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Category Archives: DDC News

A peek inside day-to-day diplomacy

Diplomacy has often been seen as a behind-closed-doors practice taking place in stuffy meeting rooms and made up of discussions that often result in nebulous outcomes.

Enter public diplomacy — the practice of leveraging diplomatic encounters at the local public level to better engage with populations and inform larger audiences. Often synonymous with events or cultural activities, the aim is to offer tailored diplomatic efforts in addition to what is often seen as traditional state-to-state diplomacy.

Over time, this definition of public diplomacy has broadened. No longer does it operate almost parallel to traditional statecraft, instead it works in more direct support of diplomatic objectives. Public diplomacy still focuses on delivering a softer side of diplomacy — events, trade shows, press engagement and the like to more effectively leverage soft power.

The coining of the term ‘digital diplomacy’ however, has allowed public diplomacy to further expand in definition and intention. While not exclusive to public diplomacy, the adoption of digital diplomacy has changed the way diplomats and diplomatic actors engage with the world around them. More tools equate to more means of engagement, and technology has been a catalyst for change within foreign ministries and embassies.

Technology is enabling diplomacy to be more transparent, engaging and accessible. No longer does public diplomacy merely apply to cultural events, trade functions or promotional exercises. Today, diplomats are opening the doors on the diplomatic process by providing views into their day-to-day activities.

This began with ambassadors tweeting about their daily functions, or embassies posting details on policy views or sharing outcomes from discussions. This was a step towards openness and transparency, but many of the functions of daily diplomacy remain elusive. This is shifting yet again.

The public diplomacy team at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC has recently been throwing the doors open on their diplomats’ daily lives. Leveraging Instagram stories, the embassy has been sharing what a week in the life of individual teams at the embassy looks like — and not just the public diplomacy or press teams. Instead, they have also focused on the political unit, the Ambassador’s staff and the defense/military teams.

The stories take viewers through the exciting and the mundane. Highlighting the work, not just the flash, and making the it accessible to an audience that typically would only see or hear about diplomatic events or outcomes but not have an eye on the process.

This ongoing shift in diplomacy has changed who participates in the overall process, giving more access to the public. Being more open enables diplomats and diplomatic posts to be more engaging. The added transparency not only allows citizens back at home to see what their diplomats are doing and for local audiences in host nations to experience what diplomats are bringing to their countries, but enables both audiences to comment, share and express their views. By nature, leveraging social digital tools creates the ability for two way conversations. I look forward to seeing others follow the Swiss’ lead.

The Swiss Embassy is merely one example, and this is not just a best practice for diplomacy. Transparent, engaging and accessible should increasingly be the mottos of corporate, philanthropic and broader government teams.

Opening the doors not only informs a greater number of people, but makes them more a part of the process; it humanizes principals and adds a new layer of accessibility, contributing to a stronger, more robust and trustworthy communications strategy.


Scott Nolan Smith is a founder and board member of the Digital Diplomacy Coalition. He is also a Vice President at Clyde Group and consultant to globally minded organizations and governments. He previously served as head of digital at the British Embassy in Washington.

This post originally appeared on the Clyde Group Medium publication.

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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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Start Spreading The News!

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.

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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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