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About: Community Manager

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BlueDot Founder & DDC Board Member sits on Digital Diplomacy panel at French Embassy

By Maureen Couch 

Moira Whelan, BlueDot Founding Partner, was featured on a panel for the 2019 French Series hosted by the Embassy of France on Tuesday, May 21st. This year’s panel series, an annual event at the embassy, addressed the matter of failing diplomatic exclusivity of international communications.

The French Embassy promoted the panel series indicating that social media has become a major player in funneling information to – and from – the public, “allowing non-state actors to become involved in the communication between states.” Rather than avoiding the inevitable, the panel spoke on how foreign policy can welcome and, in turn, help shape the future of diplomacy as it evolves.

“One of the mistakes we are making is taking the antiquated rules and applying it to the current diplomacy. That people to people opportunity is huge and in the end will help salvage the relationship,” said Whelan on the panel series.

Including Whelan, the panel co-featured Priya Doshi, a professorial lecturer of Public Relations at American University School of Communication, and James Barbour, the Former Head of the Press and Public Diplomacy Section of the Delegation of the European Union. The panel was moderated by John Hudson, National Security Reporter at The Washington Post.

To learn more about the French Series, visit the French Embassy site or take a look at tweets by the Digital Diplomacy Coalition and the French Embassy.


 

This post originally appeared on the BlueDot website

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SXSW 2019 | Digital Diplomacy, GovTech and Panels To Watch For

It’s that time of year! SXSW 2019 is about to kick off and we wanted to share a few digital diplomacy, govtech and related events and sessions you might want to check out if you’re in Austin.

 


 

March 8th

International Women’s Day at EU@SXSW
The European Union is pleased to partner with UN Women to be the official host of SXSW’s International Women’s Day celebration.
EU@SXSW | Palm Door on 6th
2:00PM–10:30PM

International Models for Local Communities
Hear how reciprocal exchanges with professionals from Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia have facilitated international partnerships with communities abroad, and reinforces the impact that local initiatives have on the global stage. This session is part of the Focus15 block centered around the topic Powering Local Change through Global Collaboration, with an emphasis on government management.
Hilton Austin Downtown, Room 400-402
4:15PM-4:30PM

 

March 9th

Interactive EU Experience
Check out some of the most innovative EU-funded projects tackling the challenge of disinformation and supporting the discovery of new European musical artists. See whether you can spot deep fake images and videos at our disinformation wall and listen to some of the best European music on offer under our sound domes!
EU@SXSW | Palm Door on 6th
11:00AM-5:00PM

Tech and Populism at a Crossroads: A New Era?
The balkanization and proliferation of information and political views is driven by constant innovation and evolution of digital communications and technology platforms, including social media. With populism at a crossroads, how will technology disrupt the coming years of political dialogue, and how should policymakers respond?
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon B
11:00AM-Noon

Combatting Disinformation & the European Elections
Whilst the problem of disinformation is anything but new, the internet, and social media in particular, has shifted its spread into high gear. Following the elections on both sides of the Atlantic, disinformation has been widely debated both in the US and in Europe. Our panelists will discuss the challenges the EU is facing in the run-up to the May 2019 European elections and the efforts of its institutions to address them.
EU@SXSW | Palm Door on 6th
Noon-1:00PM

 

March 10th

The Dark Side of Tech: Surveillance and Propaganda
For repressive regimes, frontier technology can mean new ways to gain and maintain power. Will big data and artificial intelligence liberate or surveil? Join the Human Rights Foundation, Uighur linguist and police state survivor Tahir Imin, Buzzfeed News tech editor Megha Rajagopalan, and foreign affairs reporter Melissa Chan for a conversation on how super apps, facial recognition, movement analysis, DNA mapping, fake video, and other cutting-edge technologies are used to control, surveil, and promote state propaganda in China – and what that means for the rest of the world.
The LINE, Topaz Ballroom 1-2-3
12:30PM-1:30PM

EU-US Relations: The State of Play
Sharing values and interests, the EU and the US have multiple political and economic ties and have remained close allies for almost seventy years. This transatlantic partnership – arguably the most important bilateral relationship in the world – has had its highs and lows. What is the current state of play? How important is the successful cooperation of the two superpowers for them and for the global order?
EU@SXSW | Palm Door on 6th
1:00PM-2:00PM

Input Local. Output Global. City Innovation Mayoral Meet Up
Local ingenuity leads to global progress. Innovation in the government and civic sector continues to grow, local leaders still face many challenges especially in the midst of round-the-clock responsibilities within their communities. Meet America’s most innovative mayors who are using technology and innovation to meet their biggest challenges. Network, share, and engage with local leaders changing the face of cities.
Fairmont Poppy, Floor 4
3:30PM-4:30PM

Tech4Good – presented by France
Conversation about the French Tech4Good: France and Austin as iconic ecosystems of creativity and innovation for social impact. Post-panel discussion will feature a special invitation-only networking cocktail and demos from French start-ups. At 8:00pm Paris-based indie rock band Stuck in the Sound performs live on stage.
EU@SXSW | Palm Door on 6th
5:00PM-10:30PM

Does Government Matter in a Digital World?
The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 543 terabits of data are flowing across borders every second. If knowledge is power and data is now the most valuable commodity on the planet, who has it? Who uses it? Who controls it? How? And where does government fit into this datascape? Do governments have any power or purpose left, or, like one of those old Western towns that are only facades, are we living in a facsimile of civic governance?
Hilton Austin Downtown, Room 400-402
5:00PM-5:15PM

 

March 11th

Breaking Free from Global Disinformation
Disinformation, amplification and intimidation are widely used to drown out reliable journalistic reporting. Predators of press freedoms are building a tracked and censored internet, while blocking external content. Democracies are undermined while despotic regimes develop intricate propaganda machines that silence dissent, locally and globally. Solutions are badly needed to strengthen journalism & the integrity of public debate. That’s why Reporters Without Borders has launched a global appeal to mobilize governments and those committed to defending a free and pluralistic public space, essential for democracy. Seventy years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a Commission of 25 influencers from 18 countries has published an International Declaration on Information and Democracy to establish basic principles for information in the digital age – “a common good of humankind.”
The LINE, Onyx Ballroom 1
2:00PM-3:00PM

Bad Guys Attacking Elections: It’s Not Just the US
We know bad guys are continuing to use social media tools to exploit divisions and undermine elections in the US. We have seen their handiwork in France, Mexico, Germany and other places. Between now and SXSW we will see elections not just in the United States but in Brazil and Georgia where on-line manipulation of opinion is already a big problem. When we meet, elections in Indonesia, India and Europe will be just around the corner. Panelists will talk about where things stand, explore what’s working and what’s not from the perspective of the world’s largest social media platform, the media, and a think tank working to create a network of experts to combat the issue. We’ll look at ways to close the information gap among government, tech, and media on these collective challenges.
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon A
12:30PM-1:30PM

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Recap: Fake News and Diplomacy

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Video: Public Diplomacy for Sustainable Development

In partnership with the United Nations Information Center, Digital Diplomacy Coalition, and the United Nations Foundation, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD) hosted a forum in Washington, DC on Thursday, May 12, 2016. The forum explored the vital role of public diplomacy in engaging a broad array of stakeholders to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The program featured a variety of perspectives, including case discussions by Canada and Mexico.

More here.

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How to Ensure Digital Campaigns Create Actual Change

Digital campaigns are fascinating even if one does not run an online campaign for his or her organization. By now, millions of people are aware of the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign. Nearly 7 million people have watched Emma Watson’s powerful speech on YouTube and close to 300,000 men around the world have committed to stand up for women’s rights via the campaign’s webpage.

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UN Social Media Day

The first UN Social Media Day will take place at UN Headquarters on Friday, January 30, 2015. UN grounds pass holders are welcome to attend the event, featuring panel discussions and briefings by high-profile experts about the constantly changing social media landscape.

Social media professionals, digital diplomacy practitioners and academics will share their experience, discuss trends and provide interesting insights into their work.

The event will be opened by Maher Nasser, Acting Head of the UN Department of Public Information, followed by a keynote speech delivered by Adam Snyder of Burson-Marsteller on the latest “Twiplomacy” study.
The event will be divided into three panels:
  • Tweeting from the Top: Ambassadors and Digital Diplomacy
  • Making the Most of Social Media Platforms
  • Social Media Trends for 2015

 

Three short “TED” style talks will also showcase how three different organizations have used the power of digital media to create online movements through strategic storytelling, community-generated content and amplifying action.

All are invited to join the conversation online by using the hashtag #SocialUN. The day will also be webcast live via the UN Webcast and on the UN YouTube channel.

This one-day event is jointly organised by the UN Department of Public Information’s Social Media Team, the Digital Diplomacy Coalition, the Consulate General of Canada, the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, and the Consulate General of Switzerland.

More details here.

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Exciting times for the Digital Diplomacy Coalition

We welcomed a Deputy Foreign Minister, senior government advisors, as well as dozens more diplomats driving innovation from within government and key private sector individuals integrating outside technologies and expertise into the public sector.

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e-Estonia: Building a Digital Society

What if it took you less than five minutes and no accountants to get your taxes done? Or how about voting in parliament elections online, while on a trip to Fiji? Would you like to set up a new company and have it legal and running within 20 minutes? What about signing business contracts or official documents digitally, without leaving your office – or living room? What if you never had any checkbooks from your bank or parking meters on the streets?

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Watch: Upcoming Trends in Digital Diplomacy

The Digital Diplomacy Coalition, in partnership with Tumblr and the Consulate General of Canada in New York, presented a panel discussion on 28 October at Tumblr HQ in New York City to explore trends in digital diplomacy to predict where we are heading and how technology is impacting international relations and international organizations.

Panelists:

  • Jim Rosenberg – Chief of Digital Strategy, UNICEF
  • Liba Rubenstein – Director of Strategy and Outreach, Tumblr
  • Emily Parker – Digital Diplomacy Advisor and Senior Fellow, New America Foundation and author of Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground


Moderator
:  Carne Ross – Founder, Independent Diplomat and former British diplomat

Opening Remarks by Canadian Consul General in New York, John F. Prato.

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Understanding The True Meaning of Engagement

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By Maria Belovas, Member of the DDC Washington Chapter Leadership Team

The digital diplomacy conversation has moved beyond the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to new levels of listening and engagement. This sentiment was stressed recently in Washington at the Digital Diplomacy Coalition’s (DDC) “Progressive Nation Building in the Age of Digital Diplomacy” panel.

The panelists, as well as the moderator were no strangers to the theme:

  • Petrit Selimi – Deputy Foreign Minister of Kosovo and author of Kosovo’s National Strategy on Digital Diplomacy
  • Joakim Edvardsson Reimar – Head of Swedish Digital Diplomacy
  • Gökhan Yücel – President of Yenidiplomasi.com and “Turkish Digital Age Geek”
  • Jimmy Leach – Portland Communications Digital Consultant and former Head of Digital Diplomacy at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Tasked with moderating that bunch? James Barbour – Minister Counselor & Head of Press and Public Diplomacy at the EU Delegation in Washington, formerly Head of Communications at the British Embassies in both Washington and Moscow.

Although each participant presented their views at a slightly different angle, none of them questioned the significance of digital tools in achieving diplomatic goals. Having worked in this field for a while I am glad to see that the conversation has moved from ‘Why’ and ‘How’ to ‘How to be even better’. And as Joakim Reimar stressed – it is essential to be good at this, because when you’re not you will only hurt yourself (your country).

So how can governments be good at using digital tools for diplomacy? Definitely not by using those tools as an extension to how things have been done in the past. As Jimmy Leach put it – “in the past digital diplomacy was tweeting a photo of two men shaking hands in front of a 19th century painting”. Of course you can do that too, once in a while. But will that transform the way nations interact with one another? Will that empower citizens to act as ambassadors of their country?

Back to my question – how? First of all you listen. The most important conversations today do not necessarily take place behind closed doors in fancy buildings. There are communities, forums, interest groups where real people deal with real issues. There are also misconceptions going around which could easily be overturned by providing accurate information. You won’t be able to do that if you don’t listen. And if you hear about them in the evening news…well it’s too late now isn’t it?

You listen carefully. And then you speak. You speak about what is important to you in a way which inspires others to take action, to keep the conversation going. Meanwhile you do not stop listening. A conversation requires two-way communication. This is what digital engagement should look like and I am not saying it is an easy task.

Governments are not always eager to truly engage. Engagement is arguably foreign to the ways in which governments traditionally operate. There is a lot of talk about two way communication but it sadly often boils down to officials posting press releases on social media and counting “likes” and “retweets”. This isn’t success, nor does it truly have an impact.

Tougher yet, often the people who have mostly been receivers of information in the public sphere, traditionally called “the audience”, aren’t always prepared  to interact as equal counterparts of the “serious” conversations.

But governments are made up of people too. We’re all people as a matter of fact. And we have these amazing technological possibilities to listen and to be heard. The more governments recognize  this – and the more they see “the audience” as “the community” – the more governments will be able to have a meaningful digital impact.

 


Maria Belovas is responsible for Public Diplomacy and Media Relations at the Embassy of Estonia in Washington. She is also a member of the DDC Washington Chapter Leadership Team. All views expressed are solely those of the author and may not reflect the views of her employer or the Digital Diplomacy Coalition.

This post follows our recent “Progressive Nation Building in the Age of Digital Diplomacy” panel. Watch the video here.

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