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Episode 42: Conversation - Dr. Gabriele Balbi on Techno-diplomacy and Global Communications

January 22, 2021


Technology has always been an integral part of our lives and our work, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted its role in many new ways. In episode 42, we are joined by Gabriele Balbi, Associate Professor in Media Studies at USI Università della Svizzera italiana. As an expert in media history, his work and research are also greatly connected with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the UN system.

In this conversation, Professor Balbi speaks on the rich evolution and growth of global communications, looking at its history from the telegram to the Internet. He also defines the concept of techno-diplomacy, and further explains its role in multilateral collaboration and conversation.

As we face rapid digitization and a "new normal", Professor Balbi also touches upon the new challenge of Zoom fatigue, and the need to balance our digital and physical worlds.

We hope this episode brings you new insights and perspectives, not only to our present but equally to our past!

About Professor Gabriele Balbi

Learn more here:

Prof. Gabriele Balbi is Associate Professor in Media Studies at the Institute of Media and Journalism (IMeG), Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society, USI Università della Svizzera italiana (Switzerland).

At this institution, he is also program director of the Bachelor in Communication, director of the China Media Observatory, vice director of the Institute of Media and Journalism. Furthermore, he is Chair of ECREA Communication History Section and International Liaisons Representative of the ICA Communication History Division.

Prof. Balbi's research is focused on media studies with a historical and long-term perspective. His research is at the crossroads of media studies, the history of technology, media archaeology, Science and Technology Studies, the political economy of communication, and cultural studies.

About the ITU

ITU History Portal:

ITU's First 150 Years:

ITU Connect 2030 Agenda:


Episode transcript:

History of the International Telecommunications Union: Transnational Techno-Diplomacy from the Telegraph to the Internet (Book):


Speakers: Professor Gabriele Balbi & Karen Lee

Host/Editor: Karen Lee & Natalie Alexander

Producer: Karen Lee

Images: Gabriele Balbi

Social media designs and transcript: Karen Lee 

Recorded & produced at the United Nations Library & Archives Geneva



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