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12th International Conference of Editors of Diplomatic Documents

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

2 octobre 2013
12th International Conference of Editors of Diplomatic Documents

Remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
12th International Conference of Editors of Diplomatic Documents

Palais des Nations, Room XII
Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Mr. Zala
Dear Colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would like to welcome you to the Palais des Nations for the Twelfth International Conference of Editors of Diplomatic Documents. I am pleased that this Conference is organized by the Library of the United Nations Office of Geneva together with the Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland – an excellent partnership in knowledge-sharing and institutional memory. I would also like to express my appreciation to the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation for their great support.

The fact that representatives from thirty countries and five continents are here today not only shows the strength of your network, but also the inherent value of diplomatic documents to the international community. While it is clear that these documents are valuable historically, they also hold important lessons for future generations.

This value is well understood by the United Nations in Geneva. The UNOG Library, with its rich collections and archival funds provides a solid foundation for in-depth and comprehensive research in all areas of United Nations work.
The Library also plays a unique role in helping the world remember, and learn from, the efforts of the United Nations and the League of Nations. In this regard, careful and select conservation of key documentation is central to the institutional memory of the Organization.

However, we also recognize that conservation alone is not enough. We must also adapt to a fast-paced, technology-driven world, where expectations are high regarding the access to and speed with which information is provided.
The Library here has made great strides in this area with a number of projects to digitize documents underway and with the recent completion of all of the official documents of the League of Nations to digital format.

This new world also brings challenges for those working with diplomatic documents. Once written in an environment which assured confidentiality, diplomatic documents of today are no longer guaranteed the same restricted access. Technological developments and the ease with which information may be rapidly and widely shared impact the very nature of the way these documents are drafted. Does social media have a role when it comes to diplomatic documents? How can its impact be harnessed and used to the benefit of readers, scholars, and other stakeholders?

Dear Colleagues:
I hope that in the coming days you will have many fruitful exchanges on these and other questions raised for those working with diplomatic documents.
Your workshops on digital collaboration and multilingualism are also particularly relevant. I am sure a number of best practices will be shared and will lead to enhanced collaboration and the formation of new partnerships.

In addition, the symposium on Friday ‘Diplomacy and Global Governance’ will provide an excellent opportunity for you to share your work with a broader audience and with the international community in Geneva.

I wish you the best for a stimulating and productive conference!

Thank you very much.

This speech is part of a curated selection from various official events and is posted as prepared.