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Diplomacy and digital society – Federal Foreign Office at re:publica19 

re:publica 2019

re:publica 2019, © picture alliance/dpa

06.05.2019 - Article

For the past 13 years, re:publica has been the key forum for debates and ideas on the future of the digital society. 

Under the motto “tl;dr” (“too long; didn’t read”), this year’s event is addressing the complex changes that interconnectedness, digital transformation and artificial intelligence have brought about in our societies. The Federal Foreign Office also wants to make use of the opportunity to take part in an informed and critical discussion on the foreign policy impact of digital transformation.

Complex discussions instead of simplification and polarisation

From 6 to 8 May 2019, re:publica will provide space for open and in depth debates on complex issues, thus counteracting simplifications and polarisation.

Digital transformation will also dramatically change the conduct of international relations. The Federal Foreign Office will take part in the following events on diplomacy and digital transformation at re:publica19.

Does the internet need international rules?

The utopia of the internet as a space where opinions, information and ideas can be freely exchanged has become the nightmare scenario of a virtual battlefield in which disinformation, bots and hate speech are the weapons.

Does that mean we need binding rules for state and non-state actors in the digital sphere? And who could set and enforce these rules? Or would state regulation in particular threaten to stifle the emancipating force of the internet forever?  

These questions will be discussed at an event called “Space of liberty or zone of conflict – who sets the rules for the internet?” on stage 4 at 5.30 p.m. on 7 May.

The panel will be as follows:

Wolfram von Heynitz, Head of Cyber Foreign Policy and Cyber Security Coordination Staff, Federal Foreign Office (Berlin)

Fiona Hui Hui, Head of Region, APAC and Southeast Asia, Axel Springer SE Marketing & Classifieds Media (Berlin)

Julia Schuetze, Project Manager, International Cyber Security Policy, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (Berlin)

Max Senges, Lead for Research Partnership and Internet Governance, Google (Berlin)

The discussion will be chaired by Gemina Picht, FUTURZWEI, Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit (Berlin).

For further information, please see https://19.re-publica.com/de/session/space-liberty-or-zone-conflict-who-sets-rules-internet.

Tackling challenges together

Under the motto “wunderbar together”, the Federal Foreign Office will also present its Deutschlandjahr USA 2018/19. The highlights of this year include events in the Sequencer Tour, with stops in L.A., Austin, New York, Detroit and Portland. re:publica, the Reeperbahn Festival and next media accelerator are presenting some of the best-known people involved in this digital road show, including the Detroit based artist Tiff Massey, the Canadian blogger Cory Doctorow and the American technology ethnographer Alex Rosenblat. Another highlight at re:publica19 is the German première of Our City 2049, a virtual reality project by Hesse Broadcasting Corporation and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering.

The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development fund international activities. “Whether it be digital media, design or other sectors of the creative economy – innovation and international ties go hand in hand; more than ever, we need free and creative makers for an open and innovative society,” says Andreas Görgen, Director-General for Culture and Communication at the Federal Foreign Office, who is attending the conference.

For further information, please see https://19.re-publica.com/de/partner/wunderbar-together.


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