Future Foreign Policy Launch: The Voice of the Next Generation
by Stephanie Ma on 15 January 2014
I was with Future Foreign Policy from their very inception, including when Future Foreign Policy (FFP) was just a blog edited from a dorm room. So it needless to say it’s become much more since then. But there was also another Lucy Cavendish link, FFP invited an old Lucy Cavendish Law Society favorite, Hilary Stauffer, previously from Reprieve, to speak about the use of drones and the threat of terrorism. Indeed, it seems the Lucy Cavendish Law Society is everywhere these days!
Quick introduction on FFP: it is a startup by two international relations graduates from SOAS and Royal Holloway who want to make career in foreign policy more accessible and impose some structure onto the murky waters of entering foreign service. What began as a blog is now a start up with major partners including Chatham House and with Lucy Cavendish Law Society as its main sponsors.
The launch event started off bright and early. When we walked in we were given very swanky name cards as well as two tickets for us to attend our preferred seminars later. It is worth mentioning that refreshments were also very elaborate, with 20 types of tea to choose from and some nibbles helped us start conversations with our fellow participants. As we settled down for the first session, Recent trends in Foreign Policy by James de Waal from Chatham House, we knew we were in for a dynamic day.
As the day progressed, all the talks were popular, but by far the most anticipated talk of the day was the career panel on foreign policy, after all we weren’t dressed in our press-ironed suits for nothing, were we? Seasoned veterans included Adam Tyndell, Co-founder of the China-Britain Youth Association and Simon Moss, Co-founder of the Global Poverty Project. The panelists were refreshingly candid and their sincere attitudes encouraged participants to put forth their most honest questions and in return received honest answers. The general takeaway point seemed to be that, like all careers, with a little tenacity and persistence, students can and will change foreign policy.
Perhaps the most unique element of the event was FFP’s use of Twitter and other social media platforms to engage the audience in real time. Normally ushers are adamant about switching off your phone, but on this day phones not only could remain on and in our hands, we could facebook and tweet to our heart’s content, likely making the day much more tolerable for all of us. There were two screens set up next to the speaker and we when we tweeted we added ‘#FFPLaunchEvent’ or ‘@LucyCavColllege’ to our tweets. We got to see our fellow particpants’ thoughts, musings and favorite quotes on the speakers on the screens, which refreshed itself every five seconds. Even myself, with only a handful of followers or so, increased my number of followers by ten percent, bringing my total to a grand sum of fifty. So needless to say, I found the day very productive. The effective use of technology is a good reflection of the FFP spirit. it By being able to share your thoughts and engage with your audience in real time, FFP is harnessing the energy and connecting the potential of young people with the world of foreign policy. I am proud to be part of a society that supports a great cause and actually fun events. Oh, and in case anyone is wondering: no, no one’s phone ever went off.
Stephanie Ma, President of the Lucy Cavendish Law Society