Category Archives: nation

Don’t forget Sana’a while Tripoli has the spotlight

* 2011 March 1 – Fox Boston – Huge progest in Yemen as embattled leader blames US
* 2011 February 24 – Guardian UK – Video: Yemenis outside a university in Sana’a demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh steps down after 32 years of authoritarian rule
* 2011 February 23 – BBC News reports Yemen’s president orders forces to protect protesters.
* 2011 February 23 – CNNWorld Yemen president calls for new national unity government
* 2011 February 18 – Bloomberg – Largest Yemen Protests to Date Turn Violent as Security Forces Crack Down
* 2011 February 15 – AlJazeera
* 2011 January 27 – BBC Tens of Thousands Call on Yemeni President to Leave


What’s happening in Tunisia

Some may be aware of the pro democracy street activism now occuring in Tunisia. I saw a news report last night on French TV in Washington. This blog reports government oppression, citizen censorship and street violence. Social media tools give citizens a voice. Are there any colleagues in Tunisia who can comment on this ongoing movement?

Since early January, Embassy Tunis’s Facebook page has become one of the frontlines of freedom of speech in a country that is in the process of a democratic transition. Many Tunisians are now using it as their primary source of up-to-the-minute information about current events and popular sentiment.

Ethical Foreign Policy. Possible?

Ethical foreign policy?

Capital City vs Seat of Government

The Hague or Amsterdam?  Which is the capital of the Neterlands?  

Maps confirm that the Hague isn’t the capital of The Netherlands.  The Hague is where diplomatic business occurs, where embassies are maintained, and the seat of government for The Netherlands. So it is a bit of a suprise to learn that Amsterdam is the capital of the country. In Amsterdam, the source reminded me, they’re sensitive about it.

Promote National Agriculture Effectively

Mais oui, bien sur!  Of course France would have a gorgeous website for the  sector responsible for food and fishing.   Alimentation France is colorful, enticing, a banquet of pixels.

Can’t say the same for the US Department of Agriculture website, which is trying hard to cover everything upfront, and the effort shows.  At the gateway, there’s no feeling of nourishment, growth or life and it’s not clear whether the site has a vision from the list of news stories and random topics on the side.  Why is the People’s Garden buried at the bottom of the page? That’s the one topic with celebrity and it’s hidden below the fold!people's garden logo

But wait!  USDA has launched new media sites and uses social media.  I just couldn’t see the link in the vast washes of mono-colored typeface on the main page. And Twitter for the People’s Garden!  But how would we know unless we dug down, down, down…. Advice — lead with the lively.

In September 2009 Argentina created a cabinet level ministry responsible for fishing, agriculture and food trade by expanding and elevating the previous secretariat.

The new Ministry’s site appears to be up and running.  Check out the prices of agricultural futures in lower left corner.

Agriculture trade is a hefty leverage element in the diplomatic portfolios of many nations.

Broadband = Citizen Involvement

Government agencies are blogging and tweeting faintly, thumbing into blog e-topia where Gov is already 2.0. Next year’s insiders know what that means. This year’s insiders are already operating in Gov 3.0.

Eugene J. Huang, the Government Operations Director of the National Broadband Task Force, delivered a speech at MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media on Feb. 24th, about Broadband and the Future of Civic Engagement.

“The FCC launched a presence on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites. Since launching on Twitter last fall, we have amassed more than 330,000 twitter followers, making us the third highest of any government agency – behind only the White House and the CDC.” said Huang. FCC sponsors a public access blog where the Broadband Task Force members post updates.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) uses social media platforms to provide access to current health information, providing, for example, reliable information about the H1N1 virus to the public.

Why broadband?

It will expand access to information in our society. A democracy depends on informed and engaged citizens. Broadband internet access will permit more people to reach farther into public information held by governments as well as enable communication among citizens. Broadband would facilitate citizen diplomacy. Citizens can use broadband-enabled tools that will advance democracy and include more participatotion at all levels.

Broadband will facilitate “open and transparent government, public media, social media, engaging citizens in government innovation, and modernizing our democratic processes. We believe that broadband has the potential to transform civic engagement. But this transformation will not occur on its own. It will take a commitment from all of us – our government, our elected leaders, and the American people – to renew our democracy in a broadband enabled twenty-first century,” said Huang.

“Social media … isn’t a pilot project. … Government should use a variety of new media tools – from those primarily used to communicate, to those that enable more intensive participation and that specialize in co-production and co-governance. Social media is also giving rise to citizen-to-citizen diplomacy,” said Huang. Social media tools are connecting individuals across nations and regions. “As one example, the State Department recently launched its “Virtual Student Foreign Service, enabling college students to become “dorm-room diplomats”. These students are then matched with embassies and students in other countries to build transnational relationships and cultural understanding through digital citizen-to-citizen diplomacy,” he said.

Government is making progress with using social media to improve communication, transparancy and customer service. “Recognizing the promise that social medial holds, our federal government should accelerate the adoption of social media technologies across all agencies,” said Huang.

Online Diplomacy :: Who Is?

Nations that demonstrate a commitment to transparency maintain an online presence.  Many are actively involved in eDiplomacy. Global citizens have the opportunity of learning more about other countries as well as their own.

Randomly selected by skipping through the alphabet, here’s how a few countries are using online communication to manage international relations and the political process.

Algeria’s Ministère des Affaires Etrangères subscribes to transparency with a list of their recently recruited diplomatic staff.

In addition to a clearly enumerated statement of the activities and responsibilities of the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their website also  provides contact information for its former Ambassadors. Could those experienced diplomats be instrumental in fostering citizen diplomacy?

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office uses new media effectively to communicate with citizens and global interlocutors.  Do you think these Foreign Ministry office directors write their own blogs?

Estonia votes online.  No surprise :: early adapters.

Drill through the bilingual site of the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and there’s a page on the Ministry’s historical buildings, the brink and mortar version of their website.

Mexico‘s Secretariat of External Relations website offers standard lineup, but Mexico Government Podcasts and internet radio station reach beyond standard gov-website fare.

New Zealand‘s foreign office website offers an array of information on regional issues. Don’t see any blogs by ministers.

The Republic of Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs displays tourism and business facts for site visitors.

The United States of America uses the term eDiplomacy to describe collaborative online efforts to facilitate international relations. Dipnote is the official blog.

Difficult to say how e-diplomacy functions based on a visit to the Republic of Zambia website. In the pull down menu under Government, there doesn’t seem to be a cabinet position dedicated to foreign relations.

Other notable practitioners of eDiplomacy?