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Space diplomacy: an increasingly important topic for the future

21 juni 2023

On Monday the 12th of June, the first Hague Space Diplomacy Symposium was organised by Leiden University in The Hague. The event brought together distinguished academics, authors and practitioners in the field to discuss space diplomacy and international relations in space. The event is in line with many publications of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy. Space diplomacy is not yet a widely known subject, but nonetheless an increasingly important topic. Questions arose such as: should we go as separate nations into space, or work together and enter the space future as one: humankind? 

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy (HJD) is the world’s leading research journal for the study of diplomacy. It publishes research on the theory, practice, processes and outcomes of diplomacy in both its traditional state-based forms, as well as contemporary diplomatic expressions practiced by states and non-state entities. Each issue aims at a balance between theoretical and empirical studies and usually features one practitioner’s essay. The editor in chief Jan Melissen works at the Leiden University in The Hague and is the initiator of the first symposium about Space Diplomacy. As the space industry continues to grow, and more opportunities arise for (non-)emerging space nations, space diplomacy will play an increasingly important role in the future. 

During the symposium special attention was paid to the young generation, featuring a panel of youth pitches. One of the speakers, Ian van den Broek - student at Erasmus University and National Point of Contact NL for the Space Generation Advisory Council - pitched: “Cross-cultural collaboration and multidisciplinarity are key for creating a future in space that is sustainable for all of humanity”. Coming from a non-engineering background, he always believed space was only for engineers, astronauts and data specialists. But it turns out there is more needed to make the space industry successful. “We need people from different cultures and different disciplines working together to solve complex global problems and create the future in space we want”, says Ian. 

The co-organiser from the United States also experienced it as a very good first edition: "It was great to showcase the special issue in the Hague. Ever since your team started blasting the event on social media, I have received multiple invitations to speak, publish, or join other groups working on space diplomacy so it has been a very nice spotlight. I would encourage HJD to replicate this model in the future (if it’s not too much work!)."

The Hague journal of Diplomacy is free to read and you can find more info here: https://brill.com/view/journals/hjd/hjd-overview.xml and on the website of Leiden University: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/hjd to read articles or submit your own article about Space Diplomacy.


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