The Sudanese government reacted swiftly by expelling him. The blog apparently held very sensitive diplomatic observations normally dispatched in an encoded format to a headquarters or a national capital. The example raises very interesting questions for the conduct of diplomacy for small states. Is the World Wide Web a practical platform for expressing grievances or for restraining a regime with which a diplomat has to treat? Can a blog be an effective tool of diplomatic signalling?

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