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Graphic Recording by Susanne Kitlinski Labs 2021
Graphic Recording by Susanne Kitlinski

And now, what’s next?
A preview of the forthcoming regional GDL Labs

by Julia Sattler

2020 was going to be a special year for the GDL, celebrating its 5th anniversary. Since the planned Summit had to be moved to the next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the May 2020 prE-Summit offered the chance for GDL members to connect with one another. The online format of the prE-Summit provided an extraordinary opportunity for the organisers of the forthcoming 2020/2021 GDL Labs – three of them, and on three different continents – to pitch their ideas and win participants for what promises to be a remarkable chance for GDL members to work on the ground and with local partners again after an extended period of online cooperation.

The possibility to learn more about what is planned and which challenges will be tackled by the planned Labs as well as the chance to pose any questions directly to the organisers helped participants of the future Labs to make an informed decision as to which topics and settings they are most interested in and would therefore like to apply for.

Starting with an online format in the autumn of 2020, the forthcoming Labs in Romania, Mexico and India will include in-person meetings to be scheduled for 2021. Following the application period, the Lab organisers are now in the process of finalising their plans for an exciting season of GDL Labs aiming to innovate diplomatic practice by engaging members from a variety of backgrounds on the ground.

The forthcoming Lab in Romania will be organised by GDL member Stefan Cibian. Hosted by the Făgăraș Research Institute and supported by many local partner organisations, ranging from the Town Hall to civil society organisations and the churches, participants will be encouraged to ask critical questions about the role of local communities – such as the local community of Făgăraș, Romania – in the context of global affairs. These smaller towns – small in local population, but large in number if one considers the global context – often remain invisible in the context of questions relating to security, but also in terms of achievement of the SDGs. The Lab thus aims to do crucial work in relation to rural communities and their role in international relations and the potential they may offer to refine diplomatic practice.

Hosted by the Red Dot Foundation, the Lab in India, co-organised by GDL members Elsa Marie D’Silva, Eirliani Abdul Rahman and Rudrani Dasgupta, will invite participants to think about the impact of urban design on inclusive cities, and to contribute to building a more inclusive and safer city for all inhabitants. The Lab will bring participants to Mumbai – a city defined by its staggering contrasts: a city of dreams for some, a slum for others. Taking into account SDGs 5, 11 and 17, the Lab aims to provide an insight into how to examine intersectionality as well as to improve governance and accountability for the city in the long run. This Lab will be an excellent opportunity to develop and try out a model for an inclusive city that could also be applied elsewhere.

The third Lab, organised by GDL member Edna Martinez and hosted by UNDP Mexico, will bring the GDL to Mexico City, but its focus will be beyond that city. The Lab will address the role of public diplomacy in Northern Central America – one of the most important regions affected by ongoing migration due to the borders between El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. The Lab aims to examine this phenomenon and consider it under the headings of sustainability, social justice and economic growth. Defining migration as a multidimensional phenomenon, the Lab will profit from the diversity of its participants and offer new approaches to furthering transnational cooperation between non-government actors that could also be used in other fields.

For the GDL, united by the idea of supporting local populations and local actors, 2021 promises to be a successful year – one of ongoing international and interdisciplinary involvement, of developing new ideas for global diplomacy and of contributing to a fairer and more sustainable world after COVID-19.

European Diplomatic Programme
GDL members have trained young diplomats in communication, mediation and leadership.
Bled Strategic Forum, August 31, 2020
GDL members host a virtual session on city diplomacy and the future of multilateralism
Gender Alliance Summit on August 26-28
Three days of interactive online sessions bringing together feminist across networks
Online GDL prE-Summit, May 10-30, 2020
A series of virtual formats bridging the waiting time for in person meetings in the GDL community
1+1=17? Partnerships for the SDGs
What constitutes a strong partnership when what you reach for is a better world?
Global Leadership in the 21st Century
"Leadership is a matter of constant preparation and an exercise in day-to-day decisions"
Security mission: global vision
A virtual fishbowl aimed at understanding global security threats requiring new ways of cooperation.
Inspiring Labs - then what?
GDL members, hosts and partners discuss how to move further with past Labs
And now, what’s next?
A preview of the forthcoming regional GDL Labs in 2021
City Diplomacy and the Future of Diplomacy
What role could city diplomacy play for the future of multilateralism?
Falling Walls Lab 2019: Walls in Diplomacy
Ivana Petrov presented a pitch about the importance of inclusive diplomacy
Bled Strategic Forum 2019
(Re)sources of (In)stability: GDL members hosted a Night Owl Session
GDL and the Fulbright Program
David Patrician and Juliana Figale presented "Being global citizens"
Federal Foreign Minister Maas focused on LAC
GDL members shaped the LAC initiative and the Forum: Future Affairs
Workshop at the World Press Freedom Day 2019
Elizabeth Maloba and Patrick Mpedzisi discussed safety of women journalists
Online Safety of Women Journalists
UNESCO, Bosch Alumni Network and GDL co-create a session at OSCE conference
European Week of Regions and Cities
Egin Ceka discussed freedom, independence and plurality of media in EaP countries
City Diplomacy for Better EU Enlargement
GDL Members pitched their ideas at the European Parliament in Brussels
GDL selected for the first Paris Peace Forum
The GDL was one of 120 projects within the Space of Solutions at the 2018 Paris Peace Forum
Design Thinking for Public Policy
Uber & Co. vs. Taxis – Test driving Design Thinking in a real-world public policy challenge
Bled Strategic Forum 2018
How do we distinguish a fact from a perception or a myth? How do we bridge the divide?
Raising Awareness of Unconscious Bias
The Global Diplomacy Lab held a workshop at the UN Global Festival of Action
What will be the next wall to fall?
Elizabeth Maloba on how to fight youth unemployment at the Falling Walls Lab in Berlin
Climate Change Multi-stakeholder Diplomacy
The Global Diplomacy Lab at the German Pavilion during the COP23 in Bonn
Jasdeep Randhawa at the Climate Conference
Climate Action & Human Wellbeing at a Crossroad: Historical Transformation or Backlash?
40th Anniversary of the Brandt Commission
GDL Members pitched their visionary ideas to Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question!
The Global Diplomacy Lab at the Bled Strategic Forum 2017
Managing Diversity in a Time of Turmoil
The Global Diplomacy Lab at the Global Media Forum of Deutsche Welle in Bonn
Decoding Global Diplomacy
Fifth GDL Digital Series on 29 September, 6 & 12 October
Falling Walls Conference & Lab 2018
Tarek Alsaleh presented his pitch on how to break the Wall of Localising Aid
Creative Bureaucracy Festival 2018
Julia Kloiber and Nicola Forster represented the GDL at the Creative Bureaucracy Festival 2018
The Hague Digital Diplomacy Camp
An unconference about influence and diplomacy in a diffuse digital world
Love Out Loud GDL@re:publica 2017
Julia Kloiber speaks at re:publica about Collaboration in Civic Tech, Berlin, 8 May 2017
Open Situation Room in Bogota and Medellin
Reintegration Strategies for Internally Displaced Persons in Post-Conflict Colombia, 21 March 2017
Open Situation Room in Mumbai
Bridge over Troubled Waters: Achieving Water Security in India, 22 March 2017
Open Situation Room in Kathmandu
Technology and Community Presence to Prevent Catastrophes, 21 March 2017
Open Situation Room in Montreal
Leveraging Technology and Diplomacy: Creative Solutions to Humanitarian Crisis, 20 March 2017
Open Situation Room in Geneva
Creating Digital Trust and Engagement in Remotely Controlled Environments, 21 March 2017
Humanitarian Diplomacy Lab
A Series of Open Situation Rooms across the Globe with Pitch Night in San Francisco, March 2017
When Paul came over the Sea
Documentary #Pauloverthesea - Journal of an Encounter by GDL Member Jakob Preuss
Cities Combating Urban Poverty
HABITAT III - SODEM in partnership with GDL and FES Turkey, Quito 19 October, 2016
GDL Member at UN Summer Academy
United Actors Founder Susanne Salz joins UN Summer Academy in August 2016
Financing Global Education Opportunity
GDL member Amel Karboul speaks at UN General Assembly, September 2016
Embassy Lab on Future Diplomacy, Berlin 2016
GDL Side Event: Embassy Lab on Future Diplomacy, Berlin 7 October, 2016
Bled Strategic Forum, Slovenia 2016
GDL Side Event: Night Owl Session at Bled Strategic Forum, Slovenia 5 to 6 September, 2016
Strong GDL Representation at WRLF
World Responsilbe Leaders Forum of the BMW Foundation, 19 to 22 May 2016, Munich
GDL Member at Falling Walls Lab
Susanne Salz speaks at Falling Walls Lab in Berlin, November 2015
From United Nations to United Actors
GDL Side Event in New York, 12 October 2015

Julia Sattler

Julia Sattler is Assistant Professor of American Studies at TU Dortmund University, Germany. Following her dissertation, in which she analysed mixed race narratives using the theoretical framework of contextual family therapy, she began exploring the intersections of American studies and urban planning, mostly working with Detroit, MI, and her native Ruhr Valley. She has worked with multiple urban redevelopment projects, and has co-taught a number of classes with urban-planning colleagues from Germany and the US. Following this trajectory, she is now studying the negotiation of radical urban transformation processes in American poetry. Furthermore, she is conducting research for a new book project on female responses to Walt Whitman’s poetry. Beyond her academic interests, Julia loves theatre, travel, photography and creative writing.  


Stefan Cibian

Stefan Cibian believes that together we can generate social change and inspire our communities. He is passionate about bringing together global experiences and everyday local activities and does this through his work in research, consulting and volunteering.

Stefan has a background in development, international relations, political science and law and received his MA and a PhD from Central European University. His research focuses on peacebuilding, statehood and development in Africa. He is also involved in civil society activities, focusing on community development and resilience. Stefan is director at Cibian Consulting and co-initiator of the Făgăraş Research Institute. He is a visiting lecturer in international development at Babeş-Bolyai University.

Previously Stefan was an Academy Robert Bosch Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, Chatham House.

Elsa Marie D’Silva

Elsa Marie D’Silva is the founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity), a platform that crowdsources personal experiences of sexual violence and abuse in public spaces. Since Safecity started in December 2012, it has become the largest crowd map on the issue in India, Kenya, Cameroon and Nepal.
Elsa Marie is an alumna of the US State Department’s Fortune Program, a fellow with Rotary Peace, Aspen New Voices and Vital Voices, and a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. She is listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women. Moreover, she has won the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award launched by Dušan Stojanović (European Angel Investor of the Year 2013) and the SheThePeople’s Digital Woman Award in Social Impact.
Prior to Safecity, she spent 20 years in the aviation industry, where she worked with Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. In her last role in aviation, she was Vice President Network Planning.

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Read more about Elsa's work at Safecity and see for yourself in this documentary. She also has a very clear vision for the Global Diplomacy Lab.

Eirliani Abdul Rahman

Eirliani Abdul Rahman is co-founder of YAKIN (Youth, Adult Survivors & Kin In Need), an NGO working in the field of child rights and child protection issues, and a member of Twitter’s Safety & Trust Council. She is also Programme Director at the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.

In September 2015, the #FullStop to #childsexualabuse campaign that Eirliani led on behalf of Nobel Peace laureate Satyarthi reached 16 million people over six weeks. She won the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award the same year. She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Eirliani edited Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s book Will for Children, a collection of essays on child labour published in 2016. Her book on true accounts by survivors of child sexual abuse Survivors: Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse was published by Marshall Cavendish in 2017. It is now in its third print run. She also contributed a case study to the medical textbook Essentials of Global Health, co-edited by Babulal Sethia, Past President and Global Health Lead of the Royal Society of Medicine, published by Elsevier in London in 2018. The book won first prize in the Public Health category at the 2019 British Medical Association book awards.

Eirliani was in the Singapore Foreign Service from 2005 to 2015, serving in Berlin as First Secretary (Political) and then in Delhi as Political Counsellor. From June 2015 to November 2017, she was a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL).

Eirliani trains in Colorado and Nunavut, Arctic Canada. She speaks English, German, Bahasa and Russian.

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Read more about Eirliani in her latest blog article. You can also read her articles about her polar expedition, about human trafficking, the injustice of the Brexit for the British Youth and learn more about her work and activism.

Rudrani Dasgupta

Rudrani Dasgupta works with ActionAid India, an international non-profit aiming to eliminate poverty. Having graduated from University College London with a Masters in sociology (childhood and children’s rights) on a full scholarship, she is now a child rights researcher primarily interested in exploring the long-term impact of structural violence on children, especially in education and family.

She is currently coordinating a state-level study examining the impact of domestic violence on children. Recently, she was part of a state-level committee that drafted a school safety policy for the state of West Bengal in India.

Rudrani has been mentoring young people across the geosocial-economic spectrum ever since she spent two years working in a remote Himalayan school for first generation learners. She also takes a personal interest in mentoring young people from non-traditional and non-linear backgrounds.

Edna Elizabeth Martinez Quintanilla

Edna Martinez is an enthusiastic consultant in sustainable development and public policy. For over a decade, Edna has worked to design, develop and implement public policies focused on sustainability. She has adapted international agendas to the Mexican context, such as sustainable production and consumption, waste management, eco-labelling and, most recently, the 2030 Agenda, most commonly known as the Sustainable Development Goals.

Edna worked at the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources for over five years, where her proudest achievements include the development of a National Strategy and a Special Program in Sustainable Production and Consumption. She has collaborated with UNDP and the Office of the Presidency in the design of the Implementation Strategy of the SDGs for Mexico and for FAO in the Foresight of the Agricultural Sector. Edna also co-wrote a public policy recommendation for the T20 when chaired by Germany. She also finds great satisfaction in sharing knowledge digitally, in open forums and teaching at universities.

Edna is currently part of a project that is creating an offsite space for co-creation, team building and workshop spaces for international and local organisations. This space, known as Mineralito, is in a tranquil rural area, surrounded by beautiful green landscapes and natural reserves. Knowledge sharing and designing and creating sustainable lifestyles is what inspired Mineralito. This project has turned Edna into an avid researcher of bio-construction in the creation of this magical place, where everything is designed and built with sustainability in mind and shared to be replicated.

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