Pardee School Faculty Explore the Future of Diplomacy in Palgrave Handbook of Diplomatic Reform

(From left to right: Amb. Jorge Heine, Amb. Mark Storella, and Amb. Paul Hare.)

On April 19, 2023, the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University hosted a panel of faculty members to discuss a new book — The Palgrave Handbook of Diplomatic Reform and Innovation — edited by Amb. Amb. Paul Hare, Pardee School Senior Lecturer, with featured chapters from Amb. Jorge Heine, Pardee School Research Professor, as well as Amb. Mark Storella, Pardee School Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy, and Amb. Vesko Garčević, Professor of the Practice of International Relations.

Hare opened with the origins of the book, commenting on the substantial changes in the international system since the end of WWII and how the current institutions are not well-equipped to deal with modern crises. He, however, resolved not to “wring his hands over the state of diplomacy” and instead resolved to wanted to propose practical steps in how to adapt diplomacy to the modern world.

Storella, who authored an article on health diplomacy, explained that his chapter was shaped by the failures of the global community in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the abundance of international organizations and treaties that outlined responses to a potential outbreak, the entire world fell behind in limiting the spread of the virus and preventing a substantial amount of deaths and hospitalizations. In order to avoid another such catastrophe in the future, Storella recommended three key steps that the international community should take: first, middle-power countries should advocate more enthusiastically for health organizations and treaties, rather than leaving decisions up to great powers; second, there needs to be a common language and understanding between scientists and diplomats to improve health diplomacy; and lastly, he called for an entente between the current great powers to ameliorate diplomatic relations and facilitate development worldwide.

Heine, who authored a chapter on digital diplomacy, or the use of social media for diplomatic purposes, explored the ‘paradox’ between social media and traditional diplomacy: namely, that the rapid-fire, direct messaging from social media platforms starkly contrasts the measured, careful tactics diplomats customarily used. Since ministries of foreign affairs are generally conservative, stable, and hierarchical institutions, they tend to be resistant to social media and its ever-changing platform. As a result, some diplomats are struggling to adjust to the way that social media has upended the established methods of diplomacy. But Heine, an avid enthusiast of digital diplomacy, called on traditional ministries to change their approach to capitalize on digital diplomacy’s benefits, such as streamlined, efficient communication, increasingly autonomous ambassadors, and a widened audience of both host and home country. Proclaiming that “digital diplomacy is here to stay,” Heine called for his fellow ambassadors to make the most of it.

Ambassador Paul Hare was a British diplomat for 30 years and the British ambassador to Cuba from 2001-04. He now teaches classes at Boston University on Diplomatic Practice, Arms Control, Intercultural Communication, and on Cuba in Transition. His novel, “Moncada — A Cuban Story,” set in modern Cuba, was published in 2010. His book, “Making Diplomacy Work; Intelligent Innovation for the Modern World” was published in 2015. Learn more about Professor Hare on his faculty profile.

Ambassador Mark C. Storella was a United States Foreign Service Officer for over three decades serving as Ambassador to Zambia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, and Dean of the Leadership and Management School of the Foreign Service Institute. Storella is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Excellence in Service Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award presented by American Citizens Abroad, and several Department of State superior and meritorious honor awards. Learn more about Ambassador Storella on his faculty profile.

Ambassador Jorge Heine is a Research Professor at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. He has served as ambassador of Chile to China (2014-2017), to India (2003-2007), and to South Africa (1994-1999), and as a Cabinet Minister in the Chilean Government. Read more about Ambassador Heine on his Pardee School faculty profile.