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Technology is having a profound impact on the core functions of diplomacy. The role of diplomacy in the digital era is changing: from geopolitical and societal changes in the environment where diplomacy operates, to new issues on diplomatic agendas, to new digital tools aiding the work of diplomats. 

The Summit on Digital Diplomacy and Governance, organised by DiploFoundation in cooperation with Malta’s Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, will look ahead at the future of diplomacy by reflecting on the past decades, marked by the use of technology in and for diplomacy.

Diplomats, academics, technologists, and NGO representatives will discuss digital diplomacy and governance, AI, e-commerce, cybersecurity, and other issues that shape our digital future, as well as policy processes including ongoing negotiations on the proposed Global Digital Compact.

Strategic foresight will be combined with practical insights on how to navigate the fast-changing digital geopolitics, how to negotiate new digital topics on the diplomatic agenda, and how to use new tools in diplomacy from social media, data, to AI and the metaverse.

The Summit will also mark 20 years of DiploFoundation and 30 years of internet and diplomacy research and training in Malta.

Join us for the Summit on Digital Diplomacy and Governance on Friday 18th November and Saturday 19th November 2022.

The discussions, which will be preceded by a pre-event on Thursday, 17th November 2022, will feature practical examples of digital diplomacy and governance from countries, international organisations, tech companies, and other actors. 

Visit the Diploversary page to find out more about Diplo’s history. For queries, write to us at malta@diplomacy.edu

Register to participate in the Summit

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DRAFT PROGRAMME

We’re co-creating the programme with inputs from speakers, delegates, and the digital policy community, so please check in regularly to see the latest updates to the programme. Your feedback is most welcome. Write to us at malta@diplomacy.edu

(Time is UTC+1)

Pre-event – Thursday, 17th November 2022

The pre-event will be dedicated to discussions among policy communities and groups on:

  • Humanitarian diplomacy
  • AI and data diplomacy
  • EU network of digital and cyber ambassadors
  • Digital diplomacy research community 
  • Online learning and publishing: meeting with Diplo’s faculty
  • Future of Online Learning (faculty)

The programme for the pre-event is being developed in consultations with concerned policy communities.

Day 1 – Friday, 18th November 2022

08:30 – 09:00 Welcome coffee and registration
09:00 – 09:45 High-level opening
09:45 – 10:15   Setting the scene: The three pillars of digital diplomacy

The role of diplomacy in the digital era is changing: from geopolitical and societal changes in the environment where diplomacy operates, to new issues on diplomatic agendas, to new digital tools aiding the work of diplomats. 

This session will set the scene: In light of fast technological advancements, what does the future hold for diplomacy?

10:15 – 10:45   Conference photo and coffee break
10:45 – 12:30  Digital governance and cooperation: Towards a Global Digital Compact

Digital governance topics – from privacy and cybersecurity, to e-commerce and data and AI – are firmly prominent on the agendas of the UN, G7, G20, and other diplomatic meetings. 

One of the main UN processes relates to the Global Digital Compact, an initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2021, which will outline shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all, and which will be agreed at the UN Summit of the Future in 2024. 

The session will be an important open consultation on the Compact, which will be facilitated by the UN Tech Envoy. It will reflect on the issues and shared principles which should be addressed by the Compact, and how the diplomatic community can address them. 

Round-table consultations:

  1. Connectivity and accessibility: Two sides of the same coin?
  2. Governing data: Are trusted data spaces an answer to fostering trust, and what guidelines should be in place? 
  3. AI and other emerging technologies: Innovation or regulation?
  4. Future generations: How can we protect their rights?
  5. Building capacities and skills: How can a culture of capacity development be incorporated into institutions’ work?
  6. Values and principles: What other issues should the Compact address?
12:30 – 13:30  Networking lunch (outdoors weather-permitting)
13:30 – 14:45  Diplomatic processes: The state of play in negotiations

Digital policy topics are negotiated in multiple digital governance processes. For instance, cybersecurity is tackled at the UN and other multilateral working groups. E-commerce negotiations at multilateral and plurilateral fora are often a reflection of what is negotiated in agreements on a regional level. The development of AI principles are often initiated by the private sector. 

This session will reflect on the latest policy processes and their current state of play. 

Break-out sessions:

  • [Room 1] Cybersecurity: What’s happening at the UN General Assembly’s First and Third Committees, the Open-ended Working Group, and the Programme of Action? 
  • [Room 2] E-commerce and trade: How is the landscape of trade agreements changing?
  • [Room 3] Digital diplomacy in the EU: How is the EU’s digital and cyber diplomacy carried out, and which are the main fora?
14:45 – 15:15  Coffee break (outdoors weather-permitting)
15:15 – 16:30  Emerging technologies: New issues on diplomatic agendas 

Advanced technologies are developing fast, fuelling unprecedented opportunities and creating risks. They are also bringing to light old and new issues that will affect their future development, and the impact of technology on society and future generations. 

The session will be dedicated to emerging issues, their impact on humanity, and  how actors need to approach the fast developments in technology.

Round-tables:

  1. The metaverse: Old wine in new bottles?     
  2. Enabling safety, security and accountability: What are the trade-offs?
  3. Ethics and values: How are emerging technologies redefining the core social and ethical pillars of humanity?
  4. Cryptocurrencies and fintech: What can governments do to prepare for the digitalisation of the global economy? Are we crypto-ready?
  5. Children and technology: Which emerging policy gaps need to be addressed?
  6. Getting ready for quantum computing: Innovation or regulation?
16:30 – 17:00 High-level address: Wrapping up Day 1 
19:00 – 21:00  Dinner

Day 2 – Saturday, 19th November 2022

08:45 – 09:30 Departure to Valletta
09:30 – 09:45 High-level address by high-official of Malta
09:45 – 10:30  How can we prepare diplomats for 2032 and beyond?

Today’s diplomats will act substantively differently in 2032. There are many ‘known unknowns’ of 2032. It is certain that AI will automate many ‘white collar’ jobs. The session will focus on various questions on the topic, including:

  • Which diplomatic functions will survive automation? Can we expect to be negotiating with ‘robot diplomats’ in the near future? 
  • Will consular services be fully automated? What role will other technologies and applications – virtual reality, metaverse, etc. – play in the conduct of diplomacy? 
  • Ultimately, what should we teach today’s students and young diplomats in order to prepare them for the uncertainties of the world after 2030?
10:30 – 11:00  Coffee break
11:00 – 12:00  Walking tour of Valletta
12:00 – 12:30  Departure from Valletta
12:30 – 14:00  Seated lunch at the conference venue
14:00 – 14:15   Plenary session preceding three-pillar How-to sessions 
14:15 – 14:45   How-to sessions – Part I

Break-out sessions:

  • [Room 1] Digital geopolitics: How can we identify strategic trends in technological developments while avoiding pitfalls and hype? 
  • [Room 2] Digital topics: How are countries and the private sector continuing to react to the spread of disinformation in light of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war?  
  • [Room 3] Digital tools: How can we ensure effective use of social media, and other emerging online spaces such as the metaverse, in diplomacy?
14:45 – 15:15   How-to sessions – Part II

Break-out sessions:

  • [Room 1] Digital geopolitics: How can we deal with risks in the fast-changing world?
  • [Room 2] Digital topics: How can diplomatic negotiations contribute to speeding up the Agenda 2030? 
  • [Room 3] Digital tools: How can we organise, manage, and chair hybrid meetings more effectively?
15:15 – 15:45   How-to sessions – Part III

Break-out sessions:

  • [Room 1] Digital geopolitics: How can small and developing countries navigate the emerging digital ‘bipolar world’?
  • [Room 2] Digital topics: How should we negotiate digital commons and public goods?
  • [Room 3] Digital tools: How is data and AI being used for strategic planning, simulation, diplomatic foresight, and education and training?
15:45 – 16:00  Coffee beak
16:00 – 16:45  Plenary wrap-up and final messages
19:00 – 19:30  Departure for anniversary reception venue
19:30 – 21:30  Anniversary reception
Speakers

Prime Minister Robert Abela

Malta’s Prime Minister

Minister Ian Borg

Malta’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade

Mr Moctar Yedaly

Minister of Digital Transformation and Innovation, Government of Mauritania

Mr Amandeep Singh Gill

UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology

Dr Maja Carrieri

Director, Governance Services, WMO

Ms Anne-Rachel Inné

Executive Director Government Affairs and Public Policy at ARIN

Dr Christopher Lamb

Frm Australian Ambassador and Humanitarian Diplomacy Head at IFRC

Amb. Kishan Rana

Professor Emeritus, former Indian Ambassador, and a joint secretary to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

Mr Martin Rauchbauer

Fmr Austrian Technology Ambassador in Silicon Valley

Ms Nanjira Sambuli

Researcher, policy analyst, and strategist

Dr Anja Vischer

Senior Emerging Risk Manager, Swiss Re

Frequently asked questions

About the Summit

The Summit is being organised by DiploFoundation, supported by Malta’s Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade, and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Summit will be held in Malta, at the Radisson Golden Sands in Mellieha. Parts of the Summit will be livestreamed to enable delegates who are unable to travel to participate online.

The Summit will serve as:

  • a global gathering of digital ambassadors, tech envoys, and cyber diplomats
  • an occasion to reflect beyond traditional narratives and think of new solutions for the new era
  • an important consultation on the Global Digital Compact, an initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2021 which will be agreed at the UN Summit of the Future in 2024
  • a celebration of 20 years of Diplo and 30 years of training and research on digital diplomacy in Malta

There is no fee for participating online.

To participate in person in Malta, the fee is EUR 350, which includes lunches, coffee breaks, and receptions organised as part of the programme; and transport from the reception venues (Day 1 and 2, evenings) and to Valletta (Day 2). Delegates are responsible for making their own travel and accommodation arrangements. Please refer to the FAQs section on ‘Participating in person’ for more details.

The fee will be waived for students, Diplo alumni, and delegates from small and developing countries. This is possible thanks to the support of Malta’s Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade.

Our Summit and Media Pack contains information about the Summit, including the latest version of the programme, speakers’ biographies, travel information for delegates attending the Summit in person, information about the venue, and other useful material.

Documents as part of the Summit and Media Pack can be downloaded individually.

Participating in person

To participate in person, please fill in the registration form. In the last question on the form (‘Summit participation’), please choose the option ‘I will be attending the Summit in Malta’.

Once we receive your registration, we will contact you shortly with an invoice to cover the participation fee and the payment details.

Delegates are responsible to book their own flights to Malta and accommodation.

The Summit will be held in Malta, at the Radisson Golden Sands. The venue is located on the western coast of Malta overlooking the Mediterranean Sea (click here for Google Maps).

Day 1 (all day), and Day 2 (afternoon): The plenary parts of the Summit will take place in the Radisson’s Ballroom, whereas break-out sessions will take place in adjacent meeting rooms. Details will be provided to delegates in the final version of the programme.

Day 2 (morning): The high-level segment on Day 2 will take place in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. Shuttles will be provided to all Summit delegates from the venue in Mellieha to Valletta. A walking tour around Valletta is also planned. Shuttles will take delegates back to the Summit venue in Mellieha for a seated lunch, followed by the afternoon segment of the programme.

The Summit venue (Radisson Golden Sands, Mellieha) offers a variety of room options. Click here for more details.

You can book your accommodation at the Radisson Golden Sands through the hotel’s website. Preferential rates for Summit delegates are available by using the code ‘Diplo20‘. The code will be activated on 21 September 2022.

A limited fund is available to support delegates from small and developing countries. The limited fund covers travel, accommodation, and the participation fee, but excludes costs related to visa entry. The fund is available thanks to the support of Malta’s Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade.

First preference will be given to diplomats and government officials from small and developing countries. In order to qualify for support, applicants must be nominated by the employing department, ministry, or organisation. Submit your request, together with the nomination letter, to malta@diplomacy.edu.

For queries, write to us at malta@diplomacy.edu, indicating your organisation/position, and your country of origin/residence.

The organiser can issue invitations only to diplomats and government officials, upon approval by the organising committee. When registering, please use your official email address. Kindly send your request for an invitation letter, using the same official email address, to malta@diplomacy.edu.

Participating online

To participate online, please fill in the registration form. In the last question on the form (‘Summit participation’), please choose the option ‘I will be participating online’.

Once we receive your registration, we will contact again closer to the date to send you a personalised link to join online.

Our trained online moderators will ensure that you will be able to participate fully during the Summit.

Yes, most parts of the Summit will be open for online participation.

Some elements, such as the high-level segment on the second day, will not be livestreamed since the event will take place outside the Summit venue.

Practical information for the Press

Yes. You can opt to participate in person, or online. Kindly register via the form, and indicate that you are a member of the Press. We will reach out to you with regular updates.

You can request an (exclusive) interview with any of the speakers during the Summit. Kindly email us at malta@diplomacy.edu with your request, and we will facilitate any interview(s).

We will invite all journalists who submit their registration form to access our Summit and Media Pack, which includes information intended for the press and media (such as links to our press releases, full resolution images of speakers, etc).

Documents as part of the Summit and Media Pack can be downloaded individually.