Zoomplomacy - The new Virtual Diplomacy

Photo by Krystian Maj. Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland
Photo by Krystian Maj. Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced foreign services and international organizations to completely shift online in order to conduct bilateral and multilateral meetings and conferences. For at least 12 more months, diplomats will have no choice but to continue to use virtual platforms to conduct negotiations, create new relations and promote their agenda. While virtual diplomacy presents undeniable opportunities, some questions remain unanswered. Will virtual diplomacy become the new normal? Can video meetings achieve the same results as face-to-face meetings? What are the security consequences? Can international deals be brokered, signed and maintained online?

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Can diplomats be proactive online without becoming “wolf-warrior”?

Radu Magdin, Modern Diplomacy (24.02.21)

With the increasingly important digital world, traditional, offline tools and approaches are becoming less and less sufficient and effective in shaping the public conversation, influencing the global or national public opinion, and obtaining trust.

Digital diplomacy in the era of Covid-19

Abdelhafidh Abdeleli, The Swissinfo (18.02.21)

While International Geneva continued to host face-to-face peace talks for war-torn countries like Syria, Libya and Yemen through the pandemic, much of the diplomacy has shifted online. One year on, how effective has online diplomacy actually been? And what does that mean for international diplomacy hubs like Geneva, Vienna or New York?According to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, the UN ran 1,200 important international conferences online between March 2020 and the end of 2020. Digital platforms were implemented early on in the pandemic enabling diplomats to hold conferences and discussions from a distance. This has allowed for activities carried out by the UN and other international organisations on the ground to continue uninterrupted.

FSI’S Pdos now 100% Online

DFA Philippines (03.08.20)

The Foreign Service Institute’s (FSI’s) Functional and Transition Programs Section (FSI – FTPS) conducted its first full online training course

Digital diplomacy: Challenges and opportunities

Ruqayya Alblooshi, Gulf News (28.06.20)

Countries must equip future diplomats with the necessary set of digital skills

New Age diplomacy: Indian envoys & their counterparts brainstorm on digital platform

Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, Economic Times (10.07.20)

A virtual series on ‘Dialogue on Partnership beyond Pandemic’ launched on June 17 is serving as an important platform to bring together Indian envoys in various parts of the world and their counterparts in India with a goal to promote wide-ranging partnerships.

How COVID-19 Has Transformed Multilateral Diplomacy

Stephanie Liechtenstein, WPR (01.06.20)

The coronavirus pandemic has made such breakthroughs impossible. Face-to-face meetings have become rare, as diplomacy is almost exclusively conducted through teleconferences. But what are the consequences of this new form of virtual diplomacy? Could world peace and international security be at risk as a result of the interruptions?

German foreign ministry praises UAE's 'innovative' diplomatic approach

The National (01.06.20)

Taking virtual diplomacy to a whole new level: UAE Minister of State Dr Sultan Al Jaber visiting Berlin and discussing a wide range of issues with key actors in the German government and parliament

Beyond Twiplomacy: Diplomacy and the Digital Fast Forward

Pratnashree Basu, Modern diplomacy (27.05.20)

The practice of diplomacy in the virtual space is geared towards amplifying foreign policy drives and messages and forms a vital and dynamic branch of strategic communication. Now, more than ever before, we are faced with the inexorable certainty of a digital future – a future that has already begun.

Cloud diplomacy: Consular access, demarche move online

Shubhajit Roy, The Indian Express (27.05.20)

Besides virtual summits and phone calls, demarche, consular access and even presentation of credentials have moved to online platforms.

You Can Now Attend VR Meetings—No Headset Required

Julian Chokkattu, Wired (24.05.20)

Virtual-reality workspace startup Spatial is offering a free version for users. All you need is a web browser.

Will Zoomplomacy Last?

Daniel B. Shapiro and Daniel Rakov, foreign Policy (18.05.20)

As the coronavirus rages on, diplomacy has moved completely online—with mixed reviews.

Unprecedented World Health Assembly Convenes Online As Pandemic Rages

Jason Beaubien, NPR (17.05.20)

The 73rd World Health Assembly took place over teleconference with the main focus being the fight against the Coronavirus.

In the age of COVID-19, world leaders struggle to adjust to online diplomacy

Satoshi Sugiyama, The Japan Times (07.05.20)

The Covid-19 pandemic has left traditional diplomacy ground to a halt, superseded by virtual video conferences devoid of close personal contact that has been deemed indispensable in carrying out foreign affairs. While cybersecurity and infrastructure capable of supporting fast and reliable connectivity remain as paramount concerns, one change in the post-COVID-19 world could be global diplomats turning to online diplomacy. The replacement has left many diplomats — deprived of one-on-one, face-to-face parleys to gain trust, and also of opportunities to read between the lines by examining subtle tones and facial cues and then seek some middle ground in negotiations — uneasy.

The Brief – Zoom diplomacy

Georgi Gotev, Euractiv (24.04.20)

Zoom is a video conferencing platform that has been used by the EU and other stakeholders during the COVID-19 crisis when physical meetings have become impossible. We have all discovered these platforms in recent weeks, and they’re OK. But the question is: is it possible to take big decisions online?

The New Normal: Virtual summits and Conference Calls

Andreas Sandre, Medium (20.04.20)

“Diplomacy never stops”, digital diplomacy at all time high with summits and virtual meetings involving the G7, G20, United Nations, US Security Council and more.

For global diplomats, Zoom is not like being in the room

Ryan Heath, Politico (17.04.20)

For diplomats from some of the world’s far-flung and poorer countries, virtual conferences have been a lifeline in climate negotiations for more than a decade. But Zoom diplomacy can be just another dividing line between the haves and have-nots: If your country lacks the funds for elaborate system of embassies or diplomatic travel are likely to have sub-par broadband and 5G connections, too.

Coronavirus Forces Diplomats to Find New Ways to Seal Peace Deals and Forge Agreements

Daniel Michaels, Laurence Norman and Dion Nissenbaum, Wall Street Journal (23.03.20)

While diplomacy involves face to face connections in order to form concrete relationships, diplomats have been successful using other tools, such as encrypted messaging services (ie. WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram) and phone and video calls. Diplomats all over the world are skeptical about only using these platforms, however, the United States showed us that it can be done as diplomats from Qatar brokered a two-hour videoconference between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Diplomacy forced to go virtual (and adapt to modern times) during the spread of Coronavirus

Jovan Kurbalija, Diplo Foundation (06.03.20)

Going virtual, Virtual Diplomacy faces three main challenges: the failures in technology and online platforms & access to internet for all, the fundamental dynamics of human interaction, and new uncertain protocol. Diplomats need to adopt “hybrid diplomacy” which combines both face-to-face and online meetings, USA-Taliban negotiation showed the need for hybrid diplomacy opposed to just Virtual.