ICDS Chief Executive Dmitri Teperik participated in the high-level panel discussion on “Investing in Resilience: the Power of Communication”, held in the framework of the NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum in Tbilisi, Georgia on 30-31 October 2019.
The panel featured the following speakers: Ambassador Kurt Volker (USA), Prof Corneliu Bjola (UK), Dmitri Teperik (EST), Jussi Toivanen (FIN) and addressed the following questions. How to tackle the challenges in communication and public diplomacy presented by modern technologies? What should be done to incorporate public diplomacy and make it an integral component of the government’s strategies and policies for effectively addressing modern security challenges? How various narratives are used as an effective tool to manipulate public opinion?
“Thanks to modern technology, hostile influence activities have become even more sophisticated, complicated, multi-layered and complex. As we react to the challenge of foreign malign influence with a social and political construct such as resilience, we have to rethink and reinvent the very concept of it”, suggested Dmitri Teperik. According to him, national resilience is based on comprehensive approach and it embraces interdependencies for mutual enrichment and cross-fertilization between government sector, private businesses and civil society.
“Resilience is foremost about useful skills and mindset, cognitively healthy attitudes, evidence-based opinions and consequent resolute actions. This combination leads to individual and societal ability to resist, become immune to alien meanings, wrong senses and toxic narratives”, debated Teperik, and continued – “Resilience is not just about how to confront malicious disinformation, but also how to prevent prophylactically deepening societal polalisation and harmful radicalisation”.
“I am convinced that we must develop a culture of having trustful situational awareness about emerging threats. For building a resilient society, it really matters how citizens perceive threats and security-related challenges”, elaborated Teperik, “Part of resilience is essentially based on shared intelligence. For instance, as Russia’s influence operations are not about simple “fake news” but rather carefully pre-planned InfoOps and PsyOps, we have to recall principles of effective counterintelligence”.
“Since situation is evolving very rapidly, we are learning by doing. This is a new normality. Eventually, we will comprehend that resilience is about a functioning ecosystem. It is about creating within society a lot of autonomous intersectoral and interdisciplinary networks”, concluded Teperik.