Digital Diplomacy in the Classroom

One of my goals as a teacher is to increase my students’ interest and awareness in global affairs and cultures, as well as break down stereotypes.  I also encourage them to use their knowledge to engage with our leaders and officials by writing letters.  Additionally, I try to show them how social media can be used as an effective tool to engage with others in meaningful ways.  With all of that in mind, I propose that digital diplomacy offers some great opportunities to combine both of those action pieces (using social media to engage with diplomatic officials and leaders).

I’ve used social media in my classroom for the past two years (since I’ve been on Twitter).  Mostly, I’ve used it in the context of giving my students the “dual-screen experience” during political speeches and debates.  I would have them watch the speech/debate on television and follow along on social media.  In class the next day, it gave us an opportunity to discuss both the content of the speech/debate and talk about how the politicians/parties/journalists were trying to frame those events with questions like- What were they tweeting?  How does that shape our conversations about the event?  Who won on social media?

I also developed a unit where my students compared the use of Twitter by politicians and parties in the US and the UK over the same period of time.  After they examined the tweets, they had to score them on whether or not they- 1) were informative, 2) engaged with constituents, and 3) were entertaining (i.e. snark).  To top it off, and to bring in the perspective of somebody from Europe who knows a thing or two about social media in politics, I asked Jon Worth to Skype with my students.  Any time students can engage with an expert in a field, they are going to have a more meaningful learning experience.

This brings me to how we might incorporate digital diplomacy into the classroom.  With most embassies and ambassadors on Twitter or Facebook, there are more opportunities for engagement and learning about other countries and cultures.  Since Facebook is blocked in many schools (mine included), I’m going to focus on Twitter.

First off, teachers would have to find all of those Twitter feeds for their students.  That can be a time-consuming process, and as we all know, teachers do not have loads of time on their hands.  Thankfully, others have already done that work for us.  Diplomacy Matters has created a monthly Twitter Guide with the names of countries, their ambassador to the US, the embassy’s Twitter handle, and the ambassador’s Twitter handle.  Additionally, they put the national days for each country that month on the guide.

Now that we have that information, we need to begin asking how we can use it in the classroom.  Let’s start with the national days from the Diplomacy Matters Twitter Guide.  Students can research the history behind those national days and report back to their classmates.  If it’s during the school year, take some time (it doesn’t have to be a lot of time) to celebrate the national day.  Tweet what they learned and share pictures of the celebration with the embassy.

Another idea is to have students analyze tweets to see how embassies and ambassadors use Twitter.  Do the content of the Tweets differ between the embassy and the ambassador?  Are they using Twitter as an informational tool only, or do they engage with US citizens?  Do we get any sense of their country’s values?  How do their values compare with those of the US?

Teachers can also supplement current events with social media.  Besides the traditional news outlets, what do the embassies/ambassadors say about a given event or topic?  This a great opportunity to teach point of view to students as well because even though countries might be in the same region, they might have different approaches to the same event/topic.  Why might that be?  Let’s use Europe as an example and the events in Ukraine.  Why might tweets coming from the Eastern European embassies differ from those coming from Western European embassies?  What role does history play in shaping current events and policy choices?

Finally, and this is pie-in-the-sky thinking here, but maybe, just maybe, educators could contact embassies to see if they could hold a Twitter chat.  This could be with the ambassador or with embassy personnel, but either way, you’re giving students a way to engage with diplomatic officials to learn about another country and its culture.  The closest I’ve come to this is when my Model UN team visited the Greek Consulate in Chicago during one of our conferences.  They were able to spend about an hour talking with the Consul General, Ioanna Efthymiadou, asking questions about Greece’s foreign policy and its role in the world.  Of course, my students had questions prepared in advance, and to make a Twitter chat flow nicely students would have to do the same.

Model UN team at the Chicago Greek Consulate, February 2013

Model UN team at the Chicago Greek Consulate, February 2013

To close, I see a lot of possibilities to bring digital diplomacy into the classroom.  This is a great way to increase students’ awareness of the world around them and to teach them how to use social media as a tool for engagement.  If you have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.

Educating Future Generations of Atlanticists: A Response to Tobias Bunde

I recently came across an excellent (and important) essay by Tobias Bunde titled, “Will There Be Another Generation of Atlanticists?”  In it, Bunde points out the concern felt by many that the under-40 generation do not seem to appreciate the transatlantic relationship as much as their parents’ or grandparents’ generations.  He also proposes that leaders on both sides of the Atlantic need to do more to point to the future of the transatlantic relationship and not focus as much on the past.  While politicians, economists, and other government officials are surely important for the transatlantic renaissance, we must ask ourselves how we are going to ensure future generations see the benefits and understand the special relationship.  I propose that one of the most important ways to accomplish this is through education.

At one point, Bunde argues that “just telling ourselves again and again about our glorious common history will not suffice to build the ground for a strong transatlantic partnership.”  He is correct in that if we want to move forward with Atlantic community, we cannot continually look to the past and all of its successes.  The past is important, however, if we are going to educate a future generation of Atlanticists.  It is crucial that the under-40, or for that matter the under-20 generation, understand where we came from to better understand where we might possibly go.  In this regard, I am reminded of what John Lewis Gaddis wrote in the preface to his book, The Cold War: A New History.  He said that the book was “meant chiefly… for a new generation of readers for whom the Cold War was never ‘current events.'”  If we want our youth to understand why the transatlantic relationship matters, we must first start with educating them about its past.  For many years, I taught three courses on European history- AP European History (1400-Present); Europe in the Era of Two World Wars; and The Cold War and the Collapse of Communism (in which I assigned Gaddis’ book).  If high schools offered courses like these, we would build a solid foundation for future Atlanticists.

As Bunde mentioned, however, the past alone will not suffice.  We must therefore take it upon ourselves to educate students about the present-day transatlantic community.  (Since I teach in the US, I am going to limit my discussion here to what we can do to teach about Europe and NATO.)  Since NATO is a cornerstone of the transatlantic alliance, teachers should educate their students about the basics and current missions.  The NATO website is fairly easy to navigate and even has resources called LibGuides, “web-based research guides that contain publicly available information.”  I am a bit surprised, however, that I could not find any sort of resources specifically geared towards teachers.

In addition to NATO, students in the US should learn about the EU.  The Delegation of the EU to the US has great resources for teachers.  Personally, I have used the “EU Guide for Americans” and “Europe in 12 Lessons” with my students.  If schools are within thirty miles of Washington, DC, teachers could have one of the diplomats who work at the Delegation visit their classroom.  I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Christian Burgsmüller, Counselor Head of the Energy, Transport and Environment Section, visit my class when he was in Madison for a different event.  Finally, high school students can learn about the EU and Euro by participating in the Euro Challenge.

Teachers should also encourage students to attend seminars and conferences about the transatlantic community and global issues.  Just recently, students and young professionals had the opportunity to attend the Danish Atlantic Youth Seminar.  The goal of the seminar was to “update the post-Cold War generation on current security challenges facing the Alliance and the rest of the world.”  We need seminars like that here in the US.  Additionally, students should participate in Model UN or Model EU (although the latter are usually for post-secondary students).  Being able to delve deeply into one country’s foreign policy and learn how it approaches a variety of issues, can lead to a better understanding of not only other states, but also other international organizations.

Since teachers can play a pivotal role in maintaining and strengthening the transatlantic relationship, institutions and agencies, think tanks, and embassies involved in US-European relations should give teachers an opportunity to learn about them.  Before I read Bunde’s essay, I wrote a piece titled, “Teachers and the Transatlantic Relationship,” for the German Marshall Fund Blog Competition, arguing that teachers (both from the US and Europe) should travel across the Atlantic to learn more about our friends on the “other side of the pond.”  I was extremely fortunate to have been part of a EU study trip to Brussels one summer, but at only five days, it was not long enough for me to create a lesson or unit from my experiences.  I suggest that trips should be three to four weeks in length, with teachers creating a lesson plan at the end of each week based on their experiences.  Let’s say a group of twenty-five teachers goes to Brussels for three weeks.  At the end of that trip, those teachers would have created a combined total of seventy-five lesson plans on various aspects of Europe.  Those teachers will go back and teach many, many students each year about the transatlantic community, thereby educating a future generation of Atlanticists.

I agree with Bunde and others over their concerns regarding the future of the transatlantic relationship.  I also agree with Hillary Clinton when she wrote in her book, Hard Choices, that “For America, our alliance with Europe is worth more than gold.”  We just need to convince our youth why it is so valuable.  Finally, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said recently that we need to “deepen our personal and cultural links.”  We can accomplish this by educating our students about the transatlantic relationship and by increasing the amount of teacher exchanges.

Thanks for reading.

Follow up note, July 15, 2014: I neglected to mention that I learned about Tobias Bunde’s essay via a tweet from Joerg Wolf, editor-in-chief of Atlantic Community.

Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation

As the international community becomes increasingly globalized, the issues that states must contend with transcend national boundaries. To address these issues, leaders must decrease competition and increase cooperation with other states. One of the most important issues that world leaders must address in the next decade is nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Since the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war has loomed over statesmen as one of the most important international security issues. As the U.S. and Soviet Union increased the size of their nuclear arsenals, other states began to build their own, thereby increasing the aura of fear surrounding the possibility of a nuclear attack. In the late 1960s, as the world watched the U.S. and Soviet Union build up their stockpiles of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABMs), states began discussing ways to decrease the chances of proliferation and testing of weapons, while working towards disarmament.

These efforts resulted in a number of treaties, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the U.S. and Soviet Union, and eventually, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and a number of Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zones (NWFZs) around the world. The NPT is based on three main ideas: 1) non-proliferation, 2) peaceful use of nuclear energy, and 3) nuclear disarmament.  The SALT I and SALT II meetings led to agreements by the U.S. and Soviet Union to limit the amount of nuclear weapons in their respective arsenals. The CTBT calls for states to ban conducting tests of nuclear weapons. Finally, there are five NWFZs in effect for Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central Asia. Talks are currently going on to create one for the Middle East.

Even though the international community for the most part agrees that nuclear weapons should be limited and kept out of the hands of non-nuclear weapons states, disarmament has proved to be elusive. There are eight states known to have nuclear stockpiles- China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States- five of which have not signed the CTBT. In addition to those states, North Korea has tested nuclear weapons but does not have an arsenal. Most recently, the global community has expressed concern over Iran’s possible program to gain nuclear weapons.

When it comes to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, there are a number of high-priority issues, most notably the possibility that terrorists may acquire and use them and the current concern over Iran’s program. In order to prevent terrorists from seizing nuclear weapons, or even nuclear materials to build the weapons, states must take measures to ensure their nuclear energy facilities are properly guarded. States must also cooperate to crack down on the black market trade for radioactive materials and resources. When states do not cooperate, people like A.Q. Khan are able to sell materials to rogue states like North Korea.

States can take any number of actions towards Iran, including diplomacy, covert action, sanctions, preventive strikes, opposition support, public diplomacy, and do nothing (allow Iran to move forward with its plans). Leaders should start with small ideas before working up to bigger ones like encouraging democratic reforms and taking military action. One example would be to set up an exchange between teachers of both countries. If we can somehow encourage people from both countries to gain a better understanding of each other instead of feeding into the misconceptions, then perhaps options like diplomacy would be more feasible in the future.

Before states reduce or even eliminate their nuclear arsenals, there are a number of other issues that will have to be addressed. First, states must ensure that their actions are transparent and need to allow others to verify any such actions. In this case, leaders would do well to remember the words of President Reagan, “Trust, but verify.” The IAEA plays a pivotal role in verification, but states must be willing to allow inspectors into their borders and visit nuclear facilities. Iran’s willingness to allow inspectors to visit Arak in December 2013 was a small step toward greater transparency and verifiability.  States that are not transparent about their nuclear programs will most likely face punishment; in the case of Iran, punishment was in the form of sanctions.

A second major issue surrounding disarmament is negotiations. Leaders and officials must be willing to sit down at the negotiating table to come to agreements. While bilateral negotiations are important, multilateral negotiations are more crucial for global disarmament. Bilateral negotiations between the U.S. and Russia, the states with the two largest arsenals, have been instrumental in leading to treaties like New START in 2010. The goal of New START was to limit and reduce the size of each state’s nuclear weapons, thereby bringing the world closer to disarmament. Other states that are historical adversaries, like India and Pakistan, need to be willing to negotiate to reduce their own arsenals. In the case of those two countries, this is especially important given the prevalence of terrorist networks in the region. Multilateral negotiations, like the P5+1 with Iran, must also continue to shape the future of disarmament. The more states that come to agreements regarding these matters, the greater the possibility of a comprehensive solution.

Multilateral negotiations can also lead to the establishment of NFWZs, another important factor in the issue of nuclear disarmament. The important aspect about those talks is that any agreement must come from the parties themselves; they must have ownership of the agreement. If more NFWZs exist, then there are fewer states involved with the proliferation of weapons. If fewer states have nuclear arsenals, then the chances for nuclear disarmament increase.

The role of security must also be taken into account when discussing disarmament. If a state feels that its security is weakened as a result of disarmament, then it might be less likely to engage in talks. For example, Israel might feel that its nuclear stockpile is one of the few variables guaranteeing its safety in the Middle East. Giving up those weapons would therefore be detrimental to its existence. This is especially the case given the concerns over Iran’s program.

Despite the international community’s goal of nuclear disarmament, states are hesitant to reduce or eliminate their stockpiles. In this situation, where nobody wants to take the first step for fear of weakening security, states must come together and cooperate. They must be transparent and agree to verifiability. Leaders must be willing to negotiate with adversaries, both past and present. Finally, states must rethink their military strategies so that the use of nuclear weapons is not an option.

Is this topic the greatest threat to international security, or do you think there are other more pressing matters?

Thanks for reading.

Editor’s Note: I wrote this post as a way to organize my thoughts as I prepared a lesson on this subject for the next school year.


The New Wisconsin.Gov

Recently, Wisconsin.Gov, the official website for the state of Wisconsin, underwent a makeover.  The previous website had been up for a while, so it definitely needed a new look.  Unfortunately, that new look is basically an ad for Governor Walker.

Let’s start first with the designer, Wisconsin Interactive Network, LLC.  A quick Google search yields no results for any such company.  What does come up, however, is the parent company, NIC Inc., which provides governments at a variety of levels with digital solutions.  According to an email sent out by Mike Huebsch, Secretary for the Department of Administration, the website “was delivered at no cost to the State or its citizens through a public-private partnership between the State of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Interactive Network, LLC.”  If the state if Wisconsin did not pay for it, then who did?  Visiting the new website, one might conclude that it could have been paid for by Gov. Walker’s supporters.

Here’s what I saw when I visited the website today, May 11, 2014.

The new homepage for Wisconsin.Gov

The new homepage for Wisconsin.Gov

First, notice that the “News in Wisconsin” is that the unemployment rate dropped.  That has not changed all day.  Apparently, that’s the only newsworthy information coming out of our state.

Second, in the lower left corner, you should see “Transforming Education: Improving Education Outcomes to Prepare Our Children for Success.”  That box changes every 6-7 seconds to highlight a total of six topics.  Here are the six topics in the order in which they appear on the website:

  1. Growing our Economy: Making Wisconsin a Great Place to Live and Work
  2. Developing our Workforce: Investing in Wisconsin Workers Today and the Workforce of Tomorrow
  3. Transforming Education: Improving Education Outcomes to Prepare Our Children for Success
  4. Reforming Government: Reducing Waste, Improving Services, and Making Government More Efficient
  5. Investing in Infrastructure: Protecting and Investing in Wisconsin’s Transportation Infrastructure
  6. Property Tax Relief: Reducing Waste, Improving Services, and Making Government More Efficient (I presume that this is not supposed to be the message for property taxes and that the company made an error here)

The image for each topic features Gov. Walker.  As I watched them scroll by, all I could think of were the propaganda posters featuring Lenin or Stalin in the USSR and Mao in China.  “Look at all of the great things our leader is accomplishing with his programs!  Long live the Governor!”

Gov. Walker with Children Source: Wisconsin.Gov

Gov. Walker with Children
Source: Wisconsin.Gov

Third, the box in the bottom center that says “Find an Agency” lists three agencies on the homepage- 1) Department of Workforce Development, 2) Economic Development Corporation, WI, and 3) Transportation, Department of.  Anybody notice a pattern so far?  I find it problematic that while the background for the homepage depicts a picturesque Wisconsin lake, there’s no mention of our Department of Tourism, which the Governor touted in his 2013 State of the State.  There is also no direct link on the homepage to the Department of Education, which Gov. Walker is supposedly transforming for the better.  What we do see, however, is that there are at least three opportunities for visitors to click on links for either business or the workforce.  It’s all about priorities people.

Fourth, let’s go with a positive.  The website does a nice job of directing visitors to social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube only) for a variety of state agencies, boards, commissions, and councils.

So, what conclusions can we draw from the new website?  It’s not really a website about Wisconsin; instead, it is a campaign website for Gov. Walker.  I am not sure if NIC Inc. realizes this, but there is a lot more to Wisconsin than our governor.  Their job should be to inform visitors about Wisconsin, not Gov. Walker’s policies; let his campaign take care of that information.

Thanks for reading.

European Ambassadors to the US on Twitter

Since I’ve compiled information on US ambassadors to Europe-Eurasia on Twitter, I thought I should flip it around and see how the European ambassadors to the US fare on Twitter.  I started first at each embassy’s website and then looked for their ambassador.  If there was no direct link to a Twitter account, I then searched the ambassador’s name on Twitter.  Similar to the US ambassador list, the date in parentheses following “Twitter Account” is the date I checked Twitter for their information, NOT the date they were sworn in as ambassador.

Albania Ambassador to the U.S.
Gilbert Galanxhi
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Armenia Ambassador to the U.S.
Tatoul Markarian
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Austria Ambassador to the U.S.
Dr. Hans Peter Manz
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Azerbaijan Ambassador to the U.S.
Elin Suleymanov
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @ElinSuleymanov
Tweets: 900
Following: 328
Followers: 608
Joined Twitter: August 5, 2013

Belarus Ambassador to the U.S.
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Oleg Kravchenko
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Belgium Ambassador to the U.S.
Johan Verbeke
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Bosnia & Herzegovina Ambassador to the U.S.
Jadranka Negodic
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Bulgaria Ambassador to the U.S.
Elena Poptodorova
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Croatia Ambassador to the U.S.
Josip Joško Paro
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Cyprus Ambassador to the U.S.
George Chacalli
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): I found two accounts- @GeorgeChacalli / @gchacalli
Tweets: 35/3
Following: 34/13
Followers: 31/0
Joined Twitter:  May 10, 2012/June 20, 2011

Czech Republic Ambassador to the U.S.
Petr Gandalovič
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Denmark Ambassador to the U.S.
Peter Taksøe-Jensen
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @petertaksoe
Tweets: 508
Following: 230
Followers: 681
Joined Twitter:September 29, 2012

Estonia Ambassador to the U.S.
Marina Kaljurand
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @MarinaKaljurand
Tweets: 0
Following: 70
Followers: 57
Joined Twitter: June 7, 2012

Finland Ambassador to the U.S.
Ritva Koukku-Ronde
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @AmbKoukkuRonde
Tweets: 220
Following: 188
Followers: 453
Joined Twitter: December 12, 2012

France Ambassador to the U.S.
François Delattre
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Georgia Ambassador to the U.S.
Archil Gegeshidze
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Germany Ambassador to the U.S.
Peter Ammon
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Greece Ambassador to the U.S.
Christos P.  Panagopoulos
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @C_Panag
Tweets: 438
Following: 393
Followers: 1,181
Joined Twitter: February 1, 2013

Hungary Ambassador to the U.S.
Dr. György Szapáry
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Iceland Ambassador to the U.S.
Gudmundur A. Stefansson
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Ireland Ambassador to the U.S.
Anne Anderson
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Italy Ambassador to the U.S.
Claudio Bisogniero
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @CBisogniero
Tweets: 5,233
Following: 474
Followers: 5,011
Joined Twitter: March 23, 2013

Kosovo Ambassador to the U.S.
Akan Ismaili
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Latvia Ambassador to the U.S.
Andris Razāns
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @razansandris
Tweets: 184
Following: 110
Followers: 159
Joined Twitter: June 11, 2013

Lithuania Ambassador to the U.S.
Žygimantas Pavilionis
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @ZygisPavilionis
Tweets: 5,064
Following: 5,065
Followers: 5,151
Joined Twitter: September 24, 2012

Luxembourg Ambassador to the U.S.
Jean-Louis Wolzfeld
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Macedonia Ambassador to the U.S.
Zoran Jolevski
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @ZJolevski
Tweets: 240
Following: 166
Followers: 672
Joined Twitter:May 12, 2011

Malta Ambassador to the U.S.
Marisa Micallef
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Moldova Ambassador to the U.S.
Igor Munteanu
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Montenegro Ambassador to the U.S.
Srdjan Darmanovic
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Netherlands Ambassador to the U.S.
Rudolf Bekink
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @RBekink
Tweets: 270
Following: 156
Followers: 1,498
Joined Twitter: March 5, 2012

Norway Ambassador to the U.S.
Kåre R. Aas
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @kareraas
Tweets: 150
Following: 118
Followers: 700
Joined Twitter: September 11, 2013

Poland Ambassador to the U.S.
Ryszard Schnepf
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Portugal Ambassador to the U.S.
Nuno Brito
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Romania Ambassador to the U.S.
Iulian Buga
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Russia Ambassador to the U.S.
Sergey I. Kislyak
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Serbia Ambassador to the U.S.
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Vladimir Jovičić
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Slovakia Ambassador to the U.S.
Peter Kmec
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @peterkmec
Tweets: 23
Following: 51
Followers: 77
Joined Twitter: December 15, 2010

Slovenia Ambassador to the U.S.
Dr. Božo Cerar
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Spain Ambassador to the U.S.
Ramon Gil-Casares
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Sweden Ambassador to the U.S.
Björn Lyrvall
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @bjornly
Tweets: 835
Following: 523
Followers: 1,146
Joined Twitter: May 18, 2010

Switzerland Ambassador to the U.S.
Manuel Sager
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Turkey Ambassador to the U.S.
Namık Tan
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

Ukraine Ambassador to the U.S.
Olexander Motsyk
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

United Kingdom Ambassador to the U.S.
Sir Peter Westmacott
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): @PeterWestmacott
Tweets: 189
Following: 104
Followers: 3,052
Joined Twitter: February 7, 2013

Holy See Ambassador to the U.S.
Carlo Maria Viganò
Twitter Account (as of March 31, 2014): None that I could find

EU Ambassador to the U.S.
João Vale de Almeida
Twitter Account (as of April 1, 2014): @ValedeAlmeidaEU
Tweets: 1,618
Following: 170
Followers: 4,720
Joined Twitter: February 22, 2012

First, out of the forty-seven ambassadors from Europe-Eurasia, only sixteen have Twitter accounts.  This surprised me since a lot of the developments in digital diplomacy I’ve seen lately have come from Europe.

Second, I was quite surprised that the ambassadors from Lithuania (Žygimantas Pavilionis) and Italy (Claudio Bisogniero) each had more followers than the ambassador from the EU (João Vale de Almeida).  I don’t know much about Lithuania’s communications team, but I know that one member of Italy’s communications team, Andreas Sandre, has done considerable work in the field of digital diplomacy and participated in the G+ Hangout that led me to look into this information.

Third, France, the Netherlands, and Italy, each have some really cool (and useful) interactive social media sites (even though they may not necessarily focus on the US).  I’ve put links to them in the caption of each image so that you can take a look at the innovative ways they’re using social media.

In an attempt to make this information more useful, I have created a list on Twitter.  Thanks for reading.