His Excellency Elin Suleymanov

Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the U.S.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that much in diplomatic practice can and should be streamlined. Many cases, which previously required travel to specific destinations, can now be done virtually with more people engaged from various locations. Generally, during the pandemic, there seems to be a greater emphasis on substantive meetings and efficient use of time, including saving time lost in traffic. Such practices are likely to stay on in a post-COVID world.

Diplomacy lost a bit of its personal contact. This may not matter in discussions with clearly defined subject matters, but when the discourse is more subtle and nuanced, person to person contacts are still irreplaceable. Equally, a meeting with masks on has a very different personal dynamic.

Another lesson from history, for instance 1918-20, is that world becomes less formal post-pandemic. Perhaps, moving away from mandatory neckties could be a welcome change."

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