Recent Posts by Community Manager
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
- 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.
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.
The Digital Diplomacy Coalition (DDC) is growing yet again! We’re excited to welcome DDC New York to our Network as our second expansion DDC Chapter.
What’s a DDC Chapter?
A DDC Chapter is a local (city, country or regional) organization in the DDC Network designed to bring together the diplomatic, international affairs, and tech communities from the local area. Each chapter is lead by a small group of volunteers from the local DDC community.
The DDC community started as a handful of digital practitioners in Washington, DC gathering to talk shop and share our stories. Today we have held over 25 key events, ranging from workshops to thought leadership panels to half-day conferences. We’ve engaged with over 3000 diplomats, technologists & communicators in Washington, DC and beyond. We’ve also partnered with some amazing organizations — Google, Fosterly, FleishmanHillard, the UN Foundation, 1776, SAIS, foreign governments & embassies, and many others.
DDC New York will be holding a Digital Diplomacy Happy Hour on 22 September to introduce the DDC to New York, and tease their upcoming formal launch event in October.
The New York Chapter follows Ottawa which launched this past June. We are actively working in other cities to build DDC Chapters and expand our DDC Network to build a truly global community.
A couple diplomatic tweets have caught quite a bit of attention lately. What do you think? Should governments be engaging in more clever and web-savvy ways, or have they gone too far? Have your say in the comments below.
— Canada at NATO (@CanadaNATO) August 27, 2014
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House. Only sparklers this time! pic.twitter.com/QIDBQTBmmL
— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) August 24, 2014
The Russian Mission to NATO responded to the Canadian Tweet with their own map:
— Russians at NATO (@natomission_ru) August 28, 2014
ICYMI – This is how the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded when Russian forces entered southeastern Ukraine from Russia:
— MFA of Ukraine (@MFA_Ukraine) August 27, 2014