On International Women’s Day, the Mexican Embassy in the United States broadcasted a panel discussion on women and migration using Facebook Live. In doing so, the embassy harnessed the power of technology to raise awareness about an important global issue while also responding to growing bilateral tensions with maturity and diplomatic foresight. With 2.2k views, and numerous like and shares, this use of Facebook Live can serve as a model for best practice in digital diplomacy.

Exemplary diplomacy, raising awareness, and mobilising the pubic

The panel discussion aimed to raise awareness about the challenges facing migrant women. It was also an opportunity to provide information around resources available to women through the 50 consulates across Mexico’s network in the US. The event provided a collaborative and informative forum with specialists in gender, education, and international law participating as speakers.

The livestreaming also featured Ambassador of Mexico to the US, Geronimo Gutierrez, who introduced the panel discussion by advocating for greater protection of vulnerable migrant workers, particularly women and children. The conference showcased the new Ambassador’s desire not only to strengthen bilateral relations with the US, but also to show leadership in global affairs. Given the sometimes tense relationship between Mexico and the US since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the event could be seen as a diplomatic response to President Trump’s apparent anti-immigrant rhetoric and threats of mass deportation.

The panel achieves a number of objectives: it promotes Mexico’s proactivity and cooperation on issues such as gender and migration; it discusses migrant rights as part of a wider international issue rather than one confined to the US-Mexico border; and it opens up this important debate to the public through Facebook Live.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Gutierrez stated, ‘Criminalization of migrants increases vulnerabilities of women and girls in destination countries. The Mexican Government is continuously looking for better ways to support and empower women’, to which he added, ‘When women thrive, whole countries succeed’. The Mexican Government is diffusing diplomatic tensions, while presenting a wider vision of support for women migrants and attempting to mobilise wider society to stand up for their rights.

Lessons for organisations:

  • Use Facebook Live to share Embassy events as a way to inform and engage the public.
  • Use international days, national holidays, and other occasions as hooks to engage your target audience and make the subject matter relevant to current issues.
  • Be selective about which events to livestream as longer content can clutter Facebook Pages if it is not interesting or relevant to wider audiences.
  • A couple of things that could have been improved: better sound quality and using tags such as #InternationalWomensDay.