The department is a lively community that is recognised internationally as one of the top centres for research and teaching in development studies.
What were you doing before you came to ODID?
Before coming to ODID I was a lecturer at the University of Tel Aviv and the Interdisciplinary Centre in Israel. My courses focused on the intersection between technology and media studies as well as the intersection between psychology and media studies. In addition, I assisted Israeli NGOs in raising funds for their activities. This included NGOs working with terminally ill patients and NGOs focused on facilitating dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian youths.
Tell us a bit about your research
My main areas of research is digital diplomacy. This is a field that explores how digitalization is impacting the practice of diplomacy. Specifically, I examine how foreign ministries use social media during times of geo-political crises (for instance the Crimean crisis and the negotiations surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme). Additionally, I explore the use of digital tools in the study of diplomacy. For instance, the use of network analysis to redefine and re-examine the diplomatic concept of prestige. Finally, my work also focuses on narrowing knowledge gaps between scholars and practitioners of diplomacy. To this end, I am a member of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group which is also based at ODID.
What drew you to your field of study?
As the son of a diplomats, I have always been interested in the practice of diplomacy. As a student of mass media and communication studies, I was interested in how digital tools influence society and organizations. Thus, I was also drawn to the combination between communication and diplomacy studies. I began exploring digital diplomacy in 2015 as part of an MA thesis at the University of Tel Aviv. Since then I have been fortunate enough to publish several papers and a monograph on the issue of digital diplomacy.
Why did you choose ODID/Oxford?
I chose to come to ODID in 2015 when searching for a university where I could further explore digital diplomacy as part of my PhD studies. Specifically, I decided to come to ODID given a desire to learn from my supervisor, Professor Corneliu Bjola, who is one of the world’s leading digital diplomacy scholars.
What do you particularly value about ODID?
The department has been able to create a unique learning environment in which PhD students from diverse fields come together to study, work and collaborate on shared projects. Essentially, ODID offers PhD students the opportunity to be members of a thriving academic community. Additionally, the department is fully committed to the intellectual and professional growth of junior scholars. PhD students have the resources, insight, supervision and inspiration necessary for completing a PhD and taking the first steps in the world of academia.
What would you say has been your best experience at Oxford?
Every term, the department’s PhD students hold a seminar in which we are invited to present our work and receive critical feedback from our peers. Presentations are also followed by a one hour discussion. It is this form of collaborative learning that sets ODID apart from other departments. Also, given the scope of research topics at ODID, the seminar offers PhD students a window into diverse research fields ranging from migration patterns to political activism. The seminar often results in PhD students collaborating on shared research projects. Currently, a fellow ODID PhD student and I are exploring how diplomats use social media to engage their diasporas.
What are you hoping to do after you finish?
Upon completion of my PhD I would like to find employment in academia as a lecturer and researcher. I believe that university lecturers play an important role in shaping the cultural, political and intellectual discourse of the societies to which they belong.