Hoffmann Scholar Ilan Manor, an expert in digital diplomacy and editor of the blog Exploring Digital Diplomacy, gives us a brief introduction into what digital diplomacy is and how it influences the world around us.
Technology has always impacted the practice of diplomacy. The printing press, for instance, contributed to the formation of nation states and the establishment of the role of Ambassadors. Mass media technologies such as the radio and television enabled governments to converse directly with the populations of neighboring states. The internet impacted the speed of diplomacy as diplomatic couriers and encrypted communications were replaced with more immediate means of communication such as the email.
Recent years have witnessed yet again the impact of technology on diplomacy with the migration of foreign ministries to social media (i.e., twitter, Facebook, YouTube). Often referred to as digital diplomacy, the incorporation of social media in the conduct of diplomacy may be viewed as both an evolution and a revolution in diplomatic practice.
Louis-Dreyfus Scholar Nidhi Singh reflects on spending the festive period in Oxford, including a traditional British Christmas experience in Combe.
Coming from a country like India, where Christmas is not such a big celebration, experiencing this Christmas in a western country like the UK was quite special to me. The period around Christmas and New Year can get really lonely especially for international students who usually do not have their family around. Just before the Christmas break was going to start, I had so many people asking me my plans during Christmas, as it would get really lonely here. But I failed to understand the reason behind them asking me this question, until I really witnessed the period for myself. My experience of staying back for the festive period in the UK, however, was quite different.
After huddling up in the coach at 8 am on 7th of December, the Weidenfeld Hoffmann Trust scholars (missing our friends from the Masters of Public Policy) departed from Oxford to their destination – Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. The 17th century country house, widely known for its special architectural and historic significance, is truly spectacular but without any display of ostentation. Today Cumberland Lodge, with the Queen as its Patron, is an educational charity initiating fresh debate on the burning questions facing our society. Thus the spot was a propitious setting for an exacting academic workshop and residential training.
On 21st October, eleven Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholars had the opportunity to travel to Cambridge to attend a lecture on “In Order to Succeed in Peace Mediation You have to be an Honest Broker” by Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland (1994-2000). Mr. Ahtisaari is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and also served as a United Nations diplomat. He is a mediator, widely respected for his international peace work.
Just like our previous program on Moral Philosophy and Leadership, the scholars were highly excited about Humanities lecture at the University of Cambridge for distinct reasons. Created by Lord Weidenfeld, the program is managed by Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust in coordination with Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciencs and Humanities (CRASSH). It took us around 2 hours to get there in our coach and during our travel time, the scholars indulged in discussions about their studies and living experience in Oxford.
At the start of the academic year, all of the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann scholars came together in Oxford for the Robin Hambro Moral Philosophy Seminar which took place at Harris Manchester College, 26-29 September. The seminar is an opportunity for the scholars to settle into life in Oxford and get to know one another, as well as participating in seminars exploring the moral and philosophical underpinnings of leadership. Quratulain Fatima, a Louis Dreyfus Weidenfeld Scholar from Pakistan (MPP), wrote up her reflections on the seminar for the WHT Scholars’ blog.
After the rigorous of the selection process and the tedious visa process, the Moral Philosophy seminar and four days spent with my fellow scholars, alumni and academics at the beautiful Harris Manchester College made all the effort worthwhile. Simply put, the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Community is above all – both personally and educationally – a very enriching experience. Read more “Reflections on the Robin Hambro Seminar: Moral Philosophy for Leadership”
The behaviour of small-scale farmers has changed in many areas of rural South Africa. This is a result of a complex mix of factors that impact on one another in various ways undermining the ability and the desire to cultivate. My research was conducted in Mbotyi, a small coastal village in the ex-Transkei region of South Africa, previously a semi-independent ‘homeland’ during Apartheid. It is in regions like this that the bulk of South Africa’s rural poverty is concentrated and that the greatest challenges for rural development exist (See below, notes 2 & 5). The problem I address is one noted by a handful of authors (notes 1,4 & 7): There has been a marked movement away from the cultivation of arable fields in the former homeland areas of South Africa, leaving available land underutilised. I set out to gain a better understanding of why rural South Africans, in a context of relatively high levels of unemployment and poverty, are leaving fertile fields fallow in regions where agriculture has historically been a cornerstone of livelihoods. Read more “Aspirations and Incentives: An Investigation Into Changing Agricultural Behaviour in Rural South Africa”