Denmark is one of the most digitalised countries and a very influential tech-player in the world, with a relatively small and agile bureaucratic system, a robust, green and reliable energy ecosystem, a creative and adaptive workforce that is well equipped to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution. Yet, like other countries, cities and regions of the world, they must be ready to adapt to and engage with new technologies and their adverse impacts on society, economy and labour market. In 2017, Denmark became the first country in the world to elevate technology and digitalisation a crosscutting foreign and security policy priority. The initiative was named Technological Diplomacy,or simply TechPlomacy.
Denmark hit global headlines in 2017 when former foreign minister,Anders Samuelsen created a dedicated Tech Ambassador post and Casper Klynge became the world’s first Tech ambassador with a clear mandate to build strategic partnerships and engage in a frank and open dialogue on a broad range of topics directly with major technology firms in Silicon Valley, as big companies affect Denmark just as much as entire countries. The initiative also helps to bring home information on emerging tech-trends, which then feed into policy formulation domestically, in the EU and globally.
The Office of the Tech Ambassador had a global mandate and physicalpresence across three time zones in Silicon Valley, Copenhagen and Beijing – transcending borders and regions and rethinking diplomacy.This ambassadorial appointment signifies not only the important socio-economic and political role of technology, but also how diplomacy is evolving and adapting to the disruptive changes in our societies.
These developments mark the prominence of tech-cities on the global scene. Nation-states are no longer the only players in international affairs; cities are also taking centre stage. As part of an interconnected planet, these tech hubs will play an increasingly active role in the global economy. Decision-makers start to recognise the imperative to establish good relationships and understand the tech giants’ policies.
Denmark is the first country to systematically look at diplomacy through technology ‘lens’. This has been a de facto foreign policy experiment, redefining the traditional notion of diplomacy in the process.
NEW TECH AMBASSADOR OF DENMARK
In August 2020, succeeding the first Tech Ambassador, Anne Marie Engtoft (33) was appointed the new Tech Ambassador, as the youngest ambassador ever in Danish history. She assumes the position in Silicon Valley after a three-year stint at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“We must ensure that Denmark develops and changes the global digital future based on our values and principles, and not the other way around,” said Danish foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod. “So, we require a new strategy and a relaunch of the tech initiative.We simply need to produce a tech version 2.0 and attain a more goaloriented Danish effort to encourage tech giants to become good, ‘global community’ citizens.”
Source: Diplomatic Magazine