2022 Diplomacy Forum: Statecraft in the Evolving Frontiers: Ocean, Arctic and Space

April 12, 2022 - 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm

The Duke University Center for International & Global Studies (DUCIGS)/Rethinking Diplomacy Program and Space Diplomacy Lab are proud partners supporting the 2022 Meridian Diplomacy Forum which will explore international relations and the shifting global order in arenas of limited sovereignty.

Science and technological innovation are decreasing the barriers of entry to space, while climate change is expanding the operability of the Arctic and renewing focus on our oceans.

Each of these frontiers offer exciting opportunities to improve and support humankind. At the same time, national and corporate interests are bound to collide with the participation of more state and non-state actors. Diplomacy is paramount to establish a set of norms to maintain order and avoid conflict.

A Hybrid Event

The 2022 Diplomacy Forum will gather senior diplomatic, government and business leaders alongside university students and other young aspiring diplomats to help provide inspiration and linkages to a career in diplomacy and international relations

Held in-person on Meridian’s historic Washington, DC campus, and live streamed on Meridian’s digital platforms for a global audience, the afternoon program will feature remarks from key decision makers, in-depth panel discussions, and lots of networking opportunities.  




1:00 PM  Introductory and Keynote Remarks

1:30 PM Ocean Alliances and Governance: A Rising Tide for Maritime Diplomacy 

Oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, house 80% of the planet’s life and carry 90% of globally traded goods. Oceans are also a whale of an ally in combating climate change as they absorb 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions and capture 90% of the additional heat generated from those emissions. While maritime issues have failed to surface on the world stage in recent years, a sea change may be underway. President Emmanuel Macron recently announced a new coalition to deliver a global high seas treaty for marine conservation, and the UN will host its first ocean conference in over five years this summer. This session will wade into how nations are employing “blue diplomacy” to tackle issues from pollution and overfishing to piracy and shipping constraints. It will also explore the state of U.S. maritime leadership, while detailing the responsibilities of the State Department and other agencies regarding oceanic security, boundaries, and scientific research.

3:00 PM Breaking the Ice: The Emerging Landscape for Arctic Diplomacy

Eroding coastlines, thawing permafrost, and disappearing sea ice in the Arctic are giving way to new shipping routes and greater access to ports as well as oil, gas, and critical minerals. Conversely, the longtime spirit of cooperation and peace among some Arctic governments is growing increasingly frosty. Many nations, including the United States, are turning to their militaries and making bellicose moves to safeguard their interests in the region and forecast their ambitions. This session will explore how the U.S. Arctic Policy can balance the Biden Administration’s increasing environmental and anti-climate change agenda on one hand with important security and economic interests on the other. It will also make the case for expanding science diplomacy, while showcasing successful applications of economic and public diplomacy.

4:30 PM Universal Appeal: The Astronomical Need for Modern Space Diplomacy

Sustained international cooperation and harmony in space has led to scientific and technological breakthroughs, strengthened natural disaster response, and now may support efforts to combat climate change. Today, space activity is greatly accelerating by both nation-states and private enterprise for commercial, security and scientific purposes. The potential for future conflict is skyrocketing as nation-states develop an array of counterspace weapons, while increased traffic may lead to collision with satellites and harmful space debris. The global governance system remains limited and antiquated, with many calling for modernization of the Outer Space Treaty. Diplomacy is needed to establish international regulations and norms of responsible behavior commensurate with today’s opportunities and challenges. This segment will address the call for U.S. leadership to work with other nations to modernize the global governance system to maintain peace and comradery in space, while fostering an environment supportive of commercialization and private sector innovation.    

Careers in International Affairs Networking Reception

As part of the DiplomacyRISE initiative, Meridian is hosting an evening reception in Linden Garden to engage the next generation of global affairs leaders with current international affairs practitioners. College students and young professionals will have the opportunity to interact with Foreign and Civil Service Officers and other professionals who have spent their careers in international relations.

Confirmed Speakers

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  • Duke University Center for International and Global Studies
  • Rethinking Diplomacy