Public Diplomacy 3.0: Mapping the Next Stages of Tech Disruption

Digital platforms have revolutionized the practice of public diplomacy in the past decade by making it possible for ministries of foreign affairs, embassies and international organizations to reach out and engage with foreign publics directly, in large numbers, in real-time and with great impact. At the same time, the very conditions that have allowed public diplomacy to prosper in the digital space appear now to be responsible for fostering a growing sense of “social media fatigue” and a lack of confidence in the digital future of public diplomacy.

On January 20, 2022, CPD Faculty Fellow Corneliu Bjola, Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford, participated in a program with another CPD Faculty Fellow, Aimei Yang, Associate Professor of Journalism at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, about how we must start looking beyond social media and explore the potential contributions that the next generation of digital technologies may make to the practice of public diplomacy. This discussion explored the extent to which artificial intelligence, extended reality and cloud computing may be able to 'shake up' the field of public diplomacy, in what directions, and with what normative implications. How does Bitcoin, augmented reality, and the Metaverse play a role in today's public diplomacy practitioner.

Click here to read more about what Corneliu has to say about public diplomacy and the essential skills and tools required for today's public diplomat.

About Corneliu Bjola

Corneliu Bjola is Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford and Head of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group. He also serves as Faculty Fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy (University of Southern California) and as Professorial Lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. His main research interests pertain to the impact of digital technology on the conduct of diplomacy with a focus on public diplomacy, tech geopolitics and methods for countering digital propaganda. His recent co-edited volume, Digital Diplomacy and International Organizations: Autonomy, Legitimacy and Contestation (Routledge, 2020), examines the broader ramifications of digital technologies on the internal dynamics, multilateral policies and strategic engagements of international organizations. He is currently working on two projects: the co-edited Oxford Handbook of Digital Diplomacy, providing the state of the art of digital diplomacy in terms of theory, institutions, country cases and future trends (under contract with Oxford University Press); and the co-edited volume, Digital International Relations, examining how digital disruption changes the technological parameters of ordering processes in world politics (under review with Cambridge University Press).

About Aimei Yang

Aimei Yang is Associate Professor at USC Annenberg. Yang earned a Ph.D. in communication at the University of Oklahoma; her research is positioned at the intersection of strategic public relations research and a social network approach to the study of interorganizational relationships, and focuses on the relationship dynamics among civil actors, corporations and government agencies. Specifically, Yang’s research topics include transnational civil networks, multisectoral alliance networks, public diplomacy and dynamic social networks in social movements Yang has published more than 40 refereed journal articles in communication, public relations and management journals such as Communication Theory, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Mass Communication and Society, Computers in Human Behavior, Public Relations Review and Journal of Business Ethics, among others. Yang has also regularly presented her work at national and international conferences and given research talks at universities around the world. She has received several top faculty research awards from the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association. Yang is a member of the Page Up Society and serves on the editorial board of Public Relations Review and Journal of Public Relations Research.


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