Highlights from the Summit on Digital Diplomacy and Governance

The nature of digital diplomacy and governance has changed. What was once a discussion about the internet and the technology behind it has now expanded to tackling almost every facet of everyday life. ‘Digital’ is everywhere.

Throughout these enormous transformations, Diplo has always been years ahead with its cutting-edge research and training. Since its beginnings as a visionary project in digital diplomacy two decades ago, Diplo has been a pioneer in online training, paving the way for online meetings, and establishing a presence in virtual worlds. The organisation’s innovations have outlasted the surrounding hype.

Diplo’s 20th anniversary presented an opportunity to stock-take the past developments in digital diplomacy and governance and propel the work of diplomats and policy specialists into the next decade. The Summit on Digital Diplomacy and Governance, held on 17–19 November 2022 in the idyllic setting of Malta, was organised by Diplo in cooperation with its founding partners, the Governments of Malta and Switzerland, who expressed their commitment to usher Diplo into the next decade.

The discussions were guided by Diplo’s three-track approach to digital diplomacy: The Summit provided strategic foresight and 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 also fulfilled the role of an open consultation 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.

Africa held a special place throughout the Summit. Diplo’s landmark study, Stronger digital voices from Africa: Building African digital foreign policy and diplomacy, served as a backdrop for discussions with high-level delegations from Africa.

Read our Summit reports: