Working with the US Department of state and the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana, the event “Enhancing Digital Diplomacy Activities” started today to tackle the challenges and opportunities present in the field of Digital Diplomacy. Participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine will interact with guest speakers from academia, governmental institutions, and the private sector. They will join forces, ideas and best practices to bridge challenges in the field and build a strong network for the future of the project.
The current training will be devoted to discover the potential and opportunities of Digital Diplomacy, trends in the field, promising tools like Facebook and other platforms, but also critically think of challenges and dangers, to find proper solutions. On Sunday morning the participants were addressed by Charge’ d’ Affaires Gautam Rana and Public Affairs Officer Jean B. Leedy from the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana. The training was then set of by Matt Jacobs from the U.S. Department of state and Centre for European Perspective’s very own Project leader Ingrid Omahna, who have been supporting and coordinating the project from the very beginning.
The first day of the training took place in Ljubljana. A discussion by Dr Corneliu Bjola on the value of Digital Diplomacy set a strong theoretical base for the day’s activities. The participants were working closely on developments and opportunities in the field of social media with guest speakers Mathisas Lufkens and Crystal Patterson. Hind Mohamed and Henry Collis from the UK Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office Communications also shared their good practices. The participants equipped their Digital Diplomat’s toolbox on how to analyse data more efficiently, and also got an insight on how to counter Digital Disinformation.
On Monday morning the participants were invited to look back on their experiences and gained knowledge from past trainings. As their workplace encompasses different fields, they also have a broad variety of good practices and ideas to bring to the table. Their final concepts will establish the future direction of the Enhancing Digital Diplomacy Activities project. Participants joined the 2018 edition of the Bled Strategic Forum named Bridging the Divide latter on in the afternoon. Fruitful discussions in the formal and informal environment offered a great opportunity to share knowledge, experience and opinions on multiple topics, certainly also about digital diplomacy.
The third day was also placed at Bled, where the Bled Strategic Forum activities continued. The morning panel discussion named Digital Bridge: Transformation for Institutional Resilience was organized by the Enhancing Digital Diplomacy project and with the support of the U.S. Department of State. Guest speakers from the private sector (Crystal Patterson as the Global Politics and Governmental Outreach Manager representing Facebook and Microsoft Director Corporate Affairs – CEE Dr. Matthias Sachs), academia (Dr. Corneliu Bjola) and media (Nataša Briški as the Co- Founder and editor of Meta’s list) engaged the audience in an open debate regarding technological developments, best practices and experience from their fields of expertise. As the future is digital and evolving rapidly, transformation, flexibility and the will to learn is an essential part of the recipe, that can strengthen Institutional Resilience. (The recorded panel can be accessed below)
The evening continued with the closing ceremony of the project. It was unique from the other trainings, as this time, the participants held a presentation of their ideas on how to expand and strengthen the network. The evening continued in good fashion, with the certificate ceremony, and was also joined by Charge’ d’ Affaires Gautam Rana and Public Affairs Officer Jean B. Leedy from the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana. Although the event came to a conclusion, it is only the beginning of a bright future for the Enhancing Digital Diplomacy Activities project.