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Hello Ottawa!

The Digital Diplomacy Coalition (DDC) is growing in new and exciting ways. We’re proud to welcome DDC Ottawa to our Network as our first official 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 and partnered with some amazing organizations — Google, Fosterly, FleishmanHillard, the UN Foundation, 1776, SAIS, foreign governments & embassies, and many others.

This new phase of the DDC is going to be amazing. Ottawa is just the beginning. We are working with other cities to build DDC Chapters and expand our Network to build a truly global community.


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Digital Diplomacy at SXSWi

Headed to SXSWi this week? Check out some of these digital diplomacy sessions.

Crowdsourcing Diplomacy

March 9 at 11:00AM
This panel will illustrate how the State Dept is leveraging its social media network to address humanitarian crises.


  • Hilary Brandt, Director, Office of Innovative Engagement, US Department of State
  • Joshua Campbell, GIS Architect, Humanitarian Information Unit, US Department of State

“Open Source” Foreign Policy in the Digital Age

March 9 at 12:30PM
How are governments, NGOs, and international business leaders leveraging social/digital tools to build partnerships across boundaries, cultures, disciplines, and sectors? This panel organized by The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy brings together multidisciplinary expert experience from NATO, USAID and the US Department of State to examine the opportunities and challenges of “Open Source” problem solving in this turbulent 21st century.


  • Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities, US Department of State
  • James Stavridis, Dean, The Fletcher School The Fletcher School at Tufts University
  • Joshua Haynes, Senior Development Technologist & Media Adviser, USAID
  • Spencer Ackerman, US National Security Editor, The Guardian


7 Ways to Engage with the US State Department

March 11 at 9:30AM
The talk will include details on 7 mechanisms created to enable more engagement between the State Department and US startups and the innovations they hold, as a way to demonstrate some new avenues for entrepreneurs to consider, earlier in their maturation phases, as to potential uses for their products and services.


  • Rebecca Taylor, Venture Principal at Shell Technology Ventures and Entrepreneur-In-Residence at the US Department of State

The New Digital Age

March 7 at 12:30PM
Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen tackle some of the most interesting questions about our future: how will technology change privacy and security, war and intervention, diplomacy, revolution and terrorism? How will technology improve our lives? What new disruptions can we expect?


  • Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
  • Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas, Google

Wiki at War: Conflict in a Socially Networked World

March 9 at 3:30PM
The war for winning dominance over social networks and using that dominance to advantage is already underway. James Carafano presents an extremely timely analysis of the techno-future of information and the impact of social networking via the Internet.


  • James Carafano, VP, Foreign & Defense Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation

How Data Is Changing International Development

March 8 at 12:45PM
The Aid industry historically shares financial capital to build roads, or human capital to respond to a crisis, but now there is a new source of value. We can now share the rich value of information capital to the technologists that are blossoming in the developing world.


  • Nathaniel Manning, Director of Business Operations, Ushahidi

The World Bank & Innovation: Striking Poverty

March 10 at 1:15PM
José-Manuel Bassat from the World Bank Institute will detail how they are listening, discovering, and creating change by engaging the community in conversation through a variety of channels. Discover how the World Bank is “Striking Poverty” by investing in technology and innovations to help citizens around the world become better informed, governments become more transparent, and those in poverty become more engaged in decisions that affect their lives.


  • José-Manuel Bassat, Senior Communications Advisor, World Bank Institute

The Future of Government-Citizen Interaction

March 10 at 5:00PM
The concepts of collaboration and location-based services have become popular not only with wikis, social media, and advertising, but are also changing a notoriously strenuous process: interaction between local governments and citizens. Governments can clarify their procedures and encourage citizen input through platforms that support communication, location-based responses, and fast, widespread distribution of information. Citizens can more effectively create change in their communities by offering ideas and discussing issues with their local government and with each other. PublicStuff, for example, utilizes users’ locations and input to pinpoint issues, facilitate review, and ensure resolution. The goal is to transform a previously isolated experience into a collaborative exchange of information and ideas that lead to change in our communities.


  • Surya Yalamanchili, CEO, PublicStuff

SXSW Social Good Hub

March 10 at 9:00AM 
Multiple events bringing together digital creatives, entrepreneurs, filmmakers and other SXSW attendees focused on social change.

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Jargon-filled economic policy can be sexy—if done right

By Amanda Allison

According to a panel of experts at last week’s Digital Diplomacy Coalition’s event on Economic Diplomacy, social media has the power to engage and prevent eyes from glazing over—even when the topic is complex and traditionally uninteresting.

The Digital Diplomacy Coalition (@digidiplomats) held a panel discussion titled “Economic Diplomacy: FromDigital Engagement to Results”. The discussion focused on how governments, organizations, and diplomats are using digital technologies and social media to promote trade policy and economic diplomacy. The event, hosted by the Embassy of the Netherlands (@NLintheUSA), convened over 120 people to hear how three seasoned experts craft their country and organization’s critical messages around these important topics.

Steve Glickman (@GlickmanS), Adjunct Assistant Professor at Georgetown University moderated the discussion and kicked the event off by noting that “economic diplomacy is simply the use of foreign policy tools to achieve economic goals. Digital diplomacy has democratized how we communicate those goals, impacting every sphere: political and private.”

So what tools should an economic diplomat use? Jude Hanan (@JudeHanan)Social Media and Emerging Tools Strategist at The World Bank (@WorldBank), said her organization engages on over 350 channels over multiple platforms, with the goals of transparency and accountability.

“You need to be true to your brand, but speak your audience’s language. Be multilingual and multiplatform,”@JudeHanan said. She later hinted that LinkedIn is the best tool to use in a professional space for those looking for funding or stakeholders.

Andreas von Uexkull, Minister of Trade at the Embassy of Sweden, said that his Embassy uses social media to bring together citizens to discuss current events. A hot topic now is the Transatlantic Trade and InvestmentPartnership (TTIP), and @SwedenInUSA utilizes hashtags to encourage people to join the conversation and to create buzz around the issue. Swedish citizens can also rely on their country’s social media updates to learn about important safety information such as the ongoing situation in the Ukraine.

“I’ve learned though,” von Uexkull added, “that social media cannot replace having actual meetings.”

Social media can, however, make wonky, complicated and boring topics more accessible, such as urban water management and economic water policy. Joining the panel from @NLintheUSA was Dale Morris(@DaleTMorris), an Economic Adviser. @DaleTMorris and his team created an app to demonstrate water management solutions for the New Orleans area, and through this work, he understands the importance of communicating complex information in an engaging way.

According to Morris, the key tools for any diplomat attempting to convey critical, complicated topics: pictures, social media, and apps. His team’s app alone contains the knowledge of 18 books in an easy to use, easy to look at format.

But what happens when your embassy or organization’s message on social media is misunderstood?

“Social media is the antithesis to the rigorous hierarchy of the traditional embassy structure. How do you adapt?” asked the moderator, @GlickmanS.

According to @DaleTMorris and keeping with a water theme, social media can be a literal flood of information—sometimes without barriers or filters—and lends itself to quick responses and misinterpretation.

While you can’t have full control over how your audience interprets your message, you can ensure that social media tools are in the right hands, which comes down to trust and training.  “You have to trust your staff,” said@JudeHanan. “We are all professionals and diplomats. You have to use common sense and staff guidelines.”

The evening wrapped up with a discussion on how these social media experts balance work days full of social media and a life away from the screen. “There are times you just have to turn off,” said @JudeHanan. “It can be hard to switch off though when you have to monitor all the time.”

An audience member noted that social media could potentially save time, too. We no longer have to physically go to events; rather, many are streamed online and often live Tweeted. For instance, if you couldn’t make it tothe Embassy of the Netherlands on Wednesday for the event in person, you could follow the discussion on twitter using #digitaldiplomacy.

The biggest takeaway from the night: Social media can bring people together and make information accessible if it’s engaging, monitored, and conversational. “Social media is your embassy; a good website is your home country,” said @JudeHanan.

We’d like to thank our moderator and panelists for a great night of discussion and the Embassy of the Netherlands for hosting this event with us.

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Digital Diplomacy Coalition named “Professional Group of the Year” by Yeni Diplomasi

The Digital Diplomacy Coalition (DDC) has been named by Yeni Diplomasi as the “Professional Group of the Year” in their Digital Diplomacy Review 2013.

Yeni Diplomasi is an Istanbul, Turkey-based platform for the advocacy, research, training, consulting, and publication of digital diplomacy issues.

In addition, the DDC’s Digital Diplomacy Open House was named the “Professional Event of the Year” and ourDigital Diplomacy +SocialGood Forum with the United Nations Foundation has been named “Conference of the Year.” Our LinkedIn Group was also awarded “LinkedIn Group of the Year”.

View Yeni Diplomasi’s full Digital Diplomacy Review 2013 report here ›

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Photos: Digital Diplomacy Open House at the Canadian Embassy

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Watch: Digital Diplomacy +SocialGood Forum

Video from our Digital Diplomacy +SocialGood Forum held on 25 October in Washington, DC.

The event was a Digital Diplomacy Coalition (DDC) and UN Foundation hosted half-day conference focused on the transformative power of technology. This event brings together the dynamic international community with innovative technologists and influential minds. Diplomats, non-profit leaders and industry professionals explore the potential of digital media and technology to make the world a better place, and how to translate that potential into action.

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A Conversation with Petrit Selimi

Five years ago, on 17 February 2008 the Republic of Kosovo declared independence, hence starting an immense nation-building effort. In its agile form, Kosovo was quick to deploy the latest technologies in its efforts to establish its presence at home and abroad. Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Selimi led the push within the international community and continues to be instrumental in the young country’s digital diplomacy efforts. The digital diplomacy strategy of Kosovo was named one of the best in the world, after that of the US, the UK and Israel, in a global survey conducted by Turkish experts evaluating the content of strategies of dozens of countries.

Petrit Selimi, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kosovo
James Barbour, Press Secretary and Head of Communications at the British Embassy in Washington



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Digital Diplomacy Open House a Huge Success

We had a great turnout for our Digital Diplomacy Open House at Levick Strategic Communications during DC’s Social Media Week. Check out more photos on our Flickr.

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