Stories from the Global Diplomacy Lab

The Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) is a diverse community of almost 300 creative professionals. This blog gives insights into the broad activities and the visions and perspectives of the GDL-members on current and future challenges. From technology and gender-based violence to the cities of the future and security: The topics they are concerned with are as diverse as the members. 

The posts are edited by Mareike Enghusen and the blog is coordinated by Julia Jaroschewski.

The Social Impact Travels of the Global Diplomacy Lab
GDL Member Imran Simmins explores how the GDL encompasses the message and essence of a book entitled “Crossing Boundaries: A Traveler’s Guide to World Peace”.
Dialogue with ‘opposite’ Actors: Business Sector
In the last posts and the ones to come, Gina addresses dialogue between civil society and stakeholders from other sectors. Today, Ginas describes her experience of the dialogue between the business sector and civil society in Latin America.
Water Diplomacy 4.0 - Hope is on the Horizon
GDL Members Kathryn Bryk Friedman and Elsa Marie D'Silva, joined by water expert Prof Irena Creed presented their vision on Water Diplomacy 4.0 - Process Matters at the Transatlantic Climate Bridge Conference hosted by adelphi.
Dialogues among different kinds of Actors: Religious Actors
In previous posts Gina has talked about processes of dialogue between civil society organisations (CSOs) and societal stakeholders, in the next few posts she will address dialogue between civil society and stakeholders from other sectors. Today, Ginas describes how to open up dialogue with the religious sector.
"Time to Deliver"
The W7 group calls on G7 leaders to follow the principles of gender equality, peace and environmental integrity. GDL-member ElsaMarie D´Silva is part of the W7 and here is what they asked for in their new communiqué.
Is the GDL ripe for making History in a transnational World?
As the world is witnessing rising transnational governance, GDL-member Mahmoud Javadi describes how the Global Diplomacy Lab with its professional members might take role in this governance.
"We can work towards a better Future - we just have to envison it today."
From June, 14 to 16, GDL Member Kathryn Bryk Friedman hosted a Lab on Water Diplomacy. Together with dedicated fellow Members and experts they worked on transboundary water issues.
Let's talk about queer Media
Journalists Julia Jaroschewski and Sonja Peteranderl, founders of BuzzingCities Lab and GDL members, organized a panel at the re:publica digital conference to discuss innovative queer media formats, visibility and diversity in newsrooms, broadcasting and cinema.
Pakistan Struggles With Climate Change
Drought in the countryside, heat waves in cities followed by floods - extreme weather conditions highlight the climate change in Pakistan, says GDL Member Mome Saleem.
Getting on the Same Page: The Dialogue between Diverse Civil Society Stakeholders
Can dialogue be utilized as a tool for mediation and conflict resolution? Gina Romero reflects upon reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ related issues in the Americas while debating how to reach a common consensus when discussing controversial topics.
Coffee Break Podcast: ElsaMarie D’Silva on fighting Gender-based and Sexual Violence
In this episode, host Khaldun Al Saadi speaks with ElsaMarie D’Silva about sexual and gender-based violence and her project Safecity.
Peacebuilding that Ignores the Environment is Not Complete
Climate and conflict are interrelated. GDL member Diego Osorio has been thinking about "Adaptive Peacebuilding." He writes about how to address climate-related security risks through repeated experimentation and learning, and how real-time data and analytics can help.
AI Governance: A Unique Challenge for the Global South
Gaurav Sharma not only writes about the benefits of artificial intelligence, but also highlights its risks and challenges and explains what is needed to use it in a target-oriented way.
Coffee Break Podcast: On Education
The fourth episode of the GDL Coffee Break Podcast is up! Host Khaldun Al Saadi talks with Dulguun Batmunkh about education policies and her Knight-Hennessy Scholarship at Stanford University.
Dialogue based on an Intersectional Approach
Gina Romero writes about dialogue based on an intersectional approach – from cultural to gender diversity in America to the UN and other institutions advocating for more inclusive perspectives.
Transnational Approach to Memory Culture
GDL Members visit Neuengamme concentration camp to discuss the topic of “Memory in Presence – Memorial Sites for Empowering Peacebuilding” and how comprehensive and compassionate memory culture can be developed.
Coffee Break Podcast: On Climate Change
The third episode of the GDL Coffee Break Podcast is up! Host Khaldun Al Saadi talks to Tamara Gomez Maríne about climate change and economic inequality.
How to stop Human Traffickers from exploiting the War in Ukraine
With the invasion of Ukraine traffickers’ access to potential victims has increased exponentially, with three million Ukrainians – including more than one million children – having fled the country. GDL-member Eirliani Abdul Rahman about the risk and how to help.
The Concept of “Creative Diplomacy” in International Conflicts
The need for "Creativity in Diplomacy" by collectively taking responsibility has never been as great as it is now during Putin's war in Ukraine.
Guinea-Bissau - Paradise with Side Effects
Malaria is still a deadly disease - on islands in Guinea Bissau, scientists are researching remedies against it, but the fragile governance and corruption of the West African country do not only burden the health system, reports GDL member Julia Jaroschewski.
Climate Change and Security: 3 Key Insights
Both GDL Members discuss climate change as a tightly linked security issues. As conflicts become increasingly threaded to climate and environmental degradation, only global, inter-insitutional, multidisciplinary answers can bring resilience and peace.
Coffee Break Podcast: On Informal Markets
The second episode of the GDL Coffee Break Podcast is up! Host Khaldun Al Saadi duscusses with Omar Jagne the work of informal markets.
„We are not watching a conflict from the outside, we are part of it“
Due to Russia's current military invasion of Ukraine, the Global Diplomacy Lab held a session with GDL Dean Ruprecht Polenz, shedding a light on the relationship between NATO, Russia and Ukraine and discussing the current situation with GDL members.
A Source of Inspiration, Hope and Collective Action
In this post GDL - Member Gina Romero describes why she founded a Network for the Latin American and Caribbean Region and why dialogue is an important tool for citizen diplomacy.
Galloping through Guerrilla Territory
Thirty years ago, a peace deal ended El Salvador’s bloody civil war. In a former conflict hotspot, a tourism cooperative is fighting against oblivion – and building a future. GDL member Sonja Peteranderl rode along with them.
American Higher-Education: What's the Big Deal?
GDL Member Secil Pacaci Elitok provides an outside perspective on American higher education—and gives insight into how teaching and studying has changed over the last decade.
On inner travel. Some Thoughts on Planes and Gardens
Angelina Davydova reflects on her past journeys and visits in different countries. She also remembers the friends she made and some conversations she had with them along the way.
Reshaping old-school, non-digital trade diplomacy
Trade diplomacy should be based more on digital trade activities, and trade agreements should increase the use of digital means and seek ways to boost bilateral trade using digital technologies blockchain and AI.
Thoughts about my experience with dialogue in Latin America
In the past 10 years, GDL Member Gina Romero has been involved in initiatives promoting dialogue among civil society actors and other social actors in Latin America. She will be sharing some reflections or stories about these experiences in order to shed light on dialogue as the greatest tool for citizen diplomacy.
Hello 2022 - What we expect and wish for
For the new year we wanted to hear members' expectations and wishes.
Promoting and Protecting Human Rights of LGBTI Community in Nepal
GDL-member Ankit Khanal emphasises the need to strengthen LGBTI rights in Nepal. With the help of the GDL Solidarity Fund he has organised a first workshop.
beliEVE - Women breaking boundaries
An award-winning podcast by GDL member Elsa Marie D'Silva features inspiring women and their stories.
Improvement in Iranian-European relations is possible
Europe and Iran have long concentrated on shared challenges and differences, instead of on their common interests. GDL Member Mahmoud Javadi argues that there are possibilities for improvement and that the EU can, and should, play its part.
Why looking behind the dominant narrative is so important
GDL Members Elizabeth Maloba and Patrick Mpedzisi reflect on how necessary it is to consider different narratives to reach racial equity and social transformation.
Community-led Crisis Response - Lessons from the Pandemic
Together with local experts, GDL members Sonja Peteranderl and Julia Jaroschewski explore how inhabitants of informal settlements and communities created tools and strategies to tackle challenges in connection with the pandemic when government support was late or insufficient.
A safe listening circle for victims of violence and abuse
GDL Member Elsa Marie D’Silva and her colleague Supreet K’Singh describe why it is important to train facilitators for SafeCircle, a programme that offers a safe space for women, survivors of violence and abuse.
A German Contribution to Engagement between Iran and the Arab World
For a peaceful future, Iran and the Arab World should give their people opportunities to connect. As long as they fail do to so, Germany should help pave the way by using its research excellence and public diplomacy to nurture understanding between researchers from Iran and the Arab World says GDL member Mahmoud Javadi.
“Podcasts can open your mind to a whole new world”
In a five-week-long workshop, GDL members learned how to develop, record and edit their own podcast. Listen to and read about three podcast ideas that they created.
A Disaster for Afghanistan's Girls and Women
How can the international community improve the situation for girls and women under Taliban rule, asks Eirliani Abdul Rahman.
The EU needs a language shift and instruments to tackle fake news
GDL members Elif Çavuşlu and Burak Ünveren write about why the EU is missing its target audience and how it can more successfully counter disinformation through inclusive dialogue.
“A need for collaboration rather than competition”
GDL member Eirliani Abdul Rahman writes together with Suzanne Goodney Lea about why the challenges the world is facing are a chance to establish the “Diplomacy 4.0” model.
"We should never give up in the world of social media"
How do we interact on social media, how are my tweets read, and what can I offer my audience? Members share their impressions from the GDL Social Media Workshop.
Switching the lights on - a GDL member’s project improved road security in a Ugandan village
GDL member Benon Kayemba describes how the GDL’s Solidarity Fund inspired him to launch a solar light project to improve security and provide lighting for children in his home village in Uganda.
Women's leadership is absolutely critical
In a podcast Elsa Marie D´Silva speaks about how she works on advancing gender equality and the prevention of sexual and gender based violence.
Gender is way more than just women’s rights
Camila Gomide writes about how working with the Gender Alliance helped her do more to achieve gender equity.
Strategic Foresight: In the Face of Uncertainty
GDL member Gaurav Sharma shares his take-aways from a two-part Strategic Foresight journey.
How can we make Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships faster?
GDL member Susanne Salz and Darian Stibbe of the Partnering Initiative explore what we can learn from multi-stakeholder partnerships that developed during the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to addressing another global threat: climate change.
Does Russia have the Potential for a Change in Climate Policy?
GDL member Angelina Davydova writes about Russia's current efforts to adapt to global shifts in climate policy.
Community-led Crisis Response - Lessons from the Pandemic
Coronavirus behind bars: GDL members Julia Jaroschewski and Sonja Peteranderl explored how incarcerated people worldwide are affected by Covid-19 and which tools and tactics are helping to alleviate the social, economic and health impact of the crisis.
On a Mission to build Partnerships
GDL members Trinidad Saona and Rong Yang discuss the future of diplomacy and why multidimensional partnerships are becoming increasingly important.
How to foster Employment and Economic Growth
Decent work and economic growth are crucial for sustainable and inclusive development. GDL member Elizabeth Maloba on how to foster employment for all while advancing SDG 8.
International Media for an Inclusive Diplomacy
GDL member Burak Ünveren shares his views on international broadcasters as potential conversation partners for a more inclusive diplomacy.
Max Bouchet in Conversation with City Diplomat Henri-Paul Normandin
“Our collective voice is so much stronger than our individual voice.” says city diplomat Henri-Paul Normandin in conversation with GDL member Max Bouchet.
First We Are, Then We Post
Through raising profound questions Cecilia analyses the challenges of communication for global communities such as the Global Diplomacy Lab.
Domestic Violence: How Women Struggle During COVID-19 Lockdowns
GDL member Elsa D'Silva shares personal stories on how women suffer from domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and gives recommendations on how to take action.
What does urbanisation mean for Pakistan’s cities?
“Reclaim Green Islamabad”, a campaign started by GDL member Mome Saleem addresses the harm rapid urbanisation has done to nature and thus to the inhabitants of Pakistan's capital.
Putting the Digital Divide on the Agenda
GDL member Elsa D'Silva used the UN Summer Academy 2020 to appeal to world leaders: invest in digital technology and education to make sure that no one is left behind.
Care and Inclusiveness as Values for Diplomacy
86% of people want a more equitable and sustainable world after COVID-19, according to a recent study. Can we achieve this goal if we continue to do the same as we did before this crisis?
GDL Talks – Daring to Change: Alternative Ideas to Address Current Global Challenges
With pressing issues around the globe, it is more important than ever to break patterns that lead us to business as usual. The GDL Talks at the 2020 prE-Summit brought powerful and inspirational ideas on how to face some of the current global challenges.
City-to-city Diplomacy
In an article written for the Brookings Institution, GDL member Max Bouchet is discussing city-to-city diplomacy with regard to the Covid-19 crisis and gives an insight into its potential.
Elizabeth Maloba on the Empowerment of Women in Africa
In an interview with the BMW Foundation, GDL member Elizabeth Maloba is discussing the empowerment of women and the importance of the Gender Alliance for rising awareness of gender equality.
Gender Alliance: The Feminist Manifesto
In the framework of the Gender Alliance, several GDL members initiated the articulation of the Feminist Manifesto. Take a look at the result of the cross-network collaboration!
GDL Talks - Security Mission: Global Vision
We are facing common threats that no longer take borders, nationalities, age or gender into account. Listen to the apeals from GDL members Gabriela Canales and Shakeel Ramay on how to face such insecurities.
GDL Talks - Global Leadership in the 21st Century
Listen to the powerful messages delivered by GDL members Netta Ahituv and Chris Fowler on leadership in the 21st century.
Positive Impact of COVID-19: Solidarity and Compassion
COVID-19 has shown humanity the importance of solidarity and compassion. That is good news, says GDL Member Gaurav Sharma.
GDL Talks - Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals
GDL members Blair Glencorse and Patrick Mpedszisi share powerful personal messages on building trust as well as the importance of cooperation and mutual understanding. All for the benefit of creating real partnerships.
The story of GDL’s strategy development
GDL developed a new strategy, titled "GDL 2025: Diplomacy 4.0". Experience the journey towards this strategy through the eyes of GDL's Knowledge Partner. The story begins in the summer of 2019, in warm and colourful Accra, Ghana.
G20 @ TEN: An Urgent Need for Revival
The G20 has progressed as a global governance forum since its first summit in 2009. However, the G20 forum today faces a fundamental crisis that has called its acceptance and viability into question. Read more about it by GDL member Gaurav Sharma.
Between Permafrost and Wildfire – Navigating Climate Change in Russia
Read GDL member Angelina Davydova’s latest articles on the efforts undertaken in Russia to combat climate change.
Today’s (German) Foreign Policy - Why It Is About All Of Us
Read Lena Krause's synopsis about the book “Foreign Policy being at Loss - And Why It Needs Society’s Support” by Volker Stanzel.
Breaking Silence, Ending Violence
Changing Mindsets: "Breaking Silence, Ending Violence" Watch the Award-Winning Documentary Series from Deutsche Welle with Elsa D'Silva featured.
Reflections on Inclusion
Read about Elizabeth Maloba's and Patrick Mpedzisi's perspectives on inclusion and what role it plays in the field of international politics and across cultures divides in this Q&A.
The Lack of a Gender Perspective
Insights from the 2019 Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia highlighted that the lack of a gender perspective leads to a skewed response to current challenges such as climate change, migration and an inclusive democracy.
Uncovering the Role of Women in Crime
Women play an increasingly important role in criminal organisations and terrorism, but also in the fight against crime. The OpenCrime conference that took place within the Bosch Alumni Network in Berlin revealed current challenges and blindspots in the media coverage.
Inclusive Diplomacy and Its Importance For Sustainable Cooperation
Read Ivana Petrov’s latest article about the GDL and its focus on Inclusive Diplomacy.
How Young Russians Are Building a Climate Movement
Read GDL member Angelina Davydova’s latest articles in which she discusses the importance of a growing climate movement in Russia.
How can ownership of the 2030 Agenda be increased?
Flávia Alfenas, founder of the social innovation laboratory Zebralab, sat down with artist and entrepreneur Jörg Reckhenrich to talk about her work encouraging dialogue on sustainability challenges to create social innovations and solutions.
Responsible Leadership Starts With Me
GDL Member Amarachi Adannaya Igboegwu reflects on the SDG Global Festival of Action held in Bonn, Germany earlier this year. Read about what she learned when it comes to responsible leadership.
Collaborative Leadership in Washington, DC
In light of Donald Trump’s controversial Presidency, GDL Member Khaldun Abdulkader Al Saadi reflects on a workshop on collaborative leadership held by the Accountability Lab in Washington, DC in March of this year.
The Colours of Inspiration: Raising the Flag of the GDL
Read about GDL Member Jörg Reckhenrich’s flag workshop during the 10th Lab in Accra, in which he harnessed artwork and creativity to connect members and trigger ideas for solving political challenges.
How This Woman Is Making Cities Safe
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of GDL Member Elsa Marie D’Silva, SafeCities has become an important and influential organisation, working to make cities safer for women.
Why Stopping Violence in Chicago Is A Collective Effort
Chicago is experiencing some of the most severe problems with gang violence worldwide. GDL Member Julia Jaroschewski, reporter and founder of the BuzzingCities Labs, sums up the results of the GDL Impact Lab in Chicago which took place in November 2018.
The Great Threat to Women’s Rights Online: Reflections from World Press Freedom Day
The GDL participated at the World Press Freedom Day 2019. GDL Members Elizabeth Maloba and Patrick Mpedzisi discussed the persistent digital gender gap that impacts the online harassment of women journalists.
Global Changemakers: Cities as Future Labs
At the Latin America-Caribbean Conference GDL Members Julia Jaroschewski and Sonja Peteranderl hosted and facilitated an interactive session on the topic of cities as global changemakers. Read about their three takeaways.
1 Million Species May Become Extinct and What You and I Can Do About It
Read about the danger our human footprint is posing for 1 million species and what we can do to reduce the burden on the nature which we are continuing to cause every day.
How to Own the Monster of Apartheid
Apartheid is still an underlying issue in South Africa even after 25 years of democracy.
Art Thinking: Turning Challenges into Opportunities in Rural India
In the Pepal program companies and NGOs work side by side applying a creative, art-based approach to improve women's hygiene in Indian villages.
The Think-and-Do-Tank that Makes Diplomacy Work
Being part of the strategy process, Elsa D'Silva shares some of her personal and professional experiences as a GDL member.
Stimmen! 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage
An exhibition curated by GDL Member Julie August, giving artists of the Frauenmuseum Berlin a platform to speak out and celebrate 100 years of women suffrage.
Breaking the Silence
This documentary by Deutsche Welle TV featured GDL Member Elsa D'Silva. It follows Indian founders fighting sexual violence against women by using technology-driven solutions.
GDL and Bled Strategic Forum - minds that think alike?
How GDL's innovative approach to encourage out-of-the-box thinking inspired us to upgrade our own concepts.
Multi-stakeholder partnerships: why they matter and how to get them right
To tackle poverty, climate change and other global challenges, governments, businesses and civil society need to work together. Yet it is often challenging to cooperate effectively in multi-stakeholder partnerships. What are the lessons learned for making multi-stakeholder partnerships work?
Skiing 100 miles to the North Pole
Learn about GDL Member Eirliani Abdul Rahman's polar expedition and her motivation - preventing child sexual abuse and helping survivors in their healing processes.
Breaking the Wall of Cartels in international aid
The world gave 146 billion dollars in aid last year, but less than one percent went to local initiatives. A group of frustrated experts is localizing the development industry through innovation tech and sustainable development thinking.
Park Your Assumptions: How to Mediate the Disruption of Ride-sharing Apps
At the initiative of GDL Member Ciara Davies, the Bosch Alumni Network (BAN) teamed up with the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) to co-organise an event this autumn on Design Thinking for Public Policy.
Algorithms, Automatised Justice and Human Rights
Imagine a laundry basket full of socks: big socks, small socks, bright socks, dress socks, sport socks, all types of socks. How fast can you match the pairs? This depends how you proceed. And your methodology may have human rights implications, especially in the criminal justice field.
How street lights can ease women's lives and boost the economy
A major factor blocking women's economic integration is the lack of public safety. This is especially relevant in India, recently named the world’s most dangerous country for women. Elsa Marie D'Silva suggests that to make cities safer, decision-makers must finally consider women’s needs.
Human Trafficking: The Dark Side of Migration
GDL member Eirliani Abdul Rahman writes about her impressions of the Lab on human trafficking in Nairobi in June 2018, organised by the Global Leadership Academy (GLAC) and the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), and why the spirit of Gandhi could be felt throughout the entire event.
United World Colleges - Making Education a Force for Peace and Sustainability
Eirliani Abdul Rahman recently joined the Community Engagement Committee (CEC) of the United World Colleges (UWC) International Board as a volunteer. Founded in 1962, the UWC is an educational movement.The objective is to help 16-19 year old students to develop resilience.
OnPurpose with Blair Glencorse
Blair Glencorse dreams of a world in which resources are used wisely, decisions benefit everyone fairly, and people lead secure lives. Through his organization Accountability Lab he develops and implements positive ideas for integrity in safe communities. On this podcast Blair talks about personal accountability as a starting point.
“I am just going outside and may be some time”
Eirliani Abdul Rahman is a diplomat turned activist. To raise awareness for survivors of sexual child abuse, she is setting out for an expedition to Antarctica in December. Eirliani will be documenting her inner and outer struggles as she is preparing for this trip, pulling a sled with 200 pounds in food and gear, in temperatures dipping to minus 48° Celsius.
"We're not fixed, we're fluent"
GDL by definition is without definition. It’s a laboratory. Therefore, we are constantly experimenting with new things and engaging in self-reflection on what worked and what could be improved. I think this is our big advantage. We’re not fixed, we’re fluent
A journey to the South Pole to raise Awareness
GDL member Eirliani Abdul Rahman on her goal to journey to the South Pole to raise awareness on the issue of child abuse. She will pull sleds weighing more than 60kg, over 60 days, in temperatures which can drop to minus 30 deg C.

Mareike Enghusen

Mareike Enghusen is a Middle East journalist who covers politics and business, as well as social and religious conflicts mainly in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. Her work has been published in German and international outlets such as Brandeins, Capital, Die Zeit, Die Welt, Haaretz and Egypt Independent.

Mareike attended the Henri Nannen School of Journalism in Hamburg and took part in the six-month Trialogue of Cultures Fellowship of the Herbert Quandt Foundation in Israel and the Palestinian territories. As a fellow of the International Journalists’ Middle East Programme, she reported from Cairo in 2017. In 2018, she received a grant from the European Journalism Center to pursue extensive research in Jordan and Lebanon.

Mareike holds an MA in Middle East & Islamic Studies from the American University of Paris and an M.Litt. with distinction in Iranian Studies from the University of St Andrews, UK.

Julia Jaroschewski

Julia Jaroschewski is a reporter and founder of Buzzing Cities Lab, a think tank focusing on digital technology and security in informal settlements such as the Favelas in Rio. She works for Die WELT, Spiegel Online, fluter and WIRED, covering mainly foreign politics, organised crime, the war on drugs and security policy. She studied in Portugal, has an MA in political sciences from Berlin and has worked for the UN in New York and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Mozambique.

Julia has attended the Axel Springer Akademie and Columbia School of Journalism. As a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Besser-Stiftung she reported from Brazil and South Africa, and from Mozambique as a scholar working for Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung. In 2016 she was part of the international journalism programme for South America, working for the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. She has also spent three months in India as a Media Ambassador for the Robert Bosch Stiftung.


Read more about her engagement and how cities can function as future labs for innovative forms of diplomacy. More about her ideas on Women in Crime can be found here. Or read her article on community-led crisis response or on Guinea Bissau.

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