Digital diplomacy empowering 21 century diplomat in the conduct of diplomacy

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  • Digital Diplomacy: Empowering Diplomats in the 21st Century Conduct of Diplomacy

    Dr. Saeed K Al DhaheriChairman, Smartworld

    Former Advisor of IT to H.H. the Minister of Foreign AffairsTwitter: @DDSaeed


  • Updated presentation based on a previous lecture at UAE MoFA


  • Reinventing diplomacy

    21st Century diplomacy

    #Digital Diplomacy


    Cyber Diplomat

    Virtual Embassy

  • Digital Diplomacy resources on social media


  • Digital Diplomacy: Empowering Diplomats in the 21st Century Conduct of Diplomacy



    The world is going digital

    Internet impact on Diplomacy

    How MFAs are addressing Digital Diplomacy

    Diplomacy vs. digital diplomacy: definitions

    Digital diplomacy through examples

    Governments and world leaders on social media

    How MFAs use social media

    Examples: UAE MoFA, State department, and the UN

    Disaster management and the use of social media

    Social media risks and challenges



  • Questions

    Is there a new kind of diplomacy that is different from the traditional diplomacy

    What is digital diplomacy?

    How Internet and social media are impacting diplomatic conduct and international relations?

    What is the role of the Embassy and Ambassadors in the interconnected world?

    What are the talents and skills needed by diplomats in the digital age

  • The world is going digital

    3.3 billion internet users as of today (more than 40% of the world population)

    More than 80% of Internet users are using social networks

    Today mobile Internet penetration is more than 52% and expected

    to reach 71% by 2019

    New technologies: Cloud computing, mobile,

    Social Media, and Big data creating new

    possibilities and innovation


  • Internet Impact on Diplomacy

    A new dimension to traditional diplomacy issues

    Freedom of expression, human rights, IP rights, Int. telecommunication polices,

    climate change, human rights to accesses internet,,,etc

    Changing environment of world politics

    New players: NGOs, political activists, civil society, terrorist networks

    New tools to practice diplomatic conduct

    Instant messaging, search engines, video conferencing, and social media

    E-government and smart government services for citizens

    Online Consular services

    Smart apps

    The Internet made diplomacy more efficient and cost effective but also pushed diplomacyto be more open and transparent while created pressure for the response to be more real-time

    Communication is now the essence of diplomacy

    Social Media

    Shaping opinion Mobilize people Influence Change

  • How MFAs addressing digital diplomacy

    : USA

    2121st century statecraft

    : UK

    Britains Foreign Policy in a Networked World


    2013MoFA2011 strategic Plan

    MoFA e-Government Initiative

    Empowering the conduct of diplomacy by providing updated information to UAE diplomats any time any where

    UAE Smart Government Program

  • Diplomacy vs. Digital Diplomacy

    Digital Diplomacy/ e-Diplomacy

    The effective use of Internet and new technologies to help advance nations foreign policy

    Is the use of social media by governments and embassies across the world to promote their country, her causes, and international relations

    New shapes of diplomacy




    the work of maintaining good relations between the governments of different countries



    In-person meetings

    Formal media coverage

  • Digital Diplomacy today


    Hashtag diplomacy

    Video conferencing

    Encompassing Social media, video conferencing, smart apps, instant massaging,,,etc

    Engagement with public

    Smart apps

  • The world governments and leaders are on social media


  • UAE leadership are among the pioneers to use social media


  • How MFAs Use Social Media

    One way engagement: Communicate news, announcements and alerts

    PR: Broadcasting events

    Update during crises and for disaster management

    Listening: gathering information

    Public diplomacy advocating/branding national image

    Two-way engagement:

    Creating awareness and getting users feedback about e-services provided

    Conversing with foreign populations


    I tell all of our ambassadors, Remember, you onlyhave 1 mouth, but you have two ears. Alec Ross,

    Former senior advisor of Innovation, state department

  • UAE MoFA is leading on social media


    Winning two best Government social media practice awards

    Guidelines for using SM in the UAE Gov

    UAE MoFA twitter policy

  • UAE MoFA and its missions are on Social Media


  • Digital diplomacy practice still evolving and differs among MFAs

    Study findings published on the blog of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy

    cross national comparison study of 4 MFAs

    Good points: MFAs provide social media training to their diplomats

    MFAs develop guidelines and best practices for diplomats

    migrating online

    Embassies and ambassadors use of SM help tailor SM content to the

    values and interest of the followers

    Points of improvements:

    MFAs still refrain from using SM to converse with online publics

    Most embassies and diplomats fail to engage online with NGOs, thereby failing to foster the creation of networks of advocacy

    MFSs fail to coordinate with other ministries and actors when it comes to nations policy and image.

    Challenge to many embassies to practice near real-time digital diplomacy given the supervision models adopted by their MFAs

    Conclusion: the practice of digital diplomacy still evolving and differs among MFAs Some MFAs encourage embassies and diplomats to foster ties with online publics while others are still more cautious


  • Terrorism has gone social

    How to fight ISIS online propaganda network

    ISIS mastered the art of making the voices of a few sounds

    like the voices of millions

    The world needs to unite its effort to fight ISIS


  • 2121st Century Statecraft

    Builds on traditional forms of diplomacy to account for the technologies, demographics, and the networks of the 21st century

    benefits from new technologies and innovation to advance US foreign policy

    State department runs a media mogul: 194 twitter account, 200 Facebook pages, tweeting in 7 languages, monitoring social media channels of Five other countries in 5 languages

  • IT Department


    US Virtual Embassy in Tehran

    Department of states Virtual Student Foreign Service Program (VSFS)

    2121st Century Statecraft

  • American Virtual Embassy in Tehran

  • State department web site

  • Social Media use for Disaster Management

    To find and locate trapped victims during disasters

    Effective tool for coordinating search and rescue efforts during crises and disasters 2011 the great Japan earthquake (twitter became the emergency service 1200 tpm)

    , 2010 Haiti earthquake

    Immediate reporting about damages thats facilitating preparation to provide help and support

  • Digital Diplomacy example: UN and the use of Social Media

    #nextSG and hashtags on twitter

    Social media opened up a close practice for selecting the UN Sec General

    Questions to candidate submitted on twitter

  • Social Media Risks & Challenge

    How to handle criticism and negative comments

    Loss of reputational control


    Content development

  • :Conclusions

    Digital diplomacy is not an end in itself but a tool in the service of broader diplomatic strategies

    MFAs need to institutionalize the use of social media and develop digital diplomacy strategies and policies

    MFAs need to transition from monologue-based to dialogue-based diplomacy to create global network of influence and advocacy

    Todays diplomats need to be skilled in digital technologies and build analytical capability to harness the power of digital diplomacy

    MFAs need to build capacity (resources and training) to foster and sustain the use of digital diplomacy

    Digital diplomacy is not only the role of MFAs

    Need to face and overcome challenges associated with information security

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