Culture diplomacy and power of ‘Edutainment’

Gihane Zaki
Sunday 3 Mar 2024

With the beginning of the third millennium, people around the world have experienced unparalleled globalization through accelerated technological advancements, which necessitated combining education with entertainment to create one impactful experience, "Edutainment."

 

Recent studies have proven that there have never been such rapid changes in how technology impacts the way people live/work from one year to another.

Therefore, most governments have decided to develop a “smart stratagem” to conform to the perpetual adjustment to the digital revolution as well as the uncommon socio-political situations around the world.

Across the current international arena, technology has turned every sector on its head. Therefore, International relations and diplomacy – among other sectors of the governmental sphere – are enduring, nowadays, a kind of metamorphosis in its character and operational system.

“Diplomacy,” defined originally as the art of building dialogue, maintaining relationships, and conducting negotiations with people using knowledge and mutual respect is hit by the new technological shift.

As a result of the digital age, new platforms were created to broadcast events and air them in real-time, while enabling fast and easy access to the whole world.

Consequently, the profile of the diplomats in charge of promoting diplomacy has changed to break out with “traditionalism.” Those young diplomats cannot only rely on theoretical studies like their predecessors. Hence, there is an undeniable need for high technology awareness. 

In recent years, the term “edutainment” rose, and it rapidly gained great popularity for blending education and entertainment into one enjoyable experience, which is very impactful.  

Storytelling has shown itself as the most effective tool to boost diplomats’ competencies in international relations. It romanticizes the theoretical concepts and translates them to their respective country truth. Young diplomats will have to shift to become storytellers to win with globalization, featuring their country’s wealth across all aspects before the external world. 

Edutainment: Driving force for young diplomats

 

“Edutainment” is a powerful yet professional concept even though it looks like a fun learning experience. In recent years, many diplomats have decided to use this modern form of education to reskill themselves, stay up to date, and increase their chances to compete with the never-ending digital changes.  

Soon, “Edutainment” will have to be introduced into the diplomacy training courses as a driving force that allows the new generation to gain new soft skills that will enhance their ability to win. It will ease access to culture, art, history, and all rather complex topics that once were kept for the subject-matter experts only. It will also become a must to succeed in elevating their country’s history to an unprecedented place to the outside world. 

“Millennial” diplomats can make the impossible possible!

 

Older generations tend to stereotype the new generations, questioning their self-control and individualistic traits. How many times have we heard quinquagenarians complaining about new generations and their addiction to technology? How many times have we felt their deep nostalgia for the good old times? Some have unconscious age biases towards younger generations and their ability to handle responsibilities and run the lives of the older generations when they retire.  

In her book, “Unfairly Labeled,” Jessica Kriegel argues that, as with other stereotypes, generational labels are harmful and unnecessary in the workplace. So rather, we might put an end to this unconscious thought and attempt to understand who these “millennials” are.

The word “millennial” was first introduced in 1987 to define youth, who would graduate in 2000. For the youngest members of the diplomatic sphere, what matters the most at work is happiness and fulfillment. Unfortunately, those young learners often have short attention spans. Here appears the need for “Edutainment” to add entertaining elements to the learning experience, so they can focus for longer periods.

“Edutainment,” through its various forms, will help millennial diplomats to be more receptive to the new needs of “smart diplomacy” than many previous generations, who lived in a less connected world heavily influenced by wars and conflicts.

The ease with which these diplomats can send a Tweet or an image on Instagram has contributed to strengthening global relations, where horizontal exchange of ideas and information is common.

Young diplomats are now boosting global engagement, creating moments with peers from across the world, and leading cultural conversations. They are sharing their vision of the world, breaking down barriers, and preventing misperceptions.

With this new generation of diplomats, we can only hope that their creativity and new methods will re-channel the “war fatigue” toward positive change and harmonious international relations.


* The writer is a member of the Egyptian House of Representatives - Foreign Relations Committee and a researcher at the French national center CNRS - Sorbonne University.

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