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Digital Diplomacy: the impact of the Internet on international relations

Date & Time:
12:15:00 - 13:30:00,
Wednesday 14 November, 2007


The Internet has had as revolutionary an impact on the way government works as it has on business or politics, and consequently on the way governments relate to each other in the international sphere. More profoundly, it has affected the number of actors engaged in international relations – what one colleague has called ‘the democratisation of diplomacy’. The paper explores how the Internet contributes to the fraying of the power of the state in international relations, how non-state actors exert influence, and how the Internet changes both the dynamic of traditional diplomatic negotiations, and the way foreign ministries and embassies operate.

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  • Name: Dr Nicholas Westcott
  • Affiliation: CMG (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
  • Role:
  • URL:
  • Bio: Nick Westcott was the FCO’s Chief Information Officer from 2002 until 2007, reporting to the FCO Board. He was responsible for the FCO’s Information Management and Technology systems, including setting the long term strategy, coordinating the ICT programmes, monitoring and maintaining the performance of the ICT infrastructure and overseeing partnerships and contracts with suppliers. He managed the IT Strategy Unit (around 100 staff) and a budget of £160m pa. He will take up his next appointment as British High Commissioner to Ghana (and non-resident Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo and Niger) in December 2007. Nick studied history at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and completed a PhD in African studies at Cambridge in 1982. He spent a year as a Research Associate at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1979-80, and has published a number of articles on African history. He became a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1998.