Tag Archives: Ediplomacy

Facing Indonesia :: World’s Largest Muslim Population

The Interpreter Fergus Hanson’s blog from the Lowy Institute for International Policy, cites the great leap upward for
Embassy Jakarta’s Facebook fans. The Interpreter’s banner photo is worth the price of admission.

President Obama’s visit to Indonesia in February 2010 was a pivotal event for the increase from 50,000 to nearly 310,000. Hanson proposes that State Department financial support played a role in outreach that drove new fans to the Embassy’s site. But it’s not clear that extra public outreach funding was forthcoming at that time, or since.

The viral nature of social media pushes audience growth exponentially. If the content grabs, Facebook connections ensue. Maybe Embassy Jakarta’s Facebook site is the place to be for Indonesian social medians. If you want to reach people you speak their language and the Embassy’s Facebook site displays Bahasa Indonesian. Would be interesting to see the metrics on where those 309,878 fans live and vote.


Collaboration :: Co-LAB

The 21st c. laboratory of collaboration is the web, not a conference table.

Writer Oliver Marks explores changes in the business of government and international relations in his blog Collaboration 2.0
He covers the primary platforms of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy, where I work. The collaborative products include Diplopedia which is the Department’s online encyclopedia, Communities@State where groups collaborate and share information, and the Secretary of State’s Sounding Board blog where employees submit ideas for process improvement and comment on implementing changes.

Ecocide::Will UN Treat Seriously?

Ecocide — an international crime to destroy or contaminate the environment that humans live in.

Sustainabilitank.info reports that supporters of a new ecocide law  believe it could be used to prosecute “climate deniers” who distort science and facts to mislead the uninformed and to discourage voters and politicians from tackling climate change and environmental degredation.

British innovator and lawyer Polly Higgins presents a declaration of planetary rights, and a proposal that declares mass destruction of ecosystems a crime on a par with genocide.  Well, actually, destroying where humans live is the essential genocide, not “on a par with”.

Consider ::  Will it matterwhether it is a crime to eliminate any categories of humans  (genocide) if there is no habitable place for any humans?

Social Media :: Diplomacy and Democracy

Who formulates best practices for social media in government? 

In the U.S., there are several groups who establish governance for using social media for government communications and collaboration.  Webcontent.gov   provides general guidance.  Web Manager University offers orientation for web professionals new to government practices vis a vis social media. The  Web Content Managers Forum may have restrictions for membership.

At the Department of State, The Public Webmasters Symposium offers best practices for eDiplomats. 

In a quasi e-treaty, Estonia and Spain have signed a safer social networking agreement.  The signatories pledged to advise the European Commission of their  self-declaration and to explain how they plan to implement the provisions described in the agreement. 

Read more about the principles here:  http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/social_networking/eu_action/selfreg/index_en.htm



Online Diplomacy :: Who Is?

Nations that demonstrate a commitment to transparency maintain an online presence.  Many are actively involved in eDiplomacy. Global citizens have the opportunity of learning more about other countries as well as their own.

Randomly selected by skipping through the alphabet, here’s how a few countries are using online communication to manage international relations and the political process.

Algeria’s Ministère des Affaires Etrangères subscribes to transparency with a list of their recently recruited diplomatic staff.

In addition to a clearly enumerated statement of the activities and responsibilities of the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their website also  provides contact information for its former Ambassadors. Could those experienced diplomats be instrumental in fostering citizen diplomacy?

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office uses new media effectively to communicate with citizens and global interlocutors.  Do you think these Foreign Ministry office directors write their own blogs?

Estonia votes online.  No surprise :: early adapters.

Drill through the bilingual site of the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and there’s a page on the Ministry’s historical buildings, the brink and mortar version of their website.

Mexico‘s Secretariat of External Relations website offers standard lineup, but Mexico Government Podcasts and internet radio station reach beyond standard gov-website fare.

New Zealand‘s foreign office website offers an array of information on regional issues. Don’t see any blogs by ministers.

The Republic of Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs displays tourism and business facts for site visitors.

The United States of America uses the term eDiplomacy to describe collaborative online efforts to facilitate international relations. Dipnote is the official blog.

Difficult to say how e-diplomacy functions based on a visit to the Republic of Zambia website. In the pull down menu under Government, there doesn’t seem to be a cabinet position dedicated to foreign relations.

Other notable practitioners of eDiplomacy?

Diplomacy Before E :: Eternal E Space

My abridged edition of Sam Johnson’s Dictionary, published in 1755 as one of the earliest efforts to compile a comprehensive English dictionary,  does not list “Diplomacy”.

“Diploma” appears where Diplomacy might have perched, on the page that starts with “didder” — to quake with cold; to shiver; a provincial word. — and ends with “disadventurous” — unhappy; unprosperous.  “Diploma,” Samuel Johnson states,  is a letter or writing conferring come privilege, so called because they used formerly to be written on waxed tables, and folded together.

No word for “blog” either, but “to blabber” means whistle to a horse.  Try blabbering for a taxi on a crowded wet urban street.

Hachette explains that “diplomacy” means “diplomatie” a feminine noun in French, where the codified practice of acting diplomatically is said to have originated.  One suspects diplomacy long predates European recorded history.

E-anything has come to mean an activity in an electronic environment, but “electronic” seems an antiquated word for the digital environment.

Do we communicate in an E space, if E stands for ether, everything, existential, ephemeral, esoteric, eternal, entropy, expanding, energy, endemic?

Where does the practice of “diplomacy” – defined by Penguin English Dictionary as the management of international relations; tactful skill in dealing with other people – mesh with etiquette  and ethics in everyday life?

Further Reading:

Freeman Dyson reflects on the eternity of digital worlds in the Page-Barbour Lectures given at the University of Virginia in March, 2004. Thomas Page was a diplomat and writer and the lectures were originally funded in 1907 by Thomas Page’s spouse, a Barbour family member.

Dyson, Freeman J. A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe. Charlottesville:Univ of Virginia Press, 2007.


Corréard, Marie-Hélène and Valerie Grundy. The Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary. New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1994.

Garmonsway, G.N with Jacqueline Simpson. The Penguin English Dictionary. Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd. 1965.

McAdam, E. L. Jr. and George Milne. Johnson’s Dictionary A Modern Selection. New York: Pantheon Books. 1963