The future of diplomacy: new tools for a new global order

This talk will explore scenarios for the future diplomatic environment and their implications for the reform of diplomatic services.  


Shaun Riordan, Senior Visiting Fellow, Clingendael Institute

Cat Tully, Director, FromOverHere

Robert Cooper, Diplomat; former Counsellor, European External Action Service

Chaired by

Susi Dennison, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR

The international environment is changing rapidly as new technologies shape and enhance the engagement of both state and non-state actors. At the same time, the relative decline of US hegemony has driven instability and conflict, from which old geopolitical agendas have re-emerged.  Diplomats and Diplomatic Services, under ever increasing budgetary pressures, risk being left behind in a world of new challenges and new capabilities. How can diplomatic services identify the structures, skill-sets and knowledge bases they will need in 20 years and how can they innovate? What is the role of new diplomatic actors, including the EEAS, in developing new models?

Based on our speakers’ years of experience in the diplomatic service and the findings of the ECFR Foreign Policy Scorecard and ECFR’s work on Global Strategy, this discussion will explore scenarios for the future diplomatic environment and their implications for the reform of diplomatic services.

Shaun Riordan is a Senior Visiting Fellow of the Clingendael Institute and Head of Economics and Theory of Knowledge at the International College Spain. He is also an independent consultant advising governments and firms on the analysis and management of geopolitical risk. Shaun served for 16 years in the British Diplomatic Service. He is the author of “The New Diplomacy” (Polity 2003).

Cat Tully is Director of FromOverHere, a consultancy providing strategy and foreign policy advice. Cat is also an Associate Fellow of Exeter University’s Strategy and Security Institute, a visiting Director at Wilton Park, and co-founded the School of International Futures. Previously, Cat was Strategy Project Director at the FCO and Senior Policy Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.  

Robert Cooper is a Diplomat and a former Counsellor at the European External Action Service. He joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1970 and, before moving to Brussels in 2002, he was Special Representative for the British Government in Afghanistan. Mr Cooper is a Council Member of ECFR.

Susi Dennison is a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She works on a wide range of issues and she is a project leader for the ECFR European Foreign Policy Scorecard and also works on the Europe’s Global Strategy project. Susi previously worked at Amnesty International and HM Treasury.