Launch of Data Diplomacy: Updating Diplomacy to the Big Data Era

08 February 2018 -



Join us for a discussion on the potential of big data for diplomacy, on 8 February, from 10:00 – 13:00 CET, in Geneva. DiploFoundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland will present a new report  Data Diplomacy: Updating Diplomacy to the Big Data Era  which is the result of a year of research involving diplomats, data scientists, and other actors. See the launch programme below.

New: read the press release, access the full report, or consult the executive summary.

Launch of Data Diplomacy: Updating Diplomacy to the Big Data Era

8 February 2018, 10:00 – 13:00
Auditorium De Mello (WMO Building, 7bis Avenue de la Paix, Geneva)


Modern society is marked by data. Data is continuously-generated, from electronic devices; from messages, images and videos uploaded online; from drones scanning the ground and satellites orbiting the earth. It is now put to use in the private sector, where businesses grow in efficiency and effectiveness by using insights generated by big data. The question then arises: what is the potential of big data for diplomacy?

Commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, the report Data Diplomacy: Updating Diplomacy to the Big Data Era discusses the potential of big data in different areas of diplomacy, and examines how big data can contribute to achieving diplomatic goals and supporting the work of diplomats. The report also addresses arising capacity building needs and potential adaptations of the organisational structure of the MFA. It furthermore highlights some of the key limitations and challenges that should be considered when adopting big data tools for diplomacy. The report is the outcome of the data diplomacy research project

The launch of the Data Diplomacy report will take place on 8 February, from 10:00-13:00, in Auditorium De Mello (2nd floor, WMO building, 7bis Avenue de la Paix), hosted by the Geneva Internet Platform. Besides the formal presentation of the report, there will be the opportunity to discuss the issues raised with data experts and practitioners of data diplomacy.

Preliminary schedule

10:00 – 10:15

Opening remarks

  • Ms Sini Paukkunen, Director of the Unit for Policy Planning and Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland
  • Dr Jovan Kurbalija, Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform
10:15 – 11:00

Presentation of the Data Diplomacy report

  • Ms Barbara Rosen Jacobson, Programme Manager, DiploFoundation and the Geneva Internet Platform
  • Dr Katharina Höne, Research Associate Diplomacy and Global Governance and Project Manager Online Learning and Publications, DiploFoundation
11:00 – 12:15

Presentation and break-out group discussion of sub-themes

  • Data for foreign policy
    Mr Graham Nelson, Head of the Open Source Unit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
  • Capacity building for data diplomacy
    Ms Heather Leson, Data Literacy Lead, International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
  • Data and knowledge management in multilateral diplomacy
    Inspectors Jorge Flores Callejas/Petru Dumitriu, UN Joint Inspection Unit
  • New data sources, new knowledge producers
    Sini Paukkunen/Ossi Piironen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland
12:15 – 12:30 Closing of the event
12:30 – 13:00 Lunch



Due to limited availability, registrations have now been closed. For any last minute requests, contact Barbara Rosen Jacobson at There are no options for remote participation.

Soft launch online

For those not able to attend in situ, a soft online launch of the report will take place during February’s WebDebate, on 6 February 2018 at 12:00 GMT / 13:00 CET. Register to reserve your place for the online event and receive the access link.