The rapid development of digital communication technology impacts our lives in myriad ways. It does not seem so far ago when we were faxing long press releases to journalists to where we are now when 280 characters can do the same job, occasionally with an even more significant impact. Digital communications and social media are transforming pillars of a democratic society. It is more important than ever for governments to understand their responsibilities and roles in ensuring that their institutions are prepared to adapt and adopt new practices to cement their place within this new digital information economy.

That is why representatives from 19 countries convened to ensure that they, together, are ready to rise to any and all resulting challenges. The participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine joined us in Portorož for 4-day long training from March 21st to 24th within the scope of European Digital Diplomacy Exchange project.

The training titled »Turning Practice into Strategy, Structures, and Systems” focused on retrieving already obtained digital communication skills, as well as polishing and advancing them. Various international speakers coming from the US State Department, the Slovenian government, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NATO spoke to us about digital rhetoric, marketing public affairs, nation branding, the importance of the audience approach as well as social listening and performance analysis. Crisis communication was also addressed, as well as how to counter disinformation and design digital strategies and ways of cooperation within governments, ministries and embassies.

There were quite a few practical exercises during the training, through which participants put their theoretical knowledge into practice – by preparing a digital strategy that will be of help when establishing a national digital strategy. A very important part of the training was time to connect and network, and the participants made the most of it.

The project is a result of cooperation between the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana, and the Centre for European Perspective.

The project is partially financed by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia in the scope of the program activities of international development cooperation.