Diplomatic innovation award announced

“The award that we are going to be presenting is a step to inject more innovation in diplomacy.”

October 3, 2019 13:06
2 minute read.
Yaniv Cohen and Lea Landman at the Abba Eban Institute in Herzliya

Yaniv Cohen and Lea Landman at the Abba Eban Institute in Herzliya. (photo credit: Courtesy)

While many fields have seen an increase in innovation and creativity, “diplomacy is not one of them,” according to Yaniv Cohen, executive director of the Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya.

To honor those who are involved in innovative projects and initiatives, the Institute will present the InnoDip Award as part of a special session at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on November 21 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem.
“The award that we are going to be presenting is a step to inject more innovation in diplomacy,” Cohen said.

Applications for the award opened in September, and the Institute is accepting applications until Monday from projects and initiatives in five sectors: civil society, media, public sector, private sector and academia. The application launch has sparked interest from around the world, according to Lea Landman, head of the Diplomacy 2030 Desk at the Institute.

“We have seen interest from all five sectors,” she said. “This is important because we see them as part of the diplomatic world. They are part of innovative diplomacy. We believe that the only way to revive diplomacy and make it efficient and pro-active is to have all five sectors working together.”
Landman added that while most submissions came from within Israel, many of them have an international reach beyond the country’s borders.

“We received suggestions and ideas that we hadn’t thought of before,” says Cohen. “This is why we came up with the award – because this is the free market approach. The market can provide the best solutions.”

Diplomacy has lacked innovation because it was historically “conducted between governments, and they had a hard time introducing new methods and new thinking,” according to Cohen. However, he added, diplomats and governments aren’t the only ones who can be agents of diplomatic change.

“If you are a diplomat, you have a unique and interesting profession, but it doesn’t mean that you are the only person in the world that can conduct diplomacy,” Cohen said. “Once diplomats understand that they need to share it with the public and with other sectors, they can reach new heights and new areas of achievements.”

The winners of the InnoDip award will be selected by a committee led by Ambassador Ron Prosor, head of the Institute. Applications will be evaluated based on the venture’s innovation, its overall impact, and the ability to measure its success and meet its defined goals.

“Israel is leading in so many fields in the world, and we say that diplomacy can also be a field that we contribute,” Prosor said. “The way that we conduct it and apply technology to diplomacy can help Israel become a light to the nations. This is what we are trying to build.”

Applications for the InnoDip Awards can submitted until October 7 at innodip.org.

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