In 2013 Switzerland will host the 12th International Conference of Editors of Diplomatic Documents.
About the international conference
The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989. Since then, the reunions took place every second year in Ottawa, Rome, Bonn, Washington, Canberra, Paris and Dublin. In 2009 the conference was organised in The Hague and in 2011 in Jerusalem. For the first time the conference will take place in Switzerland in 2013. The group consists of institutions from about 30 countries, which publish or intend to publish collections of documents on the international relations of their respective countries.
Every conference consists of two parts, a technical and a scientific one: In the first part, methodological aspects regarding the printed and online publication as well as the development of databases are discussed. The scientific part consists of a series of presentations on a certain historical subject, such as a jubilee (as f.e. the double crisis of Suez and Budapest of 1956, which were analysed in Rome in 1996) or a specific subject (as f.e. the politics regarding development aid, which were discussed in The Haye).
Historical research on international relations requires the cooperation between independent universities and the respective ministries of foreign affairs. The period of research, the financing and the organisation of the publication of diplomatic documents can vary greatly from country to country. The research group of the Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland is an enterprise of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences and therefore independent of the government.
Services for research
The published documents are an easy accessible source of information that is useful not only for historical research at universities, but also for everyone who is interested in the history of international relations. The documents are moreover consulted by diplomats, journalists, teachers and biographers. The first ones to publish these documents in printed volumes were the great powers. These series have been continued and now contain hundreds, even thousands of volumes. In addition, new means of publication were developed: microfilms, disks and most importantly the internet. More and more countries and international organisations are publishing their diplomatic documents. These international conferences have therefore become important and useful for the editors to exchange information, techniques and scientific knowledge and experiences.
Organisation of Geneva 2013
The Conference of 2013 is organised by the research group of the Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland in collaboration with the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) and with the support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The subjects to be discussed are the digitalisation of documents, electronic databases, online publishing and the history of international organisations.