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Lab 1: GDL’s Founding Meeting

Berlin, 13 to 16 November 2014

Thirty-two alumni of the Federal Foreign Office, the BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Stiftung Mercator were invited to participate in the founding of the Global Diplomacy Lab. Together with the Global Diplomacy Lab's Dean, Mr Ruprecht Polenz we gathered in Berlin from 13 to 16 November 2014 to sketch multiple facades of trust portrayed in global affairs. To open original pathways for a more inclusive diplomacy, the Global Diplomacy Lab seeks to identify experimental approaches focusing on cross-sectoral knowledge exchange and on the drawing of a common language.

Download Programme (Pdf)

Download Conference Report (Pdf)

Lab 2: Fragmentation vs. Integration - Towards a More Inclusive Global Order

Istanbul, 4 to 7 June, 2015

Thirty-two members, some of whom also participated in the 1st Lab, were invited to continue the result-oriented dialogue in Istanbul from 4 to 7 June 2015. Debating the topic “Fragmentation vs. Integration: Towards a More Inclusive Global Order”, the participants designed a co-creation space by sharing their thoughts and projects with renowned guests, as well as in peer-to-peer-sessions.

Download Programme (Pdf)

Download Conference Report (Pdf)

Lab 3: Status - unresolved! Designing migration policies for the future

Berlin, 5 to 8 November, 2015


In the 3rd Lab, GDL members brought their own reflections and projects to the debate and shaped the Lab’s formats with innovative and experimental approaches. In addition, two new members of the Advisory Council were elected on this occasion.

Download Programme (Pdf)

Deutsche Welle Report

When People Push Boundaries Together: New Ideas for Tackling the Refugee Question (Pdf)

Lab 4: Do the Ends Justify the Means? The Significance of International Law and Moral Standards in Diplomacy

Berlin, 9 to 12 June 2016 

This year’s Global Diplomacy Lab dealt with questions such as: Does realpolitik prevail in the end? What about the responsibility to protect? What role do interests, morals, and international law play in such issues? Can methods such as DiploHack – where the specific know-how and skill sets of diplomats, social entrepreneurs, tech developers and designers, academics, and NGO representatives are combined in start-up style groups – help find solutions to the current crises and global issues? 

By using innovative and experimental knowledge-sharing methods such as open spaces, fishbowl discussions, and open situation rooms, the Global Diplomacy Lab’s participants brought their own reflections and projects to the debate.

Download 4th Lab Programme

Download 4th Lab Opening Statement by Secretary of State Stephan Steinlein

Download 4th Lab Publication: New Tools of Citizens’ Diplomacy to Find Solutions in Syria

In preparation of the 4th Lab, the GDL hosted its second Virtual Session Series.

Lab 5: Balancing Power through Information Technology

Montreal, 3 to 6 November 2016

The digitization of the world is changing diplomacy in ways we have yet to fully grasp. People working on international issues and diplomacy need to understand how quickly technology is bringing transformational changes to their professions.

According to the members of the Global Diplomacy Lab, diplomacy "is no longer the strict purview of national governments and international organizations." More and more individuals are becoming diplomats in their own way, due in part to the digital revolution, which has given not only world leaders and diplomats but also ordinary citizens the tools and platforms to communicate in new and innovative ways. Today, most citizens and communities can communicate with policymakers and organizations in other nations – and vice versa.

Key questions in the 5th Lab were: How can state and non-state actors help shape and improve global governance and foreign policy decision-making through information- and communication technology? Is digital diplomacy just a new tool or a step towards a more balanced relationship between state and non-state actors?

Download the 5th Lab Programme

Download the 5th Lab Publication: Decoding Global Diplomacy - Balancing Power through Information Technology


Dean: Ruprecht Polenz

Ruprecht Polenz was a member of the German Parliament from 1994 to 2013 as representant of the City of Muenster. He was the Chairman of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2013. He is currently special envoy of the German Government for the negotiations between Germany and Namibia about the colonial past.  The focal points of his work are foreign and security policy, with regional emphasis on the Middle East, in particular Iran and Turkey and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is following the political effects of Islam both in this region and beyond with particular interest. Good transatlantic relations with the USA are especially important to him. Polenz became senior member of the CDU party on April 10, 2000 under the presidency of Angela Merkel. From April to November 2000, he was the Secretary-General of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Ruprecht Polenz holds a number of voluntary positions: President of the German Association for East European Studies (DGO), German Co-Dean of the Turkish-Europe-Future-Forum (a common Enterprise of the Mercator-Foundation and TÜSIAD), Senior Adviser to the Bosch-Alumni-Program with the USA, member of the board of trustees of Grünhelme e.V. (“Green Helmets”, a humanitarian agency), member of the board of trustees of Münster University of Applied Sciences, member of the advisory council of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

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