Kondwani Munthali

The Digital State: impact of technology on Statecraft, the UK as a case study

A Diplomat, Investigative Journalist and Youth advocate, Munthali's research interests focus on adaptation of technology and its influence on diplomacy and international relations.

Kondwani's first degree is a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of London Birkbeck College and Master of Arts (Distinction) in International Diplomacy from the Universty of East Anglia. He has worked extensively in broadcasting, print and digital media, and trained African journalists in Global Health Policy, International Tobacco Control and Public Health. He is a qualified trainer in youth policy formulation and development with extensive international advocacy and membership of global youth initiatives in Africa and regional bodies.

PhD research description

Kondwani's research is focused on Diplomacy as is rooted in the existence of a nation state- that is a sovereign state. Technology, which is a form of soft power being harnessed by nation state has challenged the traditional form of diplomacy and is reshaping all human relations.
His thesis pieces together an analysis of the contemporary influence of technology on statecraft, looking the United Kingdom whose state systems have now become intrinsically linked with ICT. The main focus is on influence on UK foreign policy and diplomacy globally.

The impact of technology on diplomacy and foreign policy is extensive, as diplomacy enables states to secure objectives of their foreign policies without resort to force, propaganda, or law (G.R Berridge, 2002). Diplomacy, however, has been slow to adapt to changes, with which with technology, seems to lag far behind, effectively contributing directly or indirectly to the waning of UK influence globally.
The cyberspace is the newest domain of international activity, marked by both cooperation and conflict ( Richard Haass, 2017). This indicates the challenge that states in implementation of their foreign policies, have to develop modern and responsive arrangements, and diplomacy, will be required to be the core centre to come up with international consensus on the same, and essentially rewrite the new rules, not only on global cyber network, but of global engagement and conduct of diplomacy using digital technology.

Kondwani's research will consider the emergence of multiple and amplified voices that now challenges the exclusive control of nation states as the final authority in shaping the narrative and identity of a nation state in international relations. This has been evident in anti-government messages in several countries, where the citizenry ridicule and disagrees with the country’s foreign policy.

PhD supervisors

Kondwani is studying for his PhD within the Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance.

Awards, grants or scholarships received

Kondwani has received a number of awards including being appointed as a Chevening Scholar in 2005 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He was awarded the Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University in 2006 before receiving a research grant in 2008 from the International Development and Research Centre (Canada) to focus on tobacco control in Malawi. Kondwani was awarded 'Blogger of the Year (2011)' from the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Malawi.

Papers, publications and articles

Makoka, D., Munthali, K., & Drope, J. (2011). Malawi. In J. Drope (Ed.), Tobacco Control in Africa: People, Politics and Policies (pp. 167-184). Anthem Press. doi:10.7135/UPO9780857288134.014

Interests and activities

Kondwani's main interests lie in Soft power and Diplomacy using technology adaptation, cyber warfare and international relations, social media and democratisation especially in developing countries and public international law. His current activities include developing models for use of technology to attract first-time voters to register and vote using social media platforms, development of public accountability and anti-corruption systems for public finances in developing countries and the creation of a platform for young diplomats across the world to develop responses to emerging digital states which is slowly erasing sovereignty.

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