Doha: Apart from being messengers between governments, diplomats are also interlocutors between governments and people, said US Ambassador Susan L Ziadeh, in a lecture organised by Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q).
In the lecture titled ‘The Evolving Role of Diplomacy and Diplomats: An American Angle’, Ziadeh explained how emerging and accelerating trends have affected diplomacy in the Middle East.
She discussed three trends in particular: People to people engagement at all levels of society, the rise of social media, and the ascendency of opposition parties.
“Social media have become powerful tools for building political communities and rewriting national narratives, for rallying momentum in civil society, and for circumventing traditional sources of public information like government and state-run media,” Ziadeh said.
“Diplomats have always been messengers between governments, but now we are also interlocutors between governments and people.” But despite the profound impact of technology on international relations, Ziadeh said there is no “technical substitute for the human touch in diplomacy.”
“Ambassador Ziadeh is a genuine friend of our Georgetown campus in Qatar,” said GU-Q Dean Dr Gerd Nonneman.
“She has been a pillar of support for this institution. Giving our students and the wider community access to the experience and expertise of senior leaders such as Ambassador Ziadeh is one of the key ways in which we fulfil our role of education, engagement and outreach,” he said.
Over 130 members of the Doha community attended the event, including dignitaries, members of the diplomatic corps, students, faculty, staff and business and community members.
The evening was particularly notable in that it was the inaugural talk of a GU-Q student-inspired initiative called the Georgetown University Ambassadorial Lecture Series.