In the mid-nineteenth century, upon receiving his first telegram, Lord Palmerston is reported to have exclaimed, ‘My God, this is the end of diplomacy!’ More recently, in the 1990s, after using the Internet, US diplomat Zbignew Brzezinski made the same prediction. Diplomacy is not only alive and well, but since the election of Barak Obama to the US Presidency, it’s thriving. Although both prophecies fell well short of the mark, we have seen numerous incremental changes to the way diplomacy is conducted and most of these changes can be attributed to the Internet.
Today, the Internet is used for gathering and sharing information, negotiating, communicating, and other diplomatic functions. A growing number of diplomatic services use Web 2.0 tools. Some have established virtual embassies. Even ‘corridor diplomacy’ – strongly linked to traditional diplomacy – is increasingly supplemented by SMS and Twitter. The Internet has opened up two-way channels of communication, providing a tool that allows individuals and organisations worldwide to influence global policy.
E-diplomacy is very much in its infancy, and, like any young child, has more questions than answers. These range from simple, relatively straightforward questions: 'Should diplomats blog?' to very complex questions seeking deeper understanding of the social and political implications of e-diplomacy: ‘How do Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including the Internet, impact the way in which diplomatic services are organised and function?’
Those of us interested in e-diplomacy need a forum to share our views, to expand our knowledge, and to connect with others who have similar interests. This website aims to provide precisely that. In conjunction with a series of events and conferences in diplomatic centres around the world, we hope to create a vibrant space for discussion and exchange for practitioners and everyone interested in the subject. And we invite you to join us.
Diplo and E-diplomacy
DiploFoundation’s fifteen years of experience in the field of e-diplomacy provides a solid basis and background for this event:
- Since 1994, Diplo has run face-to-face and online courses on diplomacy and information technology, cyber diplomacy, and Internet governance.
- Since 1997, Diplo has hosted international conferences focused on various aspects of e-diplomacy (information technology and diplomacy, web-management, Internet governance, online learning for diplomacy).
- Diplo has published numerous book and papers on different topics related to e-diplomacy (use of Internet in diplomacy, contemporary developments, web-management, Internet governance, information security).
- Since 1994, Diplo has managed projects ranging from early topics of relevance (such as web-management for ministries of foreign affairs) to current needs, including virtual embassies.
List of Activities on E-diplomacy
- 1994 – current: lectures, seminars and face-to-face training sessions on Cyber Diplomacy
- 1994 – 1998: Course on Information Technology and Diplomacy (workshop + online learning)
- 1999 – 2005: Postgraduate Diploma in Information Technology and Diplomacy (workshop + online learning)
- 2004 – current: Internet Governance (various courses offered online and face-to-face in a wide range of settings and as part of capacity building programmes)
- 2006 – current: Master/Postgraduate Diploma in Contemporary Diplomacy (workshop + online learning)
- 2006 – current: Cyber Diplomacy (10 week online course)
- International Conference of Information Technology and Diplomacy (1997)
- International Conference on Modern Diplomacy (1998)
- 2 International Conferences on Web-Management in Diplomacy (2001, 2002)
- International Conference on Web-Management for International Organisations (2002)
- International Conference – Internet Governance: The Way Forward (2006)
- Seminar on Online Learning in Diplomacy (2006)
- Modern Diplomacy (1998)
- Internet Guide for Diplomats (2000)
- Building.org (2002)
- Information Society Library (2003)
- Discussion Papers in Internet Governance and Policy (ongoing series)
- UNDP Project on E-diplomacy (1997–1999)
- USIP Project on Online Negotiations (1997)
- DiploWeb (research, advising and awards programme for the use of Internet in diplomacy (2000 – 2003)
- Capacity Building in Internet Governance (2004 – current)
- Diplomacy Island and Maldives virtual embassy in Second Life (2007)