Digital Diplomacy Strategy: Are Canadians Engaged?

Date: Thursday, Feb 11, 2016 15:00–16:30h(PST)
Location: University of British Columbia, C K Choi Building Room 120


  • Julian Dierkes, Associate Professor, Institute of Asian Research

  • Mark McDowell, Canadian Ambassador to Myanmar

  • Colin McKay, Head of Public Policy & Government Relations, Canada at Google

Openness, transparency and accountability are key ingredients for good governance. With the rise of social media, governments are embracing strategies to get citizens engaged and keep individuals informed. Social media are also an important avenue for input on policy development by stakeholders. Digital Diplomacy is the transfer of notions of engagement of stakeholders to foreign policy-making.

In January 2015 Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spoke about the cutting-edge initiative to create means for foreign governments to engage with citizens and declared that “Canada is one of the leaders to digital diplomacy.” Yet, one year later in 2016 we are still waiting for the articulation of a clear digital strategy for Global Affairs Canada.

Many Canadian missions abroad now maintain a presence on social media. Likewise, many Canadian ministries in Ottawa are represented as well. Yet, in a recent survey of Global Affairs’ digital diplomacy, Julian Dierkes and students in his Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs class found that Global Affairs’ communications seem to be aimed entirely at audiences and stakeholders outside of Canada.

The Liberal government has made openness to and engagement of Canadians a priority. Join us on February 11th as a panel will consider and discuss strategic aims to get Canadians engaged in digital diplomacy.

The event will be live-tweeted using #CDNdigiFP