On 4 May 2020, a "Meet the Professionals" webinar on "Digital Diplomacy and COVID-19 Crisis Management" took place virtually at the College of Europe in Natolin thanks to the efforts of Thibault STOUTEN, Natolin student of the Hannah Arendt Promotion.
The Ambassador of Belgium to Poland and Lithuania, H.E. Luc JACOBS and Mr Laurens SOENEN, Digital Diplomacy Officer and Communication Strategist at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgium and Natolin Alumnus, kindly accepted to take part in this event.
The webinar provided the students with a better understanding of Digital Diplomacy, and especially in times of sanitary crisis. This discipline has strongly developed in the last few years and has shown its significance in assisting citizens abroad. Indeed, the Online Crisis Management Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium has taken various digital initiatives to reach out to stranded Belgians abroad.
A study conducted by Twiplomacy has for instance praised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium for its Facebook group #BelgenVoorElkaar #BelgesSolidaires #BelgierFürEinander where stranded travellers can go for help and advice from Belgians who live permanently abroad. Mr Laurens SOENEN also touched upon other parts of Digital Diplomacy such as disinformation, cybersecurity or the cooperation between social media platforms and a Ministry of Foreign Affairs in times of crisis.