A conversation with Federico Bianchi
The ancient conception of “international relations” among countries, diplomatic issues concerning the foreign policy, peace conferences during the world wars or Napoleonic conferences through the States … it’s all over now.
The revolution it’s just right around the corner!
On the 23rd of October we had the pleasure to host a very special guest who represents a model to follow and take some inspirational vibes for GG students. He analyzed the topic of “new diplomacy” with the dynamism and youthfulness of his age. He has over 17 years of experience in different organizations, such as the UN or EU, and he was the first Italian ever to be seconded to the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
We have to think about global diplomacy revolution in the digital era; in other words, we need to start thinking of the “Twiplomacy”.
Nowadays, new ways of communication are affecting our lives, changing the relationship with government and institutions. In particular the majority of political actions are developed on Twitter platform. People are online 24 hours per day, also members of Parliament, Presidents or Senators , 372 personal and 579 institutional accounts of heads of state and foreign ministers.
Twiplomacy is linked to the use of Twitter and other social media sites by representatives of government in order to have a larger global influence. The most followed world leader with more than 52 million followers is Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America. The tradition of the “tweet” began on March of 2007 thanks to the creation of an account by Barack Obama (US president 2009-2017). Other brave representatives who had signed up to the social network were the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and the U.S State Department.
Social media and technology represent the future for every area of research or business sector. Mr. Bianchi also explained us the positive part of “twiplomacy” and how it can change our life.
There is the possibility of using different languages for the multiplicity of the audience and a deeper comprehension of facts, the dynamism of the communication that is improved and It promotes “shortness” and “visibility; this is relevant because it makes sure that the message of the post or the tweet affects the heart of the followers.
Diplomacy now is a part of the society, it is a topic that’s become more and more popular for everyone: it is not only a discussion for an “élite” of the society. It is “pop” as the art of Andy Warhol, it is for every human being. The impact can be summed up with interaction and an invitation to average voters or citizens to join the nation-daily life and this can improve the “think tank” of the population for a better society.
(1) What are your most important experiences of your life?
A very difficult question to answer indeed. Definitely working for the Italian Foreign Service in Pakistan was a milestone point in my career In 2013 Pakistan celebrated the first democratic transition ever from one fairly and freely elected government to another, since Partition from India in 1947. I had the opportunity to witness this “on the ground” as I was seconded to the EU election monitoring mission as an Observer. My role was to ensure that no violations of polling rules would occur in polling stations in a specifically assigned (rather vast) sector or around them. I basically spent my day with my team touring polling stations all across Central Punjab. In one of them in a rather remote corner of my area I had to intervene to solve an incident which could have potentially ended up in violence: An elderly tribal chief wanted to vote for all of his villagers (800). We had to find the way to sit him down, inviting him for tea (in Pakistan if you are invited for tea it is extremely rude to refuse) and talk it over gently and calmly until we managed to explain why it was important for everybody to be able to cast a vote freely. The Tribal chief finally gave his consensus to the rest of his villagers to vote and all went smoothly thereafter. Personally it was an incredibly gratifying experience: to play a small role in the grand machine of democracy and see how it works “on the ground”.
(2) How did you achieve your goals?
With hard work, patience, dedication, motivation and always believing that respect for colleagues and co-workers and team spirit are more important than anything else. To reach great heights you always need to learn to trust and rely on others.
(3) Do you have any tips or suggestions for us ad GG students?
Study hard, work hard, be motivated, be passionate, care, do something you like and you believe in. Dream and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do anything. The sky is the limit if you believe in yourself.
(4) What is the pattern and the procedure to arrive to work for the UN ?
There are several ways to access. Mainly through general competitions that have national quotas so making it sometimes harder for those countries (like Italy for example) that – at least in the past – had the tendency of being over represented in terms of numbers within the Organization. You can also enter as a Junior Porfessional officer (JPO) in your late twenties, early thirties, by applying to that great programme, which I had the great fortune and privilege of being selected in 2008. Finally through the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, which allows young students to experience on the ground, field work with one of the many organizations of the UN Family.