Digital diplomacy on Medium

May 2017 roundup of recent posts on foreign policy and diplomacy.

This is my tenth Medium roundup. These pasts 10 months have seen a steady increase in the use of the platform by world leaders, ambassadors, and political candidates.

Among the latest debuts on Medium, that of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (as CanadianPM) who launched his official channel this past month — although without posting actively yet.

A new Medium presence also that of Agenda4Humanity, an account managed by United Nations OCHA. They debuted with a post on the UN Agenda for Humanity’s five core responsibilities.

“It is exciting to see the global diplomatic community finding a home here and reaching new audiences with their important perspectives,” Matt Higginson, Medium’s head of politics and government affairs told us a few months back.

Indeed, the platform has created new opportunities of engagement with audiences interested in understanding how the international community interacts with all stakeholders, including civil society, the corporate community, and all of us as citizens of the world.

This series shows exactly that. The goal is to empower storytelling and offer best practices and creative new ideas to engage audiences — young and old — even on topics that are highly controversial and often less debated.


Got ideas for future posts? Or you want to write about digital diplomacy or technology and innovation in foreign policy? Ping me here or on Twitter, write a response to this post, or submit your post by email.


1. FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

As France is about to go to the polls again to choose the next president, the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri Paris-Bruxelles) looks at how public spending impacts foreign policy, in a post co-authored by Michel Pébereau and F Monlouis-Félicité of the Institut de l'entreprise.

France no longer has a choice. At stake is not only France’s credibility on the world stage and in the eyes of its European partners, but also the confidence of investors, which is crucial to refinancing France’s debt. We must bring down the deficit. This requires structural reforms as well as cuts and changes to public spending, in the interest of growth and social cohesion.

Meanwhile, presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron takes to Medium to examine the status of the French economy and what he proposes for the future, including economic and social regulations that adapt to the digital age. Macron will face Marine Le Pen — who’s not on Medium — on May 7 in the second run-off of the election.

Notre pays a besoin de se doter des régulations économiques et sociales de l’âge du numérique.
Our country needs to embrace economic and social regulations for the digital era.

2. CLIMATE CHANGE

In an excerpt from his new book Climate of Hope, Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of the City of New York and founder of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, puts climate change into a political and social perspective ahead of the climate march that hit many cities around the world.

The changing climate should be seen as a series of discrete, manageable problems that can be attacked from all angles simultaneously. Each problem has a solution. And better still, each solution can make our society healthier and our economy stronger. […] The benefits of taking action on climate change are tangible, immediate, and vast — but too few political leaders are talking about them.

Not only Bloomberg has been very active in the fight against climate change, in 2014 he was appointed United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change by then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the same year he launched the Compact of Mayors, that recently merged with the Covenant of Mayors to become The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. His Bloomberg Cities project is also active on Medium and recently published a post on how cities are fighting climate change.


3. WORLD LEADERS ON INSTAGRAM

World leaders are pouring to Instagram, whose user base has doubled to 700 million monthly actives in two years, fueled by Stories, web signups, and better onboarding on low-end Android phones. Matthias Lüfkens analyses the results of a recent Burson-Marsteller study on how heads of state and government use the social media platform.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and world leaders have taken this to heart in adopting Instagram as part of their communications. Over the past five years, governments and world leaders have flocked to the mobile photo and video sharing social network to share their official pictures with a worldwide audience.

4. THE ITALIAN PRESIDENCY OF THE G7

Ahead of the G7 summit, to take place in Italy on may 26–27, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni travels to Washington for a meeting with President Donald Trump. During his visit he stopped at the CSIS to speak about global security challenges, the Mediterranean, and the upcoming G7 summit, chaired by Italy.

We must have the capacity and wisdom to address the lack of economic perspective in many regions around the Mediterranean, by actively promoting development and social inclusiveness. This falls into the priorities of the current Italian G7 Presidency, which focuses among other things on management of human mobility; stability in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa region; inclusive growth; education; prevention of terrorism.
Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni with US President Trump at the White House, April 20, 2017 (Credits: Office of the Italian Prime Minister).

On the G7 also the U.S. Department of State with a post on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s attendance to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Lucca, Italy.


5. NORTH KOREA

A post by the U.S. Department of State highlights Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent address to the UN Security Council on the situation in North Korea.

For too long, the international community has been reactive in addressing North Korea. Those days must come to an end.

On the same issue also a post by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of UKUN_NewYork on how Britain is tackling the threat of North Korea.

DPRK nuclear activity defies international law, and its obligations under the UN Charter to abide by decisions of the Security Council. Their continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the ballistic missiles that can deliver them, pose growing dangers both for countries in the region and across the world.

December 2016: MSF is currently running mobile clinics in 7 migrant detention center located in Tripoli and its surroundings which are under the administration of the Department for Combatting Illegal Migrations (DCIM). Conditions inside the detention centers do not meet any national, regional or international standards and are often former factories or warehouses. Photo: MSF

6. LIBYA

Since mid-2014, the humanitarian situation there has deteriorated due to the resumption of the civil war and the political instability it brings. Millions of people across Libya are impacted, including refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants.

Tankred Stoebe, current president of MSF Germany, travels through Misrata, Sirte, and Tripoli on assignment with Doctors Without Borders (MSF).


Photo Credit: Hazel Thompson

7. RWANDA’S GENOCIDE

Laurie Adams, President of Women for Women Intl, commemorates the 23rd anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in a post that reflects on what it takes to rebuild after mass atrocities and pays tribute to people around the world that are demonized and targeted because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, or language.

The resurgence of violence and conflict whether it is in South Sudan or Syria or South Africa, teaches us that even though officially a conflict may end, the impact of violence is long term and to address it we must have long term strategies. In order to work, our strategies must involve local communities, especially women, at every level.

8. WOMEN IN CRISIS

Armed conflicts. Earthquakes and storms. Deadly disease outbreaks. Such crises destroy human lives and communities with striking regularity. Each year, they hit dozens of countries in every region of the world, sometimes with no warning at all. Women and girls are among those most vulnerable to the consequences — and most vital to recovering from them.

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, highlights how women in crisis area are not only ‘victims’, but also those who bravely step forward first to help others.

They mobilize their communities and care for their families, often singlehandedly.

9. CANADA’S GROWTH SUMMIT

The Public Policy Forum, an independent, non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the quality of government in Canada through dialogue among leaders from all sectors of Canadian society, publishes a gallery of videos of their Growth Summit II. Videos include a conversation with Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland.


10. JOE BIDEN AT PENN

Former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks to students at Penn.

You are the most incredible generation. You are the most generous generation in American history, and the best educated generation of American history. You volunteer more, you’re more open-minded.

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