There is no doubt that over the last decade, the Internet has created a revolution. Never before has information been so widely available or people better connected to one another. The Internet can be a great equalizer. And yet, access to it is not equally distributed. Notably, Internet access for both men and women in North America is nearly five times that of Africa.
About the Author: Tara Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
When we apply technology at its best to public service at its most critical, we can make powerful differences in the lives and well-being of people.
Advances in communications and information technology are allowing us to do just that, whether we are using crowd-sourcing or Twitter, or reaching people via mobile phones or Skype. We are assisting survivors in the wake of natural disasters. We are monitoring elections to ensure they are free, safe and fair. We are reaching more people in non-permissive environments. Technology has become not only our virtual eyes and ears, but our helping hands, in a variety of ways.
Take Ushahidi (“witness” in Swahili), a crowd-sourcing platform developed by Kenyan citizens in 2008 that uses technology to collect, verify, and map information from citizens on a variety of issues. That can include incidents of violence,… more »
Over the past decade, the international development community has recognized that investing in women is the most direct and effective way to promote economic growth, peace, and prosperity. Around the world, and more recently in developing countries, we have seen the transformative impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs), particularly mobile phones and the Internet. The question remains, what might be possible when we put these two powerful forces together by investing in women and ICTs in low-to-medium income countries?
About the Author: Rebecca Wainess serves in the Office of the Secretary of State’s Senior Advisor for Innovation.
Three years ago at the Forum for the Future, Secretary Clinton announced the Civil Society 2.0 initiative, in Marrakech, Morocco. The program was created to help grassroots organizations around the world increase their digital literacy to share their stories, build their memberships and connect to their community of peers around the world. Today, the TechCamp program has become the cornerstone of this initiative by providing hands-on training to more than 1,200 organizations from 84 countries to date.
Three years after the launch of the Civil Society 2.0 Initiative, we returned to Morocco to host TechCamp Morocco. Focused on youths and employment, this TechCamp brought together… more »
The Necessity of an Inclusive, Transparent, and Participatory Internet
About the Authors: Ambassador Philip L. Verveer serves as U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State, Lawrence E. Strickling serves as Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and Julius Genachowski serves as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
On the eve of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), we believe that it is the right time to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to the multi-stakeholder model as the appropriate process… more »
And what’s not to be excited about? Tech companies created in Africa, by Africans, to address local and global problems have untold potential to change the world. After judging a recent Global Innovations in Science and Technology boot camp in West Africa, venture capitalist Scott Hartley said, “Providing guidance for the top one percent of innovators likely improves the lives of the 99 percent.”
Personal computer usage in Africa is exceptionally low at two percent and Internet penetration is only about 14 percent. However, with indications that tech start-ups, tech… more »
Seeking Your Input on Building a 21st Century Platform
About the Author: Janice Clark serves as Director of Website Management in the Bureau of Public Affairs.
In response to the Federal Digital Strategy that the White House released in May 2012, the Department of State seeks your input in identifying services that may be appropriate for development by modern tools and technologies. We have two questions for you.
Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, allow for sharing data between applications. Content that is created in one place can be dynamically posted and updated in multiple locations on the web. What information from the U.S. State Department would you find useful for us to make available via web APIs?
We’ve identified 7 possible API candidates, which you can review here… more »
About the Author: Ambassador David T. Killion serves as U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO.
Next week I am going to a meeting in Switzerland for SESAME, which I happen to think is the most exciting and revolutionary scientific undertaking that practically nobody outside of the scientific community has ever heard of.
What is it and why do I think it is so radical and so important?
The first question is easy.
SESAME actually stands for ‘Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East’ and will be the region’s first major multi-country scientific research center. It’s being developed under the auspices of UNESCO and is scheduled to open fully in Jordan in 2015. When it is completed, SESAME will be the Middle East’s only source of so-called “high intensity synchrotron X-rays,” key building blocks for research into biology,… more »
Fact Sheet on Modernizing Diplomacy: U.S. Foreign Policy in an Age of Connection Technologies
Just as the Internet has changed virtually every aspect of how people worldwide live, learn, consume and communicate, connection technologies are changing the strategic context for diplomacy in the 21st century.
– Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
For Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, modernizing U.S. diplomacy is a strategic imperative. The widespread diffusion of technologies such as broadband Internet, social media and mobile phones requires updating our policies and practices. Connection technologies now increase our impact across the range of diplomatic activities, from public diplomacy to commercial outreach, from disaster response to democracy promotion.
Supporting U.S. Values
Building on “The White House International Strategy for Cyberspace,” the State Department is promoting policies that support our values and objectives in cyberspace:
Internet Freedom: The free flow of information online empowers individuals and strengthens societies, but some governments censor and use surveillance to chill free expression and arrest dissidents merely for the opinions they express. In addition to promoting Internet freedom globally, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) financially support human rights activists in this area.
Internet Governance: Preserving an open, free, and secure Internet requires a stable and effective system of Internet governance. We are committed to the decentralized, “multi-stakeholder” model that includes governments, businesses, academia, and civil society. This has proven capable of solving technical and policy problems to address issues, such as data privacy and protection, intellectual property and taxation. MORE
On March 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of State announced that “TechWomen,” our cutting-edge mentoring program is now accepting applications from American women in the technology sector to serve as professional and cultural mentors. Beginning today, candidates may apply at www.techwomen.org/get-involved/.