The expert exchange, developed in partnership with the FCO and the US based EastWest Institute, brought together up to 50 practitioners for creative engagement on new approaches to decentralised diplomacy in an increasingly networked world.
It is increasingly recognised that diplomacy is no longer solely the purview of governments. The globalised nature of many foreign policy challenges (counter-terrorism, climate change, pandemics, cyber threats), cannot be addressed in traditional bilateral or even multilateral contexts. Many non-state actors work effectively cross-border without government control (university exchanges, media networks, philanthropic projects, business). Diplomats ignore these developments at their peril: it’s the wise ambassador who seeks to leverage influence by finding common ground with non-traditional allies. These partners, in turn, increase their effectiveness by working closely with creative, nimble diplomats. This multiplier effect has been widely studied and discussed. However, the shift from academic theory to practical application in day to day diplomacy is still under-powered: there is scope to increase impact and maximise marginal gains through more systematic cross sector collaboration between current practitioners and ‘new’ actors.
Through frank and off the record discussion the expert exchange aimed to:
- share best practice, effective strategies and creative approaches to inform future working
- build a strong network among participants to enhance future collaboration
- generate a report summarising key takeaways and conclusions to be widely shared beyond the participants
- individual impacts are identified through WP’s standard M and E process, including periodic follow up