The global spread of the COVID19 pandemic, and the public health measures put in place to control the virus, have challenged traditional modes of diplomacy. The practice of meeting face to face, shaking hands and carrying out in-person diplomatic functions has been replaced by virtual video conferences, without the close personal inter-action traditionally deployed. Many functions have successfully transitioned into the virtual environment advancing an existing trend towards digital diplomacy including the dividends digitalisation brings for inclusion and reach. However, there are risks that this different way of working, including concerns about the security of online platforms, could inhibit some diplomatic practice and limit the full and effective participation of all.
This Wilton Park event, in partnership with the Norwegian MFA and additional like-minded governments will explore key issues relating to the future of diplomacy, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities posed by the digitalisation of diplomacy that has been accelerated by the COVID19 pandemic. It will be held in two parts. An initial virtual dialogue will bring together thought leaders for a preliminary discussion to scope out key issues and challenges. A second in-person dialogue will bring together a wider cohort of experts and diplomatic stakeholders for in-depth dialogue on the substantive issues considering the opportunities and challenges presented by the future of diplomacy.