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City Diplomacy: Another Generational Shift?

In: Diplomatica
Authors:
Michele AcutoUniversity of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, michele.acuto@unimelb.edu.au

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Anna KosovacUniversity of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, anna.kosovac@unimelb.edu.au

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Kris HartleyEducation University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, S.A.R., hartley@eduhk.hk

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Abstract

City diplomacy has a long history and has witnessed a clear sprawl over the last century. Successive “generations” of city diplomacy approaches have emerged over this period, with a heyday of networked urban governance in the last two decades. The covid-19 pandemic crisis presents a key opportunity to contemplate the direction of city diplomacy amid global systemic disruptions, raising questions about the effectiveness of differing diplomatic styles across cities but also the prospect of a new generational shift. This essay traces the history of generations in city diplomacy, examines prospects for novel ways of understanding city diplomacy, and contemplates how the pandemic’s impact heralds not the demise of internationalization in urban governance but an era in which city diplomacy is even more crucial amid fundamental limitations.

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