Former diplomats to offer expertise to deal with global crisis

At the end of the inaugural planning meeting of Diplomats Without Borders (DWB) at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy adopted the Bellagio Declaration and decided to offer new ways to mediate in the global crisis.

Former diplomats to offer their expertise to deal with global crisis
Image Credit: Boston University

In the midst of emerging threats and countries getting together to help deal with different crises, a new organisation, Diplomats Without Borders, has recently taken birth at the end of a meeting in Italy.

At the end of the inaugural planning meeting of Diplomats Without Borders (DWB) at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy adopted the Bellagio Declaration and decided to offer new ways to mediate in the global crisis. The meeting in Italy took place from May 30-June 3, 2022.

Countries present at this meeting

US-based PassBlue, an independent, women-led nonprofit multimedia news company, a project of the New School’s Julien J Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs has said in a report that there was a group of former diplomats and experts from 13 countries which had gathered in Italy. Chile, Kenya, Jamaica, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Britain, Ireland, Mali, Egypt, Guyana, the US and the Netherlands had gathered at the Bellagio Center to attend the workshop which was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Why the Diplomats Without Borders?

One Founding member in conversation to Financial Express Online said there is much scope for diplomats to resolve conflict.

“The world is in a bad place right now. The cause of international peace needs all the help that it can get. We are impressed with the work done by Doctors Without Borders, and think that former diplomats have much to contribute to overcome the many conflicts that plague the planet today,” Jorge Heine, an IR professor at Boston University and former Chilean ambassador to India told Financial Express Online.

Jorge Heine, one of the founding members and on the Board of Directors, says, “There are around twenty founder members. And a final decision on where the Headquarter will be located has not been made yet.”

Who will be the members?

“DWB will include both former (not current) diplomats and experts,”  he added.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)

The inspiration came from the 13 doctors and journalists who in December 1971 created the Nobel Prize-winning Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

Based on this concept, the group of former diplomats and experts has decided to get together and provide niche services pro-bono which will help in strengthening international peace and stability efforts.

Bellagio Declaration of Diplomats

According to the Bellagio Declaration of Diplomats Without Borders (DWB) adopted on June 3, 2022 in Italy, this group aims to bring in fresh ideas, and offer new ways to mediate global crisis, to resolve intractable problems affecting every corner of earth.

 The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has created a new world order and the UN and other countries have not been able to bring the leaders of the two warring countries to sit across to discuss a ceasefire.

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India’s stand on Russia-Ukraine War

As far as India is concerned it has a very clear position on the ongoing war and it “urges a cessation of hostilities, return to dialogue and national sovereignty”. The ongoing war has worldwide consequences –food, energy and economic impact. Earlier this year during an interaction at the Raisina Dialogue, external affairs minister S Jaishankar had talked about the conflict and its consequences worldwide and highlighted the importance of diplomacy.

Tools to address conflict

According to the US based PassBlue report, there are different tools which are used for addressing international conflicts — International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Also conflict-resolution mechanisms which are embedded in many international agreements and treaties. And for avoiding conflicts there is preventive diplomacy and mediation.

UN and Conflict Management & Mediation

The Security Council of the United Nations has the mandate to address conflicts under Chapters VI and VII in the UN Charter. Also, the UN is engaged in mediation efforts and in this the Secretary-general can take action himself or appoint special representatives and envoys to carry out such work on his behalf.

Read More: Russia-Ukraine conflict: Is India’s nuanced stand a defining moment for its strategic autonomy?


Individual members who are part of DWB can offer their services and would contribute their professional skills and expertise to a given conflict.

The individual would have gained the expertise while working either at the headquarters or in the field during their careers in diplomacy.

They can also offer other networks of other experts they built during their career.

They will assist in prevention and mediation work and would be called up on by parties in conflict or those who are involved in active mediation process or peace-building process.

This organization according to the declaration will also offer the services of the member in public-private conflicts, national or regional governments and private companies.

To create a more level international playing field, there is a plan to create a database of members interested in offering training to register their areas of competence. And this database will be shared with many parties providing high-quality training on a range of subjects.  This will help in enriching their training by calling on fellow members who are no longer with any formal organisation and have been practitioners themselves for many years.

DWB offers a global platform for discussion on different diplomatic topics. This means there will be a safe space in these difficult times and a polarised world where one can have discussions.

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