Centre for European Perspective is joining forces with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the United States Embassy in Slovenia in order to implement a new development project »Enhancing Digital Diplomacy Activities in the Western Balkan and Eastern European Countries” that will address public relations services of the ministries of foreign affairs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine.

The project encompasses a digital diplomacy training course, advanced public relations training and further activities of the alumni network, supported by high-quality supporting materials. Bringing together digital engagement experts from the Department of State, academic or private sector as well as experts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, the programme will strengthen the capacities of the selected countries to plan, coordinate and prepare digital campaigns through various digital communication tools.

On digital diplomacy

Just like about five centuries ago printing press brought a vast rise in literacy, today’s digital information technologies are changing the way of collecting and transmitting data. We live in a time where hasty revolutionary innovations, rapid technological changes, ubiquitous connectivity, the availability to process the large amounts of data, algorithmic management and digital literacy, are becoming an inevitable reality.

Global mass communications and advances in new information and telecommunication technologies are presenting a new challenge to the traditional way of conducting international relations. Increased availability, accessibility and speed of the transmission of large quantities of information to the global audience in real time is causing more and more complex management of state affairs. The environment of diplomacy is importantly changing. As digital diplomacy information technologies influence the interconnection of international actors, they enable the possibility of bypassing traditional authorities in accessing the information and consequently impact the speed of decision-making processes. While the mode of conducting diplomacy is changing, it is forced to communicate with many new actors in the international stage through new means of communication. Confronted with a time pressure it still has to remain credible, responsive and transparent.

New challenges for the traditional institutions

Unlike traditional diplomacy, digital diplomacy allows anyone, everyone, anywhere, anytime to have a voice. Individuals are no longer just passive receivers of information, but can correspond directly and horizontally. They actively respond, comment, influence, and form public opinion. Since one-way communication no longer exists, their support is crucial in gaining support for the successful shaping and implementation of policies. In order to achieve the credibility of the implemented policies, the broadest segments of the population must be involved in the decision-making process.