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Adapting for the Global Diplomatic Arena - A Report of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Diplomacy and Technology

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Diplomacy and Technology (ADDTech) convenes leaders from the sometimes disparate worlds of diplomacy and technology to address how new technological tools can be used better for public or citizen diplomacy around the world. Each year the Dialogue focuses on a specific region or country to develop the issues in context.  For 2013, the Dialogue will explore the technological aspects of the diplomatic race for the hearts and minds of Southeast Asians, particularly contrasting the approaches of the U.S. and China.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.           Session I.  Diplomacy and Technology: An Overview

This session will provide participants with an overview of the use of technology in diplomatic contexts.  Drawing from the work of the 2012 Dialogue, participants will consider the different uses of information and communications technologies in formal, public, business and citizen diplomacy.  Ideally, participants will develop or refine a construct for considering ICT technology in this context.

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.          Session II. The Southeast Asian Diplomatic Landscape

The various countries of Southeast Asia have almost all gone through transformations in their relationships to the United States and to China.  For example, Myanmar, which was ruled by an authoritarian government close to China for many years, has more recently begun democratizing and establishing closer ties to the U.S.  Indeed countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have followed somewhat similar paths, while Thailand and the Philippines have moved closer to China.  This session will explore the approaches of the various countries of Southeast Asia as a canvas on which the U.S. and Chinese diplomats will apply their crafts.  What best describes that landscape?  What is the importance of technology in this analysis?

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.              Session III.  Public Diplomatic Approaches of the U.S. and China

Whether viewed as spheres of influence or in other global diplomatic terms, both the United States and China have long had a strong interest in winning the friendship of and influence over the countries of Southeast Asia.  Both countries have had friendly and at times warring relationships in the region.  And each country poses its own distinct issues.  This session will provide an overview of the disparate and at times similar approaches of the U.S. and China in seeking the hearts and minds of the people of this region, as well as their governments.

Friday, July 26, 2013

8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.            Session IV.  Role-playing Simulation: Myanmar/Burma

Here, participants will be assigned a role and engage in a role-playing exercise designed to bring out creative approaches to the use of ICT, particularly blogging and social media, to address the diplomatic issues associated with the desire to have the Burmese people and their government align with either the U.S. or China.

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.          Session V.  Moving the Diplomacy and Technology Agenda Forward

The final session will draw lessons from the dialogue and role-playing sessions in setting a Diplomacy and Technology Agenda for the future.