Kurbalija, Jovan

Malta/Geneva, Director, DiploFoundation


Jovan Kurbalija is the founding director of DiploFoundation. His professional and academic background is in diplomacy, international law, and ICT. He was a Yugoslav diplomat until 1992. In 1993, Mr Kurbalija established the Unit for IT and Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta, whose main function was to provide training, research, and software development in the field of IT and diplomacy.

In the period 1994-2004, Mr Kurbalija directed various courses, with close to 400 participants, focussing on the impact of ICT/Internet on diplomacy. One of the most important of these courses is the year-long Postgraduate Diploma Course in ICT and Diplomacy, which has received academic accreditation from the University of Malta. As part of this course, Mr Kurbalija designed and runs a negotiation simulation exercise on drafting an International Declaration on the Internet. In addition to lecturing Diplo’s courses, Mr Kurbalija has lectured and delivered courses at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta, the Vienna Diplomatic Academy, the Dutch Institute of International Relations (Clingendael), the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and the UN Staff College among others; on such topics as Introduction to Diplomacy, Diplomacy and ICT/Internet, Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities, and International Law for Diplomats.

Mr Kurbalija’s research focusses on the impact of ICT/Internet on diplomacy, comprising: the changes in the national and international environments for diplomatic activities (e.g. sovereignty, changes in the concept of power), new issues on diplomatic agendas (ICT policy and Internet Governance), and new tools for diplomatic activities (also covering the impact of ICT-based tools on diplomatic functions, including representation and negotiation).

Mr Kurbalija’s activities in the sphere of software development include the conceptualisation and the development of various tools for diplomacy: Databases of International Treaties, the “DiploWizard” (a knowledge management system for diplomacy), a Hypertext System for Text-based Negotiations/Discussions, the Online Negotiation Assistant (a platform for conducting diplomatic negotiations via the Internet), as well as e-learning modules in the fields of diplomacy and Internet Governance.