Diplo’s African Tour (April 2011)

Posted on May 2, 2011 by

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In April, Diplo’s main focus was on Africa.  Between 5 and 21 April, we delivered 5 workshops involving 150 participants from many African countries.  Each workshop inspired participants to explore new policy options and use new tools in their work. The end of each workshop saw the beginning of online interaction. All the elements are now in place for the emergence of new policy communities. Here is a chronological summary of the Diplo’s African Tour .…

During the first week, in Addis Ababa, we (Alex, Vlada, and Jovan) delivered an e-diplomacy awareness-building session (6 April). It was followed by a workshop on Internet Governance and ICT (6–8 April).  Both events were organised as part of the EU-ACP project in partnership with the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). One concrete policy outcome was a framework for the organisation of the African Internet Governance Forum. In Addis, we also met with officials from the African Union and UNECA to discuss future cooperation in the field of capacity development and training.

The second week of the African tour saw us in Pretoria (South Africa). Bi Scott, Ginger Paque, and Liz Galvez joined our team. We delivered two parallel workshops. The first lasted five days (11-15 April) and focused on public diplomacy for the South African government. This workshop was part of the public diplomacy capacity development programme, which also included online training for junior diplomats (ongoing since March 2011) and training for  parliamentarians (third week of our visit).

The workshop was very dynamic with our team providing different perspectives on public diplomacy: Alex (political and strategic perspective), Liz (organisation and diplomatic support), Bi (language and persuasion), and Jovan (e-diplomacy). The workshop concluded with the drafting of a public diplomacy strategy for the Climate Change Summit, which will be held in Durban, South Africa (28 November – 9 December 2011). The success of this public diplomacy workshop led to discussions with South African high officials about organising similar capacity development activities in the future as well as developing a partnership between South Africa and Diplo on capacity development for Africa.

In parallel, Ginger and Vlada ran a workshop on Internet Governance and ICT Policy for the participants from the South African region (members of the Southern African Development Community – SADEC). Besides South Africans, the workshop involved government officials, academics, and NGO activists from Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Namibia. It included very interactive and successful simulation exercises on Internet governance.

During the third week, Alex and Jovan delivered a workshop on Public Diplomacy for South African parliamentarians (Cape Town, 19-20 April). It was attended both by parliamentarians from the ruling ANC party and opposition parties. The discussion was very successful with Alex bringing a political perspective from a former Parliamentarian and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Jovan focusing on the impact of the Internet on political life, and ultimately on the job of parliamentarians. The workshop raised a lot of interest and initiated discussions on follow-up activities. Parliamentarians are interested in using Diplo’s capacity development approach. Through this comprehensive approach of addressing junior officials (online training), middle-ranking officials (5 days’ in situ training), and parliamentarians (2 days’ training), South Africa can increase policy cohesion in dealing with increasingly complex policy issues, such as climate change, migration, and Internet governance.

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