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Has the COVID-19 Pandemic triggered a Return of Human Solidarity and Progressive Internationalism?

Celebrating Africa Month

By Jaimal Anand and Nicholas Wolpe

24 May 2020

As Ahmed Kathrada remarked, “it would be a wrong interpretation of history if we ignored the role of the international community in our struggle”. This quote by the late struggle icon vividly captures the important role played by the international community in the struggle against apartheid and the pursuit to attain democracy and human rights in South Africa.

Photo: Jaimal Anand, Dirco and Nicholas Wolpe, CEO of Liliesleaf Foundation

The momentum produced by the struggle against apartheid stimulated and harnessed international support that transcended geo-political fault lines, which at the time were pronounced and rigid. As the world rose in unison against apartheid, we witnessed what could be achieved when the world came together as one voice, bound together by a common bond and purpose.

The essence of international solidarity lay in the singularity of purpose of countries. The fight against the injustices of apartheid was a clear articulation of this singularity of purpose. It was much more than just unified political beliefs, ideals, purpose and opposition to a repugnant ideology. It transcended politics and went into the realm of friendship, which was most vividly exemplified by the relationship between ANC president OR Tambo and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. The latter remarked, “there exists no they and we, only us.  Solidarity is and has to be indivisible”. This notion has unfortunately faded with a resurgence of realpolitik in our discourse. The political discourse now is increasingly about a return to preserving borders and keeping the “other” out.


Shaping the Global Agenda through Partnerships

Celebrating Africa Month

Africa and Asia Solidarity in the era of COVID-19

By Anil Sooklal

24 May 2020

We are passing through a stage in human history that will remembered as among the most challenging periods that humanity has endured. COVID – 19 has globalised the oldest and most significant threat to human existence. The threat has been so severe that we have taken to commit ourselves to isolation. Living without social contact goes against the grain of the basic human need for social interaction and human contact, and as the virus becomes globalised human interaction is becoming insular, it is at this point that we are experiencing an increasing need for cooperation and solidarity.

The painful short term scenarios will be marked by illness and loss of life. Along with these age old enemies to humankind we are seeing a renewed upsurge in our dearest friend, human solidarity. There is no disputing that we are at a historic crossroad and the decisions we take now will have lasting implications. Notably, having learned difficult and tragic lessons from countries in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world, most nations have prioritised human life and health. World economies have been decimated, security threats in vulnerable regions are present and continue to creep while public health systems worldwide are facing incredible strain with many on the verge of collapse.


I am Preaching a New Age of Holistic Innovation!

18 May 2020

Interview with Dieter Brockmeyer, Co-Founder and Director Innovation & TIME of Diplomatic World Institute and Chief Project Officer (CPO) of Diplomatic World (Group), Brockmeyer'"s column Change Now is a regular feature on the Diplomatic Society media platforms.

Photo: Crypto Asset Conference, CAC2020

Describing your background, taking us back to your earlier days, what motivated you to establish the Diplomatic World Institute?

I have been a journalist and developer of industry conferences all my professional life with a strong focus on the media and specifically in the TV industry. This connected me to telecommunications and the internet at a very early stage. So eventually I found myself to have developed a strong expertise in innovation. That led to launching a first exclusive global award, the Global Media innovator, which I organized for three seasons. During this period, I also met Barbara Dietrich who at that time took over the Diplomatic World magazine. Within only four of five years she turned that into a recognized global opinion platform where presidents of states, industry leaders and other great minds express their visions on the future of our planet. So, when she approached me with the idea of the Institute this appeared to be a logical step since the world is changing rapidly and needs new approaches and this has been speeding up even more with the Corona virus outbreak.


Southern Powers in a Post-COVID-19 Development Landscape

18 May 2020

By Srimal Fernando

The coronavirus pandemic receives unprecedented press coverage around the world, not just because it is a public health emergency, but also because it is has caused a global economic crisis.  Currently the developing countries in the Global South are faced with an unprecedented challenge from this Covid-19 pandemic.

The Jindal Centre for the Global South (JCGS) organised a webinar on the topic ‘Southern Powers in a Post-COVID-19 Development Landscape’, to discuss the matter more broadly. The keynote speaker, Dr. Philani Mthembu, the Executive Director for the Institute for Global Dialogue, an independent foreign policy think tank in   South Africa, delivered an insightful lecture.

The webinar was facilitated by Dr. Hebatallah Adam, Executive Director of Jindal Centre of the Global South (JCGS) of Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA) . Eminent scholars from different think tanks and a number of university students joined in on the webinar as webinars become the new normal in the practice of social distancing.


South Africa and the EU are better together

13 May 2020

This year Dr Riina Kionka, Ambassador of the European Union celebrated the 70th anniversary of the European Union under South African lockdown rules. The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to many activities around the world and many entities have taken to the digital space to interact.

Photo: Dr Riina Kionka, Ambassador of the European Union in South Africa

To celebrate this milestone MiCasa, a popular, loved, award-winning South African band remotely entertained audiences with their groovy, soulful music.

The European Union delegation in South Africa headed by Dr Kionka was instrumental in repatriating thousands of European citizens who found themselves stranded in South Africa after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a total lockdown from 27 March 2020. This was an enormous logistical task with airlines grounded, airspaces restricted and movement of people not allowed.  But the European ambassadors in South Africa rallied together and successfully facilitated the safe return of their citizens.

Dr Kionka’s remarks on Europe Day 2020

Every year, on the 9th of May, we mark Europe Day.

Not only is the day about celebrating peace and unity in Europe, but it also commemorates the day in 1950 when then-French foreign minister Robert Schuman shared his vision of a new Europe which would make war between the European countries unthinkable. His proposal - the so-called Schuman Declaration - gave birth to what we know today as the European Union.


Travel Agency, donations facilitator and new areas of cooperation: An embassy in a COVID19-crisis

by Karina Hedemark, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Denmark in South Africa

8 May 2020

We all have to get used to a very different everyday life during the COVID19-crisis. As a diplomatic mission, our core work used to be to facilitate incoming and outgoing missions between South Africa and Denmark, issue visas so South Africans could travel to Denmark and prepare high-level visits.

Photo: Mr Tobias Elling Rehfeld, Ambassador of Denmark to South Africa and Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health of South Africa inspecting a donation by Danish company Maersk of personal protection equipment against COVID19

To travel and meet, to have a face-to-face dialogue and shake hands with the right people seemed to be fundamental instruments for diplomacy. But in this COVID19-crisis, we have had to very quickly adjust and shift focus in order to solve the urgent tasks at hand and transform the excellent South African – Danish relationship into activities that would benefit us all in this crisis.


140 Characters Diplomacy

7 May 2020

Even Prof Vincent Ligorio, who is all for face to face, people to people diplomacy had to resort to a webinar platform for his Human and Digital Diplomacy seminar. The webinar hosted in conjunction with the Diplomatic World Institute co founder Dieter Brockmeyer, Director Innovation and TIME for the Institute and CPO, discussed the changing face of human interaction at a time when social isolation due the corona virus pandemic, which has infected millions of people around the world and left over 250 000 dead, has become a norm.

Prof Ligorio, who is the current Vice-Rector for the International Relations/Head of the international Department, Tenured Professor, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Moscow Russian Federation, Team Leader European Commission co-financed project: “EU in the World” and Associate Professor at Presidential Academy for National Economy and Public Administration  -  RANEPA, Moscow, was aptly positioned to lead the discussions.

Describing what he terms “140 Characters Diplomacy” and its disastrous consequences. Ligorio says Diplomacy has been affected by the hyper technological world we live in as several sectors are moving into virtual reality.


Tributes for Denis Goldberg

30 April 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed his condolences following the passing of Rivonia trialist and Esteemed Member of the Order of Luthuli, Denis Theodore Goldberg.

“My thoughts are with Denis Goldberg’s family and his comrades around the country and around the world. This is a sad moment for our nation and a moment for all of us to appreciate Denis Goldberg’s brave dedication to our struggle and his lifelong activism in the interest of – and in the physical presence of - poor and vulnerable communities around our country,” said the President.

Goldberg, who lived in Hout Bay, Cape Town, passed away on 29 April at the age of 87.

In his tribute, President Ramaphosa said Goldberg’s first experience of prison was alongside his mother, who had been detained for four months.

“Such experiences failed to intimidate him. Instead, it fuelled his determination that the liberation movement should use all strategies at its disposal, including armed resistance, to end apartheid.


BRICS Foreign Ministers meet online

28 April 2020

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hosted an extraordinary meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs via videoconference. The event was held as part of Russia’s BRICS Chairmanship.

The ministers reviewed the impact of the crisis provoked by the outbreak of COVID-19 on the system of international relations and agreed that there is no alternative to equal interstate cooperation, without a hidden agenda, in order to find a collective response to global challenges and threats.

The meeting included an in-depth exchange of views on possible joint measures in the BRICS format to contain COVID-19 and deal with the financial, trade, economic and social consequences of the pandemic.


In Cuba healthcare is a human right

7 May 2020

Health workers the world over have been at the forefront of figuring out this new pandemic that has overwhelmed all of our lives. With no clear treatment, no vaccine and no way of completely stopping the spread of Covid-19, lockdown has been the course of action for many countries including South Africa.

In many press conferences by politicians and medics alike, the reason for the lockdown in South Africa was explained as a measure to flatten the curve so as not to overwhelm our fragile healthcare system. In the interim South Africa has received large donations of personal protective equipment that is vital for medical staff treating Covid-19 patients and hospitals have been visited and assessed for their readiness to receive the many patients that are expected at the pandemic’s peak.


NAM creates Covid19 Task Force

4 May 2020

The online NAM Contact Group Summit on the theme "United against COVID-19” was hosted by the current Chairman of NAM, President of Republic of Azerbaijan HE Ilham Aliyev. The objective of the Summit was to promote international solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to mobilise efforts of States and international organisations to address the pandemic. The event also commemorated the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.

Photo: President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa participating in the NAM Contact Group online Summit (Elmond Jiyane/GCIS)

Heads of State and Government and other leaders, including from member States in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe participated in the Summit.

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February/March 2020













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