— Speak Social (@SpeakSocial) February 8, 2013
Secretly everyone has had the dream at least once where the government calls with a special mission, and you are the one they need. It’s a dream that rarely comes true, and in our case almost got overlooked, when an email came to our Vice President, Adam Price with the subject: URGENT: US Department of State Meeting Request: Activism through Social Media, Pakistan.
Like many would, Price said at first he thought it was a spam email. However, after a few phone calls with Pamela-Jean Mohamed, Associate Executive Director for International Programs with GlobalAustin, he confirmed that this was a legitimate request from the State Department in Washington for representatives from Speak Social to meet with delegates from both the U.S. and Pakistan to discuss the topic, Activism through Social Media. Speak Social’s portion of the meeting will take place this afternoon in Austin; however, the delegation will continue meeting on different topics both today and tomorrow, February 9.
According to Mohamed, the delegation from Pakistan is coming to the US through the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, which fosters citizen-to-citizen diplomacy for emerging leaders.
Each year GlobalAustin coordinates meetings and opportunities for cross-cultural sharing for over 400 international dignitaries from over 90 countries. The topics range from agriculture to zoning and bring in emerging leaders from government, non-profits, academia, journalism and the private sector. The program has been in existence since after WWII and famous alumni of this State Department program include Gordon Brown, Queen ‘Mamohato Seeiso, Tony Blair, Anwar Sadat, Margaret Thatcher, Nicolas Sarkozy, Hamid Karzai, Indira Gandhi, Felipe Calderón and Mikheil Saakashvili just to name a few.
Mohamed said that Washington personally asked her to request an opportunity for the delegation to meet with Speak Social to learn more about the company and how we use Social Media to promote awareness.
“We want to discuss best practices for engaging an audience to advance your message, the value of collecting analysis of web traffic and usage, and deciding on the best new media platforms to fit our objectives,” Mohamed said.
In addition, the delegation would like to hear more about the Social Good Summit, Work-From-Home Program that we have vigorously worked with other volunteers to coordinate.
“I am honored to represent the US and work with the business leaders from Pakistan to discuss Social Media, and the positive impact it can have on business practices and the world,” Price said. “Working together, in these worldwide exchanges are a large part of why we started Speak Social.”
In addition to Adam, Speak Social President Brad Bogus will also be speaking with the delegation to offer his expertise and opinions.
“By helping other cultures learn from each other, the State Department is doing a great thing,” Bogus said. “We’re excited to show the Pakistani Delegation what we’ve done with our clients and causes, but we’re more looking forward to learning what has worked for them.”
The Department of State has outlined the following specific objectives for the project:
- To highlight innovations and ways in which social media have been used successfully in the U.S. by the public and private sector, as well as NGOs and grassroots activists.
- To increase understanding of policies and strategies for developing effective communication platforms, and how to initiate and design far-reaching social media campaigns that further human rights and democratic ideals.
- To improve technical skills needed to develop and use social media, such as content development, video production, and interfacing with existing social media platforms.
- To learn about techniques and strategies to reach rural and/or low penetration areas, such as texting/SMS.
- To increase outreach and global linkages with international organizations and institutions.
Austin Specific Themes
Human Rights Activism through Social Media
Politics and Campaigns
Bloggers: Creating Online Virtual Communities