After a successful event in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Digital Diplomacy Exchange project team continues with an extensive and engaging program in Podgorica, Montenegro. The training will take place from March 18th through March 19th and will include advanced level digital diplomats, beginners in the topic and all kinds of digital diplomacy enthusiast, that will make the discussion and sharing of best practices limitless.
On Monday the participants of the event were addressed by Mr Jeff Adler representing the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica at the capacity of Public Affairs Officer. The discussion engaged the participants on the topic of disinformation, with lectures by Mr Matt Jacobs and Mr Darjan Vujica, who both currently actively participate in the U.S. Department of state. Both trainers presented the topic of disinformation in a specific way, either from a communication perspective or with more focus on analytics. This enabled the participants to comprehend more closely and clearly, on how disinformation works and disseminated the environment, which enables disinformation to thrive and survive. The participants were engaged in the discussion and not only offered their own opinion and knowledge on the topic, but also valuable experience that addresses the threat of disinformation.
Matt Jacobs tackled two other important topics, namely the way to approach communication in a more structured manor, and how to improve listening to the needs of audiences. We often tend to think of a milestone of communication with the invention of gadgets like the printing press that drastically changed the world we live in. But communication dates much more into the past, and the concept used then are still applicable and useful today, as Mr Jacobs explained with concrete examples, methods and concepts. The discussion also touched upon how to approach communication properly, to reach the engagement and feedback of the audiences in the greatest extent possible, as it is an extensive way to secure transparency and direct democracy.
The program continued with workshops on Tuesday, ranging from morning to the late afternoon, approaching the topic of digital diplomacy in an even more practical and engaging way. Participants were engaged in the practical view of digital campaigns, from their initial planning to purely practical implementation. The discussions were held by Mr Matt Jacobs and Ms Carey Hogg, both experts coming from the U.S. Department of State, who challenged the participants to make their very own digital campaign on the spot. The two groups tackled the topic of public health policies, and devoted attention to the rise of awareness in the field of vital organ donorship. Digital diplomats that were present gave all their expertise, talents and ideas to the debate and produced content with great potential, that would not only raise awareness of a certain policy, but include citizens in their creation, contributing to better conditions in a community for every individual. Transparency, active participation and engagement are therefore only the beginning of multiple possibilities digital diplomacy can embrace.