Permanent Mission of The Republic of Singapore - Geneva

Singapore and DiploFoundation partner to unlock the potential of Digital Diplomacy for Small States



8 May 2018, Geneva – The Permanent Mission of Singapore and DiploFoundation teamed up to help small delegations acquire knowledge on digital trends and their implications on diplomacy.

A full-day workshop on Data and Digital Diplomacy was conducted by DiploFoundation on 26 April 2018 for more than 30 diplomats from a cross-regional group of small states including Austria, Bhutan, Croatia, Djibouti, El Salvador, Fiji, Lao PDR, Maldives, Monaco, Paraguay, Qatar, Switzerland, Slovenia, Togo, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. 

The participants learned about various digital and data tools and how they could be used in the areas of public diplomacy, information gathering and reporting.

Ms Aishath Shahula, First Secretary from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives said: “I am especially grateful for the topics covered on how to access big data including online data, sensor data and textual data which I believe is very useful in my daily tasks as a diplomat, for instance in collecting information, in negotiations and also in writing reports. The introduction for internet governance – digital policy processes chapter – was also very helpful and provided important information on how and why small states should be more engaged on the ongoing policy processes in Geneva.”

Mr Oliver Hoehne, Deputy Head of the Multilateral Division and Head of the Global Affairs Team from the Permanent Mission of Switzerland, also found the workshop relevant and timely. 

He said: “The workshop reflected the relevance and breadth of this fast evolving domain, and I particularly appreciated the diversity of interventions combining Geneva-based expertise with guests from elsewhere. This workshop certainly calls for a follow-up.”

Ambassador Foo Kok Jwee, Permanent Representative of Singapore to UNOG, agreed on the importance of keeping up to speed on digital developments and said: “Technology and digitisation are fast-changing the way we live our lives, the way we work, and disrupting jobs and professions, including the conduct of diplomacy. We initiated this workshop to aid fellow small delegations keep track of these developments and to explore how digital tools can help improve their work. We hope to continue collaborating with DiploFoundation and other partners to help small delegations stay current on digital trends and other related issues like internet governance and cybersecurity.”

Prof. Jovan Kurbalija, Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform explained that: “In order to realise the potential of digital tools, training has to start from the reality of small missions, which often have few diplomats in Geneva. As the workshop has shown, these digital tools are available. The missing link is their integration into the daily routines of diplomatic missions, from reporting to negotiating and networking. In this endeavour, we are proud to partner with Singapore, one of the leading digital small states. The next step is made on a journey to turn digital potential into diplomatic reality.”

This workshop was specially organised for members of the Forum of Small States (FOSS), an informal grouping of more than 100 small member states of the United Nations first formed in New York more than 25 years ago. 

Prof. Jovan Kurbalija, Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform conducting the session on “An Introduction to e-diplomacy”.
Dr Stephanie Borg Psaila, Director of Digital Policy and Ms Barbara Rosen Jacobson, Programme Manager at DiploFoundation and the Geneva Internet Platform “crowdsourcing” for participants’ views on what tools diplomats should use in their work.
Ambassador Foo Kok Jwee, Permanent Representative of Singapore to UNOG, addressing the workshop participants.

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