“The difficult thing in life is not reaching your goals. It’s finding out what your goals are.” – Johan Ernst Nilsson, Global explorer, author, and speaker at TEDxStockholm, December 2013
New Year, new resolutions, new hope, new challenges…the newness of 2014 is innumerable, just like every other year. But regardless of our lofty intentions, so many New Year’s promises go unfilled.
So many of our other intentions are relatively trivial or petty. New diet, new travel goal. But a little team of very determined thinkers in Stockholm is determined to make a new impact this year, one which will last: The New Diplomacy. Thanks to diplomats and dedicated students alike, on January 16th TEDxStockholm will present a salon event with the theme “The New Diplomacy” as part of the Stockholm Initiative for Digital Diplomacy (SIDD).
“The conference focuses on digital diplomacy and the TEDx event on new diplomacy,” TEDxStockholm coordinator Valentino Pacifici told YLC. “In new diplomacy citizen involvement is a key difference. We wanted to broaden horizons, and the term digital diplomacy is mostly used about using new tools.
“New diplomacy is more about doing the same work but in new ways, and today with citizens more involved.”
TEDx itself is not new, but is a program which is growing and improving with each event. An off-shoot of TED, a series of educational talks focused around “ideas worth spreading”, TEDx events have been held in over 1,200 cities and 130 countries across the globe. The Stockholm branch of TEDx started up in 2012 and held its largest event to date in October 2013, which was quickly followed up by a sold-out December event with speakers such as former Swedish politician Mona Sahlin.From there things are only continuing to get better. The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted TEDxStockholm asking if they would contribute content to the SIDD conference. The team said no – but agreed to partner with them on their own terms.
“We are always open for cooperation and collaboration with others,” the TEDxSTockholm team told YLC. “But it is always within the framework of TED. We are an independent actor always with an ambition of broadening perspectives and tackling themes from different angles.”
The TEDxStockholm event on New Diplomacy will take place during a three-hour break in the SIDD conference, with diplomats from the conference both speaking and attending. Limited seats – about 80 – are available to the public as well – those who wish to participate must apply online.
“We contacted the people who planned to participate in the conference, and those interested in speaking were asked to send us a pitch of their talk,” Pacifici said. “Then we selected the four we thought had the most interesting ideas.”
Moira Whelan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Digital Strategy at the U.S. Department of State, will be speaking about new diplomacy, in addition to Andreas Sandre, the press and public affairs officer at the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C.
“We live in a time of global citizenship, where we all need to do small things in everyday life to create a better world,” Pacifici said, and expressed hope that diplomats and citizens would learn to collaborate more. In a changing world, our actions must change, even in small ways.
“Focus on results and you will never change,” Johan Ernst Nilsson, speaker at the December TEDxSTockholm event, said. “Focus on change and you will get results.”
Learn more about TEDx Stockholm or sign up for an event.
Solveig is a recently-graduated American cactus who plucked up her ancient Scandinavian roots and transplanted them back to snowy Stockholm soil. When not writing for YLC she can be found cantering about town in search of culture, chai and cheer.