President Obama says he intends to listen to others as he formulates U.S. foreign policy. I've proposed that as part of his China policy, the Obama administration should use the Internet to engage in conversation with the Chinese people, not just its leaders and elites. What do you think? How should the Obama administration engage with the world in the Internet age? How should public diplomacy be upgraded? How can the U.S. government stop lecturing and start having a conversation?
An event on Tuesday morning in Washington D.C. (Tuesday evening Asia time) called Media as Global Diplomat, organized by the U.S. Institute of Peace, will explore "how the United States can best use media to reinvigorate its public diplomacy strategy and international influence in order to strengthen efforts to build a more peaceful world."
It's unclear to me whether they really just want to explore how to use digital media to get the world to like the U.S. better - or whether they're truly open to a paradigm shift: moving from broadcast "messaging" mode to conversation mode, in which the U.S. would be listening and learning as much as informing others.
Join me to find out. Watch the live webcast and join a live chat here. I will be live-blogging the event here on this blog. Sign up via the box on the left to receive a reminder before the event begins. Global Voices Executive Director Ivan Sigal will be online to moderate and follow the live chat, bringing your views and questions from the live chatroom into the event. That way, we hope the conversation can be expanded beyond the room to include everybody watching and reacting remotely.
Naturally, if you have views in advance that they'd like to express, please post them in the comments section of this post.
Looking at the program, my initial reaction is that the only panelists who might be considered "new media" people are Google's Andrew McLaughlin and Mika Salmi of MTV's Digital Networks. And they work for huge Internet and media companies. No citizen media or grassroots voices are speaking on the panels at all. Lots of "old media" and/or establishment foreign policy elites. Will there really be any new ideas coming from this crowd? Hard to know. Maybe you can help thorough your remote participation?
Below is the full program and schedule, taken from here.
We are in a disruptive period in media, the result of an explosion in digital distribution, social networking, and user generated content. And with disruption comes opportunity. This summit, moderated by Ted Koppel and entitled Media as Global Diplomat, is a forum to ask key public and private sector leaders how the United States can best use media to reinvigorate its public diplomacy strategy and international influence in order to strengthen efforts to build a more peaceful world.
Agenda [All times EST]
(9:00 a.m.) Welcome and Framing the Day
Sheldon Himelfarb, Associate Vice President, Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict, and Peacebuilding, U.S. Institute of Peace
Ambassador Richard Solomon, President, U.S. Institute of Peace
Sally Jo Fifer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Independent Television Service
Media & Public Diplomacy: The Challenge at Hand
Ted Koppel will address the dramatically changing global media landscape and its implications for public diplomacy and peacebuilding.
(9:30 a.m.) Public Diplomacy 2.0: Rethinking Official Media
In this new era of digital distribution, social networking, and user generated content, what is the role of government-funded media in bolstering America’s global influence and ability to manage conflict? This panel will discuss where traditional strategies for media-based public diplomacy are effective and where they need to change.
- Kathy Bushkin Calvin - Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The United Nations Foundation; Former President, AOL Time Warner Foundation
- Ambassador Edward Djerejian- Founding Director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
- Abderrahim Foukara- Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief, Al Jazeera International
- Ambassador James Glassman - Former Under Secretary of State Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State
- Andrew McLaughlin - Director of Global Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google
- James Zogby - Founder and President, Arab American Institute
(11:15 a.m.) The Global Media Marketplace
What is the responsibility of free market commercial media to serve the greater public good in the global media age? This panel will consider the role of “unintended” stereotypes in shaping the image of the US abroad and the perils of uninformed citizens at home due to declining news coverage of international events.
- Edward Borgerding - Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi Media Company
- Carol Giacomo - Editorial Board Member, The New York Times
- Mika Salmi - President of Global Digital Media of MTV Networks
- Smita Singh - Director, Global Development Program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- Sydney Suissa - Executive Vice President of Content, National Geographic Channels International
(12:30 p.m.) Lunch
(1:15 p.m.) Special Screening: Waltz With Bashir
Ari Folman's animated documentary on the horrors of the 1982 Lebanon War. Academy Award nominee and winner of 2009 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. Waltz With Bashir is part of the ITVS International initiative and will be introduced by introduced by Calvin Sims, Program Officer, Media Arts & Culture, Ford Foundation.
(2:45 p.m.) Independent Documentary and Participatory Media
In discussing the film, this panel will consider the potential of film and video to connect people around the world and transform conflict. How can this powerful content be deployed as part of a more effective US public diplomacy strategy?
- Tamara Gould - Vice President of Distribution, Independent Television Service
- Yvette Alberdingk Thijm - Executive Director, Witness