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How to be diplomatic in the age of Twitter


How to be diplomatic in the age of Twitter

IbyIMD+ Published 19 January 2023 in Magazine • 6 min read • Audio availableAudio available

The diversification of actors and a widening of issues challenges the traditional model of diplomacy. A convergence of skills is needed from the public and private sectors to facilitate engagement between states, business leaders, and civil society groups.

In recent years, we have witnessed a transformation in diplomacy. Government attachés are no longer first among equals. Instead, there has been a diversification to include more actors – from corporate leaders to civil society groups and members of communities – who now engage on a broader set of issues ranging from the environment to health, sport, equality, and peace building.

This decentralization of diplomacy arguably has made the field more democratic by catering to a wider set of views and issues. At the same time, it has raised questions around accountability – particularly if unelected officials seek to shape foreign affairs through unregulated channels. There is a further risk of asymmetry in diplomatic relations with the power going to those who have the biggest megaphones rather than those with the knowledge and skill to conduct nuanced negotiations.

Take the case of Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, who in October waded into geopolitics by putting forward…

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