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MFA and international partners launch Strategy on Digital Diplomacy

Prishtina, 27 July 2012 – Kosovo’s recognition by the global internet infrastructure, recognition by websites, the impact of Kosovo’s content at the main resources of online information, improving the way of narration for Kosovo by including high quality content for the targeted audience, improving the online impact of Kosovo’s MFA and integration of digital communications at Government strategic coordinated communications are only few of the objectives of the Strategy on Digital Diplomacy launched on Friday in Prishtina.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Petrit Selimi, together with the Norwegian Ambassador to Kosovo, Jan Braathu, First Secretary of the Embassy of Great Britain, Myrna MacGregor, Director of British Council, Arjeta Emra, revealed parts of the Strategy, its objectives and expected results.

Deputy Minister Petrit Selimi stated that this Strategy is a product of a wide partnership among the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Norwegian and British Embassies, British Council and IPKO Foundation, which, according to him, made its implementation possible. Recently, the USAID has also decided to support financially the implementation of the Strategy on Digital Diplomacy.                              

“It is a project on which we have worked for six months. The drafting process involved experts from Norway, Great Britain, internet activists in order to use digital diplomacy, new internet information means for the purposes of public diplomacy and more recognitions for Kosovo in the world”, claimed Selimi.                                                      

He presented the main parts of the Strategy, its purposes and objectives and highlighted that the idea behind the Strategy is to use digital diplomacy to resolve foreign policy problems.    

Selimi also pointed out that the project is a joint enterprise of the Kosovo and Great Britain MFAs’ and it also involved communication experts such as the British MFA expert, Zeenat Khanche, who spent six weeks in Kosovo. Wide consultations took place with stakeholders such as various Internet sites, IT experts and many representatives of the civil society.                                

Deputy Minister further added that this Strategy envisages continuous lobbying as part of a campaign for a permanent ISO and ICANN code.                                      

Selimi emphasized that the Strategy foresees the activation of citizens into online campaigns to lobby at individual websites in states recommending the inclusion of Kosovo into the website lists.

The Ambassador of Norway in Kosovo, Jan Braathu, stated that it is a great pleasure for himself and the Norwegian Embassy to be a partner in this project.

Braathu pointed out that the Norwegian Government has always strongly supported Kosovo, including Kosovo’s diplomacy and its efforts to project the image of the “Young Europeans” at other countries and to get as much recognitions as possible for Kosovo’s statehood.

He valued the gravity of Internet for the information of people throughout the world and stressed that this means of communication provides us with the opportunity to deliver our messages to a global audience.

Ambassador Braathu promised €50,000 for the implementation of the Strategy for this year and "more funds in the year to come”.

The First Secretary of the Embassy of Great Britain, Myrna MacGregor, highlighted the importance of digital diplomacy in current diplomatic developments and extended the support of the British Embassy for this project.                    

Arjeta Emra from the British Council stated that this project is part of a larger project, which commenced months ago, called “Kosovo Talks EU”.

“Digital diplomacy is one of the most important means to support the recognition process and to provide information that are true and positive for Kosovo”, claimed Emra.