The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) conducted the “Basic Course on Data Diplomacy” on 17, 19, 20, 24, 26 and 28 April 2023 through asynchronous activities and  online synchronous sessions via Zoom. Twenty-eight (28) participants from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Home Office, FSI, Consular Offices, and Philippine foreign service posts in Vienna, Dubai, Singapore, Berlin, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, New Delhi, and New York took time to learn how the DFA can maximize the use of data science and technological advancements in the conduct of diplomatic and consular services.

Various speakers from the DFA, other government agencies, private sector, and academe discussed concepts of data, data science, and their nexus with diplomacy, public policy, and delivery of public goods and services. They also identified cases of government’s data-driven projects and initiatives that promote improved public service delivery, information dissemination, and policy-making.

A key takeaway from the Course includes a deeper appreciation of the importance of skilled data scientists in an organization to ‘further extract insights and knowledge from big data’ for data-driven foreign policy decisions. With the great potential of data analytics in government work, it also comes with ‘risks such as privacy violations, cybersecurity threats, digital divides, and inaccurate or biased information’. Participants also highlighted the vital role of ‘top-level management data champions to develop a data-driven agency.

Ms. Carmelita Esclanda-Lo highlighted the importance of fostering data literacy and capacitating and supporting data experts to work on these kinds of projects.
A group photo of the BCDD participants with the last resource person Mr. Marco Frederick B. Harder, Principal Assistant from DFA-UA.