In an age of COVID-19, modern diplomatic practice has been heavily impacted around the world. Significant multilateral negotiations, such as COP26, have been postponed, disrupting a carefully choreographed series of meetings, summits and debates aimed at finding international solutions. In addition, the close contact that has traditionally defined diplomacy has given way to online tools and web instruments.
With the pandemic reinforcing awareness of both our global interdependence and diplomacy’s indispensable role in building collective responses, avoiding miscalculation and mitigating conflict, this emerging reality raises serious questions but also opens up important opportunities for where the future of diplomacy lies.
How can diplomacy approaches, used to face-to-face interactions for building trust and rapport, be recalibrated in light of possible continued restrictions due to the coronavirus?
Would a sustained move away from in-person diplomacy favour hard power competition over soft power?
In which ways could the shifts underway facilitate greater participation and transparency in the process, making it easier to create multi-stakeholder coalitions of change, and what consequences could this have for advancing on critical issues such as climate change.
What would the role of the private sector be in shaping new forms of diplomacy given the need for confidentiality and impartiality?
As with all member events, questions from the audience drive the conversation.