[WebDebate #45] Visual storytelling for diplomatic practice

Diplomacy is often thought of as a practice centering on language. Yet, the visual image of diplomatic practice is increasingly important in a world in which images proliferate and videoconferencing has replaced face-to-face meetings. Diplomats need to be aware of the power of images, and need to have a sense of best practices and potential pitfalls when it comes to visual storytelling.

There is no better example of the increasing importance of images and visual storytelling than the 2020 high-level segment of the UN General Assembly. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, heads of states and governments were unable to travel to New York for the opening of the assembly. Instead, each country sent a video message that was displayed in the assembly hall.

What can we learn from these images? Which pitfalls are best avoided? What best practices can we identify when we take a visual and digital-driven pespective? In turn, how can we incorporate perspectives on storytelling and ‘storyshowing’ in digital diplomatic practices?

In order to address these questions, we are joined by Ms Stéphanie Fillion, a journalist working on UN affairs who recently wrote the article ‘The Dos and Don’ts of Digital Diplomacy in the Covid-19 World’, and Dr Massimiliano Fusari, an academic and consultant on digital media as a visual storytelling means.

Join us on Tuesday, 2nd February, at 13:00 UTC (08:00 EST | 14:00 CET | 21:00 CST) for 45 minutes of discussion and Q&A with our experts.



Ms Stéphanie Fillion is a Canadian reporter specialising in international affairs, and based at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. She is a regular contributor to PassBlue, an independent media covering the UN, and she co-hosts UN-Scripted, a podcast on the UN. Fillion also covers the UN for Asahi Shimbun and is a contributor to Forbes, Radio-Canada, and Foreign Policy. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School in New York and McGill University in Montreal, and was awarded the Canada–EU young journalist award in 2015. She is fluent in French, English, and Italian.


Dr Massimiliano Fusari researches and produces digital media as visual storytelling for the strategic communication of social topics and international affairs. He is a recognised academic scholar and results-driven consultant with 30 years of established education and professional experience. As associate professor at the University of Westminster (UK), he runs the Digital and Interactive Storytelling LAB and lectures in the analysis and production of visual literacy, digital creativity, and cross-platform storytelling. He is currently reshuffling his online lab, The Visual Storytelling Academy, to incorporate the production of his mobile app –The Meta-Image. Read more on LinkedIn.

Moderator: Dr Katharina Höne, Director of Research, DiploFoundation

About our WebDebates

Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by DiploFoundation within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our series of WebDebates.


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