A Role for the Crowd in the Future of Foreign Policy

Posted by sgibneygomis on Nov 18, 2013 8:21:22 AM

I spent this past Saturday with an incredible group of graduate students and young professionals at the launch of social enterprise Future Foreign Policy, which aims to give young people a voice in foreign policy.

One of the highlights of the day was when FFP members pitched their foreign policy solutions, and their ideas on what issues the UK should prioritize in foreign policy, to former and current British diplomats. In true challenge style, everyone was welcome to submit a pitch concept in advance, and the top submitters were invited to present on the day. This type of direct engagement between International Relations graduates and diplomats is rare, but direct engagement in foreign policy and International Relations issues doesn’t need to be.

Speaking on the Future Trends panel with Simon Moss, COO and Co-Founder of Global Poverty Project, I encouraged attendees to be aware of and take advantage of crowd trends – from InnoCentive challenges to online petitions, there is a remarkable shift of power happening online, presenting today’s graduates with many avenues to engage in causes they care about, while demonstrating their skills. Read on for a few of my favourite examples:

  1. Donate your time: When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines earlier this month, aid organizations rapidly organized to collect donations and act on the ground. But for those with little change to spare, or wanting to do something more, we also saw the quick emergence of opportunities such as Digital Globe’s Super Typhoon Haiyan Pitch In, enabling individuals around the world to help with rescue efforts from their own desks.
  2. Add your name: Some people are sceptical of the power of online petitions, but a quick review of victories on Change.org, which has 50 million users worldwide, shows the power petitions have to change policies.
  3. Solve a problem: The State Department, USAID and UKTI have all reached out to the crowd with challenges. Browse challenge.gov or the InnoCentive Challenge Center for more.
  4. Share your thoughts: Future Foreign Policy is always accepting applications for writers. Engage with your peers and partners such as Asia House and the Atlantic Community by publishing your research and analysis.

Authored by Siobhán Gibney Gomis, Business Development Director at InnoCentive and Advisory Board Member at Future Foreign Policy

Topics: Challenges

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