Falling Walls Science Summit, Nov 7 to 9




Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Technology

Falling Walls 2021: Breaking the Walls of Old-School Trade Diplomacy
7 – 9 November 2021, Berlin

The Falling Walls Science Summit 2021 took place as an in-person event again this year in Berlin, and for the sixth time a GDL member got the chance to make another wall fall. This year GDL member Volkan Sezgin got the unique opportunity to present his pitch on “Breaking the Walls of Old-School Trade Diplomacy” at the Grand Finale of the 2021 Falling Walls Lab on 7 November in Berlin.

Each year on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Falling Walls Lab Finale and the subsequent conference provide an opportunity to bring together brilliant thinkers from a multitude of fields. Promising scientists, entrepreneurs and young professionals from all over the globe present their ideas and breakthroughs – “the next walls to fall” – and the world’s leading minds discuss the contemporary challenges facing humankind and the newest achievements in their respective fields.

Following the COVID-19-related disruption to the global economies which pushed some economies into recession while others were strained by financial difficulties, most developed and emerging market economies strived to protect their economies and domestic markets by applying different types of trade-related restrictions. Marked by the pandemic, the future of global trade relations now seems even more complicated than before. Volkan’s pitch uncovered new ways to shape old-fashioned, non-digital trade diplomacy, particularly after the pandemic.

According to Volkan, trade diplomacy should now be based more on digital (remote) trade fairs and conferences, and trade agreements, which lie at the heart of trade diplomacy, should focus on inserting digital aspects and seek ways to increase bilateral trade, particularly using digital technologies like blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to level up global trade in general. “Whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic will be over soon, rapid digitalisation requires a reformation of old-fashioned trade diplomacy,” said Volkan.

Find out more about other GDL members who participated in the Falling Walls Lab before, such as Ivana Petrov who pitched the GDL under the slogan “Breaking the Wall of Exclusive Diplomacy” in 2019 and Tarek Alsaleh who presented his reform idea of the aid sector “Breaking the Wall of Localising Aid” in 2018.

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