Our round-up of news, notes, tips and tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird threw his lot in with digital diplomacy in a speech given yesterday at the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD Canada) headquarters in Ottowa.
Just look at the grasping futility of Turkey’s Twitter ban last week. The speed of information and communication demands agility. The world of diplomacy may never quite adopt the Facebook maxim of “move fast and break things.” But neither can our mantra be “move slowly and don’t change things. In this digital age, no outward-facing organization can afford to be in analogue mode. We’ve made some great progress in this field. I won’t list all of the examples, but you’ll have seen some of them on these slideshows. In the last few months, our missions have made a lot of progress on social media. All outgoing heads of mission are getting training in it. And consular services are evolving to meet the needs of a digital generation. In the case of Iran, we may not have an embassy there, but over 1.2 million unique users inside Iran have accessed an online platform that we’ve supported. This form of direct diplomacy is something we need to build on. Authoritarian regimes are very aware of the potential of these tools, and are using them to their own ends. So we must do the same. [DFATD Canada]
In the age of viral videos, #twiplomacy and mobile apps—the old levers are no longer enough. - @HonJohnBaird #DigitalDiplomacy
— DFATD (@DFATDCanada) March 27, 2014
Public Diplomacy Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel hosted a live Twitter chat with the Young African Leaders Initiative and Young African Leaders Network (YALI/YALN) yesterday that went viral.
Yesterday, using hashtag #YALICHAT, more than 12,000 people joined Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel (@Stengel) for the first in a series of live Twitter chats on the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and Young African Leaders Network (YALN), briefly out-trending the ever popular hashtag #Beliebers worldwide. [Dept. of State]
I am now closing my eyes in prayer for the future of Africa and #YALI success @YALNetwork — Jeff Okoroafor (@jeffmodern) March 28, 2014
#CulinaryDiplomacy and #gastrodiplomacy in @GlobalPost, courtesy of @emilylodish http://t.co/BIjM2Armgg — Culinary Diplomacy (@culinarydiplo) March 27, 2014
This interview with Syrian-American pianist, composer and activist Malek Jandali has some rather moving insights into the soft power of music.
I felt it was my duty and obligation as an artist to speak out and attempt to be the voice of the free Syrian children in their noble quest for freedom and peace. Less than 72 hours after my 2011 performance of “Watani Ana – I Am My Homeland” in Washington DC in front of the White House, my elderly parents were brutally attacked in their home in Syria by Assad regime thugs. They wanted to intimidate and terrorize me into silence. What happened to my parents was horrific, but it only made me more determined to stand against oppression and dictatorship in the world. I felt that I had to use the freedoms I have as an American Syrian artist to stand with the brave people of Syria, who are only demanding the same freedoms we enjoy here. [Islami Commentary]
Launching the concept #UnitedForUkraine was a real #digitaldiplomacy adventure. And great fun!! Thanks @grahamlampa for initiating it — Joakim E. Reimar (@JoakimEskil) March 27, 2014
A committee at the UK House of Lords concluded that “Britain must do a better job of telling its story to the world” and use soft power assets like its language, Commonwealth network and universities more effectively.
In a clear message to the divided coalition government , the report states: “Visa and immigration policies, as at present handled, detract from the vital message that the UK is open for business”. The committee warns that if the government did not face the facts of the transformed international order, the UK would risk finding itself “outwitted, out-competed, and increasingly insecure.” [The Guardian Defence and Security Blog]
The same rights people have offline must be protected online. http://t.co/VCbSuc9TiH #TurkeyBlockedTwitter #Twiplomacy #publicdiplomacy
— Jennifer Osias (@JennOsias) March 25, 2014
photo credit: DFATD