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Dr Fiona McConnell of Oxford University's School of Geography and the Environment is working with the Tibet Justice Center (TJC) and Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) to help give new state and non-state actors a voice on the international diplomacy stage.

Diplomacy is changing as new state and non-state actors vie for political attention on the international stage.  The United Nations remains an important international forum for policy decisions and negotiations, but some nations and groups find representation at high level discussions difficult.  Lacking the access, connections and diplomatic mores of more established players, they are at a disadvantage when it comes to expressing their needs and wishes.  Dr Fiona McConnell, Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Oxford, is working with the Tibet Justice Center (TJC) and Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) to help give these sometimes voiceless groups a voice on the international diplomacy stage.

During the autumn of 2015, Dr McConell and UNPO will co-produce an online survey  about the experiences of UNPO members lobbying at the UN in Geneva.  They will then create a database of lobbying experiences of unrepresented diplomats as well as an online directory of unrecognised diplomats and their ‘embassies’. The project team will also run a series of workshops to develop skills and build capacity amongst unrepresented diplomats, which will focus on sharing skills and best practice around lobbying techniques, ‘performing’ as a diplomat, and building alliances.   The project will culminate in November 2016 at the UN Forum on Minority Issues, where diplomats from unrecognised nations will develop and deploy advocacy strategies.

In this way, the project team will inform diplomats and UN officials about the challenges that unrepresented nations face in accessing and lobbying the UN and offer concrete suggestions to improve access.  They also endeavour to improve the ability of the diplomatic representatives of these communities to present their cases in international forums, thereby effecting positive change across the globe.

This project was funded by Oxford's ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

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