[Zoi Leoudaki]: New technologies and social media have not only changed the way we communicate with friends and acquaintances, but have also opened new horizons in diplomacy. Nine embassies and the U.S. Department of State gathered for the first time in Washington to exchange information and ideas on diplomacy through new technologies. The initiator of this initiative is Lovisa Williams, responsible for maintaining the State Department’s presence on social media. [Lovisa Williams]: Digital diplomacy gives us the opportunity to enhance our work as diplomats. In our work, we meet many people, but this does not always give us the opportunity to reach those we want. [Zoi Leoudaki]: Using technology, diplomats try to create a more familiar face, accessible to citizens and their needs. The Ambassador of the European Union to the United States, João Vale de Almeida, launched the new website called “Europe in America.” [João Vale de Almeida]: Today we launch the EU in the US website, which is the focus of our digital strategy. We want it to be a lively, accessible page that meets the needs of Americans who want to learn more about the EU. [Zoi Leoudaki]: Beyond informing, new technologies provide the opportunity to expand relationships and contacts with individuals and groups that would otherwise be unreachable. This is also what the Greek Embassy does. It focuses on Facebook and Twitter. It recently started a campaign inviting the public to submit questions to the ambassador. Maria Galanou is the press officer and leads the effort. [Maria Galanou]: This campaign, if I can call it that, has already started and finished. We gave a specific timeframe for submitting questions to the ambassador. We had responses from our audience and not only from our audience, but also from other digital diplomats in Washington, who applauded this initiative. We had about 11 questions addressed to the ambassador and we have already posted the answers to these questions. [Zoi Leoudaki]: The Dutch Embassy is making similar efforts. It uses Facebook to inform its public about cultural events in the US. But Twitter is different. Floris Winters from the Dutch Embassy tells us. [Floris Winters]: Twitter is a good tool for news, and all diplomats can use it daily. It gives them the opportunity to come into contact with an audience that they otherwise could not reach. [Zoi Leoudaki]: What is interesting is that digital diplomacy is still in its infancy, and everyone is looking for ways to use it as effectively as possible. [Lovisa Williams]: It is evolving. These technologies are new to all of us. We do not know the outcome our actions will have. We are still experimenting. [Zoi Leoudaki]: Right now, digital diplomacy is taking its first steps. And as technology evolves and politicians realize the preferences of the audience they are addressing, they will accordingly adjust their strategy. Zoi Leoudaki, Voice of America, Washington.