Some ask: why inclusive diplomacy? One could also ask: Can diplomacy be successful in negotiating climate change agreements without including engineers? Is it sustainable to talk about population dynamics without hearing a voice of traditional and religious leaders in Africa for example? How about migration or European Union accession and enlargement processes without a substantial input from civil society?
Many of nowadays challenges do not stop at the border or within one sector of society. They might bring both benefits and challenges and are certainly viewed differently by various actors: global, continental or local. Is it always easy to arrive at a common understanding within frameworks shaped by traditional diplomacy? Could exploring new formats of cooperation help hearing relevant, but unheard voices? Would the world be more successful in achieving UN Sustainable Development goals if diplomacy would become more inclusive?
The Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) is a members’ driven, vibrant platform for exploring new approaches in diplomacy and cooperation with different sectors. Under the patronage of the German Federal Foreign Minister, it was established in 2014 as a partnership between the German Federal Foreign Office, the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, the Stiftung Mercator and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The Global Leadership Academy of the GIZ joined in 2016.
It gathers alumni of the leading partner organisations who examine a variety of questions in bi-annual Labs together. In addition to the Labs, the Global Diplomacy Lab’s members and partners through peer-to-peer exchanges initiate, realise and participate in a wide range of GDL activities all over the world – innovating existing formats, contributing to network partners’ events and organising local, GDL-inspired workshops and gatherings.
Almost 200 experienced and creative professionals from 65 countries engaged with different topics of importance for diplomacy so far. From trust in global affairs, a more inclusive global order and the significance of international law and moral standards in diplomacy to designing migration policies for the future, balancing power through information technology and global power shifts: political and economic inclusion for the next generation in terms of collaborating to realise the potential of the demographic dividend, GDL sparked interest by introducing innovative dialogue and collaboration methods.
By organising ground-breaking sessions, providing pitches and participating as speakers or facilitators, GDL and its members partnered with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and Bled Strategic Forum, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the United Nations, UNESCO, Paris Peace Forum, Global Media Forum and a number of different agencies and partners.
Its member-driven aspect is reflected not only in its events, but also in the Advisory Council where four GDL members represent the community in close cooperation with the leading partners, the Secretariat and the Dean Mr. Ruprecht Polenz.
At the GDL, its members and partners practice inclusive solutions to the pressing international challenges of our time in direct exchange with relevant actors and institutions. GDL provides and encourages cross-sectoral and cross-regional peer-to-peer knowledge and skill-sharing while applying creative formats and tools. Most importantly, the GDL promotes approach of mutual respect and openness while talking to each other at an eye level and based on mutual trust. How often is this in diplomacy?
After organising Labs with national, regional and local stake holders in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Istanbul, and Montreal, one saying has been proved every time: “There are always three sides of everything: one that you see, one that I see and one that no one of us sees”. That’s why: inclusive diplomacy.
Author: Ivana Petrov, GDL Member and Member of the Advisory Council