Fresh Diplomatic Meat on Tumblr

New cadets have arrived at the Foreign Ministry for their intense 6 month training program  and they plan to blog about it on Tumblr.

digital diplomacy

The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s 30th cadet training course seems pretty unique. Not because it is comprised by an equal number of men and women or because of its cultural diversity, but because of the fact that many of these people have chosen to dump promising careers in journalism, law, high-tech and finance to join a neglected government agency that as a result suffers from strikes and public campaigns in protest of low pay.

A country brand that is on the rise but has so many issues to resolve cannot afford to recruit un-to-under-qualified personnel but until this  issue between the Treasury and the MFA is resolved, they will have to continue to rely on people’s good will and sense of mission.

I was never a cadet and a few of them might be older than me, but if I were to dispense any advice vis-à-vis this blog it would be:

1. WRITE IN ENGLISH (or else the only people reading this blog would be your families and your supervisors, plus it’s a good opportunity to practice your English writing skills).

2. Use tags that will help people who are interested in diplomacy find you.

In other words, be apart of the conversation beyond your office walls and fulfill this blog’s potential.

Let’s all wish them the best of luck on their challenging journey!

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Hamas on Twitter: “You’ve Opened Hell’s Gates on Yourselves”

Hamas is not such a friendly group of people. They may smile for the cameras when naive dogooders first arrive in Gaza or upon the return of their leader’s granddaughter from medical treatment in Israel

Hamas in Gaza

(actually they didn’t smile, they frowned because it made their boycott calls seem kinda stupid); but Twitter has had enough of being used as a channel for them to voice direct violent threats and has suspended their
account.

Could this be an opportunity to replace badmouthing with conversation? Is Twitter going to succeed where all the American presidents and special envoys have failed? Yeah, probably not. I’m sure that would make my friend Peter Lerner’s public diplomacy job much easier but I’m afraid that for a second there I drifted into a fantasy, sorry about that.     IDF on Twitter

The fact is that hostile social media accounts will continue to pop up like mushrooms after the rain. Homophobic, Xenophobic and other Polyphobic groups will continue to spread hate rather than engage in productive dialogue.  Governments and organizations will continue to try to deliver messages according to their agendas. But with all the accounts in the world, they will never reach the impact they desire if they do not step out of their comfort zones and create content worth sharing beyond their natural circles.

See the full New York Time’s report and Twitter thread here

 

#ShanaTova Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif

Foreign Minister of Iran, Mr. Javad Zarif tweeted a Jewish new year greeting to his followers.

Activist Christine Pelosi (yeah, also the daughter of) tweeted back, thanking him but also pointing out the almost systematic holocaust denial by Iranian officials, namely former president Ahmadinejad.

In an unprecedented move, Zarif, also a former ambassador to the UN and a Denver University graduate, replied what seems not only as words of criticism against the former president but also, a crack in the holocaust denial doctrine, fashioned to delegitimize Israel’s existence.  iranian foreign minister javar zarif wishes shana tova on twitter

Just to clarify with a very quick side note to put this in the right context:

There are roughly 25,000 Jews in Iran today, relics of a large Jewish community that dates back over 2,500 years. Today, there are about 100,000 Iranian Jews in Israel, 5,000 in Europe and about 20,000 in the USA.

The former president is one of some who believe that the only justification for the State of Israel is the holocaust, therefore denying it ever happened would mean that Israel has no claim or right to exist as a sovereign state (that’s in a very tiny nutshell).

Also important to note is that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also tweeted a New Year greeting that.

Now back to this eye catching engagement:

This exchange of tweets gained Zrif over 2,000 new followers in just a few hours, and some media attention that expresses hope that this administration is proving to be more moderate as it promised.

Interestingly enough, President Hassan Rouhani had also tweeted a similar greeting, however this was quickly followed up by his media adviser who claimed the president does not even have an account.

iran president on twitter

Social engagement Vs. familiar methods of denial may be indicative of will Vs. confidence the new administration has or lacks, as it takes the reigns over a country with a glorious past, a depressing present and an unknown future.

Is this twitter conversation a green light for Iranian civilians to speak their minds or is twitter the next online platform to be blocked in Iran by the Revolutionary Guards’ cyber team?

With all the cynicism and pessimism that can be applied when it comes to the Ayatollah regime, it is a new year after all, and it is custom to forgive and ask for forgiveness for the wrongs of the previous year, and to look upon the new year with hope and positive vibes. So i’m gonna do just that, and wish everyone, a very sweet and happy new year. Shana Tova

Assad’s Next Facebook Status

Everything that could be said has been said about this crazy part of the world I live in, and once again, all eyes are on the Middle East (this time on the right place) with the anticipated attack of “the west”, lead by the US, on Syrian targets.

Yet, the only sign of anything being wrong, as far as Assad goes is the fact that his Instagram account hasn’t been updated in nearly 2 weeks, and even then, no sign of the 2 year civil war, chemical weapons used on civilians or the threats of international intervention. Just your same ole award ceremonies, Bashar busy at his desk and the beautiful Asma, hugging kids and cooking for the poor. Bashar Assad on Instagram

The last presidential tweet left the fingertips of team Assad 3 days ago, babbling about some visit of a Yemen delegation.

While the world decides not to wait for him to explain why he felt it right to gas people, Assad gives an interview to Russian news site Izvestia complaining about terrorism and explaining the Geneva Convention articles and at the same time, using his and his minority of supporters’ social networks, reassuring all of us crazy people around the world, that the streets of Damascus have never been livelier. Seriously Bashar, WTF?

Yesterday morning, I was out for brunch with a group of friends when I received a text message from my army unit asking me to be prepared for reserve duty should there be a need, and although I replied diligently, all I could think of is how damn wonderful life could be if it where taking place in Assad’s Facebook page.

If this blog post finds its way to anyone on the Syrian side suffering from the Assad Family’s game of thrones, be sure that there are many in the world and yes, even your estranged neighbors who feel for your pain and wish you only the best.

US Embassy Digital Job Opportunities

US embassy jobs

For people interested in Digital Diplomacy, please note that you don’t have to be an organic part of your country’s foreign service. Emabssies and Consulates outsource specific jobs, many of them in communications and social media.

Such a job can be a great professional and personal experience and will help you makes career decisions in the future.

For those seeking to work for the US foreign service in a digital-oriented job –

I know of one in Tel aviv and another internship in Stockholm.

Note that the deadlines are up very soon.

Good Luck!

Job Opportunity UK Embassy Kyiv – Media and Digital Communications Manager

The British Embassy Kyiv is seeking to recruit a fixed-term Media and Digital british embassy ukraine

Communications Officer (LEIII) to support the work of the Policy Delivery Team.

The Media and Digital Communications Officer will lead on day-to-day digital engagement, handle publicity and support public diplomacy activities of the Embassy.

  • Deadline for applications: 31 August 2013
  • Interviews to take place: 12 September 2013

Click for full discription of the Media and Digital Communications Manager job.

Best of Luck to you!

Diplo’s Online Learning Day: April 17 Save the Date!

Diplo emerged from a project to introduce information and communication technology (ICT) tools to the practice of diplomacy, initiated in 1992 at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta.
In November 2002, Diplo was established as an Image

independent non-profit foundation by the

governments of Malta and Switzerland.

The Online Learning Day

(17 April 2013, 10.00 –12.00 CET – online; and 18.00–20.00 CET – Geneva) is part of Diplo’s E-diplomacy Platform and builds on the first Geneva E-diplomacy Day (16 November 2012). Online learning allows busy professionals to continue training without taking time off from work and family life. At the same time, online learning is maturing: learning methodologies are improving and new platforms are emerging. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are reaching thousands of learners worldwide, while this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos signalled that online learning is likely to be one of the main global developments of 2013.

Read full post on Diplo website here