The forms and ways of traditional diplomacy have changed.
“Governments no longer have a monopoly on setting the international agenda,” says Rong Yang and Trinidad Soana adds: “Too often, we see politicians brainstorming with other politicians and scientists brainstorming with other scientists.”
Technology and globalisation are changing the conditions for diplomacy. It is no longer just governments that act diplomatically, but societies themselves, people who exchange ideas and cooperate on the same issues across borders. GDL member Trinidad Saona gives the example of water scarcity: “I realised that water scarcity is a global issue that cannot be solved by any one government on its own. Expertise needs to be pooled globally. And that successful implementation of solutions no longer requires governments alone, but also actors such as NGOs, civil society, because they have direct, concrete expertise in many areas.”
Diverse international groups can solve issues better, but also work on their own composition. In particular, gender balance is an important issue, according to Trinidad: “A problem that not only exists in Latin America is that the diplomatic service is dominated by males. In order to rise to the world’s challenges, we cannot afford not to tap into the brainpower of half the global population.”
Both interviewees see the importance of international and sustainable partnerships. Whether it is the coming together of Chinese and Germans, who work on better mutual understanding, or an international network such as the Gender Alliance, which works on gender equality worldwide.
About the interviewees:
Trinidad Saonais a journalist and Chilean diplomat who continuously explores new methodologies and tools of diplomacy in order to achieve a new understanding of their practical use.
Rong Yang is a former Chinese diplomat, now working in the pharmaceutical industrial sector while also being active in various professional associations and providing advice for social enterprises and entrepreneurs interested in healthcare.
Published on May 12, 2021.
Photo credit: Marc Beckmann