First Lady Michelle Obama is welcomed by greeters on the tarmac upon the First Family’s arrival at Monrovia/Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Digital diplomacy on Medium

August 2016 roundup of recent posts on foreign policy and diplomacy.

Last month, I published my first collection of ideas and best practices pertaining to the use of Medium as a digital diplomacy tool.

My quest to see how world leaders and the foreign policy community are embracing Medium continues with a second installment. And I’ll try to post updates regularly (possibly monthly) here on Medium.

Here we go (in no particular order).

1. FIRST LADIES’ DIPLOMACY

Today, we are peeling back the curtain and taking you behind-the-scenes with the First Lady’s new Snapchat account.

The First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama announces her debut on Snapchat on the pages of Medium, a few days before her trip to Liberia, Morocco, and Spain as part of her Let Girls Learn initiative. A photo album and highlights of the trip are on Medium.

The First Lady’s trip is followed by a trip to Africa by Dr. Jill Biden. The Second Lady, wife of Vice President Biden, takes to Medium not only to announce her travel plans, but later also to describe her experience in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Niger.

First Lady Michelle Obama is welcomed by school girls for a roundtable discussion with Freida Pinto and students, in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative, at R.S. Caulfield Senior High School in Unification Town, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

2. TURKEY

Two days after the coup attempt in Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu brings poetry to Medium, and merges it with politics. The poem, by poet Gazizbek Taşimbay, focuses on ‘Turkishness and Turkish solidarity.

Hep yanındayız, bırakmayız kardeşi! [We are always there for you, we won’t let you down!]

3. SILICON VALLEY AND WMDs

Rose Gottemoeller, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, recently appointed as the next NATO Deputy Secretary General (starting October 1, 2016), calls upon government and Silicon Valley to better leverage technology for the fight against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).

My lifetime of work on these issues has also made it clear that Washington, DC does not have a lock on invention.

4. GLOBAL (DIGITAL) CIVILIZATION

For his second post on Medium, the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri chooses an interview to Parag Khanna, author of Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization. The interview, conducted by his social media team Equipo Redes MM, touches upon technology, innovation, and the role of governments, businesses, and civil society.

Todos funcionamos dentro de la conectividad: los gobiernos, las compañías, los individuos. … Es la nueva realidad de un mundo conectado. [We are all connected : governments, companies, individuals. … It is the new reality of a connected world.]

5. US-IRELAND

After all, America wouldn’t be America without the Irish.

A photo essay by former Speaker of the House John Boehner — recommended on Medium by the U.S. Embassy Dublin — details his visit to Dublin and highlights the rich relationships between the United States and Ireland.


Ambassador Susan Rice stands at the Great Wall of China. July, 2016

6. US-CHINA

Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama, bylines a post on the Medium profile of The White House to expand on her fourth trip to China. She describes the results of “America’s principled diplomacy” in China and the need to deepen the cooperation in areas of mutual interest and to manage disagreements wisely.

When China and the United States work together, the world is more secure and our peoples are more prosperous. Our success need not be a zero-sum game.

7. BREXIT IN BRAZIL

Alex Ellis, British Ambassador to Brazil, addresses his constituency in Portuguese to explain the results of the Brexit referendum and the decision by Britain to leave the European Union. His focus is on the resilience of democracy, the economy, and the British people.

Em todo o Reino Unido, e também ao redor do mundo, incluindo no Brasil, as pessoas estão absorvendo o choque da decisão do povo britânico de deixar a União Europeia. [Across the UK, and also around the world, including in Brazil, we are still absorbing the shock after the decision of the British people to leave the European Union.]

8. CLIMATE CHANGE REFUGEES

Are we able to face up to a catastrophe that is of our own creation?

Anote Tong, former president of the Republic of Kiribati, writes on the Medium profile of UNEP to address a very pressing issue for the many atoll island nations in the Pacific and around the world: climate change refugees.

The current migrant crisis from the Northern African continent into Europe and elsewhere would not even compare to the massive displacement caused by climate change in the not too distant future.

9. SYRIA

In a post published on the Medium profile of the US branch of Doctors Without Borders, Natalie Thurtle sheds light on the thousand of Syrian refugees stranded at the berm on the border between Syria and Jordan. The latest estimated number of people there is between 60,000 and 100,000.

Hidden amongst the zeros of these numbers are people, individuals, “ghosts” existing neither in the world they have left nor the world they are running to — trapped, it could be said, between life and death.

10. SOUTH SUDAN

South Sudan appears once more in my roundup as violence rages again in the world’s youngest country, officially formed only 5 years ago. At the end of July, Medium’s curation team added stories about South Sudan on their collections — which includes trending and interesting stories and articles appearing on the top of the Medium homepage.