The Viral Peace project enhances the capabilities of community leaders and social media influencers around the world to create mobile, social media, and online communications tools that drive organic efforts to stand up against hate and violence, as well as connect bridge builders to needed resources, partners, and community audiences. Key civic activists around the world who specialize in new media and technology will partner with the Department of State in each geographic region to mobilize communities through multiple online initiatives against hate and violence, which will be linked to grassroots offline activities. Along with new media experts, this campaign will actively seek out innovative social media-driven initiatives in order to provide them with seed funding, and will convene social media experts to assist in the creation of innovative ideas for committed stakeholders to develop in partnership with the State Department.
Youth in Azerbaijan welcome Special Representative Pandith and Special Envoy Rosenthal
on their Hours Against Hate Campaign.
Hours Against Hate
Hours Against Hate is a joint campaign launched in 2011 by Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal, asking young people globally to pledge their time in volunteer service to others in order to stop bigotry and promote pluralism and respect across lines of culture, religion, tradition, class, and gender. For example, a Muslim could volunteer in a Jewish community center or a Christian could volunteer in a Sikh organization, etc. Originally intended to recruity 2,011 hours of volunteer service, Hours Against Hate has over 20,000 pledged volunteer hours. As part of this effort, Special Envoy Rosenthal and Special Representative Pandith visited countries where there has been a history of prosperous coexistence, including Spain, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, with more visits planned. Hours Against Hate is also collaborating with NGOs to encourage their networks to participate, and most recently partnered with the 2012 London Olympic Games. Volunteers may declare their pledged hours through the campaign’s Facebook site, which also serves to keep young people who have pledged service connected to each other. This is not a U.S. Government campaign per se, but rather one in which the U.S. Government is acting as a catalyst for global action stemming from the request of civil society.
Special Representative Pandith (Mar. 21): "Hate is hate, regardless of who is targeted. Whether motivated by race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or disability status, we see the effects of bullying, prejudice, bigotry and discrimination globally. The State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Report found some disturbing trends. In many countries, there was continued persecution of religious minorities, and an increase in discrimination against members of racial and ethnic minorities; people with disabilities; and lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people – all of whom were frequent targets of abuse, discrimination and violence." Full Text»
Generation Change Uganda chapter is launched in Kampala, Uganda
Launched in 2010, Generation Change is an online platform dedicated to empowering and networking a new generation of innovative young leaders in Muslim communities around the world. It provides a platform for the free exchange of ideas across borders, cultures, and faiths, as well as a community of positive role models, peers and mentors who help to create and implement solutions for local and global challenges. The first chapter in the US was launched at a State Department event that brought together 74 innovative youth leaders under the age of 30 – from prize-winning poets to filmmakers, to youth activists and founders of national charities. Generation Change aims to encourage young people to take control of their destinies, and to help them implement solutions that are in the common interest of both America and their communities. The platform has since expanded to a global one with 30 chapters in place as of 2013.
Women in Public Service Initiative
The range of complex challenges that exist around the world today and into the future require the robust participation of women in public service and political leadership to forge global solutions to improve governance, expand civil rights, and combat corruption. The State Department is working in partnership with five leading women’s colleges – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley – to launch a new Women and Public Service initiative to advance women’s leadership in politics and governance worldwide. With rich traditions of educating women from around the world to be leaders for over 30 generations, these schools represent a legacy of historic achievement for women. Together with several State Department offices reporting directly to the Secretary – including the Office of Global Women’s Issues – SRMC and these women’s colleges will convene a series of global conversations and launch partnerships to ensure that we are educating and training a new generation of women to enter the public sector with the strategic leadership skills, energy, and commitment required to tackle today’s global challenges.