RIYADH: The global multilateral Digital Cooperation Organization hosted the second Diplomatic Connect event to foster digital diplomacy for member countries and international partner organizations.

The event, hosted at the Embassy of Oman in the Saudi capital Riyadh, highlighted the critical role of artificial intelligence and digital diplomacy in promoting international cooperation in the digital age.

The DCO is committed to fostering a welcoming space for the diplomatic community and other stakeholders to convene for conversations on diplomacy and technological innovation.

Founded in November 2020, the DCO enables digital prosperity by accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy.

The organization brings together the ministries of communications and IT of 15 nations — Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia.

Together, the member countries represent almost $2 trillion in GDP and a combined market of almost 600 million people, more than 70 percent of whom are aged under 35.

The second edition of Diplomatic Connect brought together government officials, private sector leaders and technology experts to explore the transformative potential of digital innovation in international relations.

The gathering welcomed 24 prominent guests, showcasing the the power of digital innovation, new technological advancements, and data-driven insights to enhance decision-making and international relationships.

Renowned deep tech diplomacy and tech advocate Prof. Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes delivered the keynote speech, titled “Advancing Global Diplomacy: Navigating AI’s Role and Challenges in the ‘Phygital’ Era.”

Her presentation delved into digital diplomacy and artificial intelligence, illustrating pathways for enhancing global diplomatic efforts through technology.

Sayyid Faisal bin Turki bin Mahmoud Al-Said, ambassador of Oman to Saudi Arabia, said: “Hosting this prestigious event at the Embassy of Oman symbolizes our unwavering commitment to nurturing diplomatic relations and endorsing digital advancements for global betterment. We look forward to the valuable insights and the collaborative initiatives that this gathering will undoubtedly advance.”

DCO Secretary-General Deemah Al-Yahya said: “Digital transformation has disrupted our lives in ways we could never have imagined. AI, cloud, quantum, Metaverse, blockchain — all have a real-world impact on both the public and private sectors, and civil society. The diplomatic ecosystem undoubtedly finds itself in a state of flux as the very nature of diplomatic relations and how countries communicate with each other changes thanks to rapid digital transformation. Digital doesn’t know or recognize borders.”

The objective of Diplomatic Connect is to facilitate discussions and build awareness about the meaningful ways in which the diplomatic ecosystem can embrace innovation and transformation in the digital era.

Speaking about the impact of the event, Vasiliu-Feltes said: “The second DCO Diplomatic Connect is a pivotal juncture to explore and understand the intricate correlation of artificial intelligence with global diplomacy. It is an opportunity to navigate the challenges and amplify the role of AI, ensuring robust, resilient and innovative diplomatic engagements in the contemporary world.”

Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ahmed Farooq welcomed the decision to host the upcoming third Diplomatic Connect at his country’s embassy in Riyadh.

Through the event, the DCO aims to bridge the digital and diplomatic worlds, and facilitate collaboration.

The event comes as part of DCO’s strategy to advance digital diplomacy through knowledge sharing, innovation and inclusivity.

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