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Diplomacy in Action

Tech@State: Past Events

In its first iteration, Tech@State: Haiti, participants from the private sector, NGOs, academia, the Haitian Diaspora, and the public sector demonstrated and discussed their innovations in Haiti. The event served as an idea and technology exchange among participants and ignited those attending to collaborate on current and future projects in Haiti and in other nations.

The second iteration, Tech@State: Mobile Money, brought experts, practitioners and technologists in mobile banking and communications to discuss how to scale up the many successful pilots of mobile money, what made those pilots and success and how to replicate them, and the implications of the sector for U.S. diplomacy and development. The Aug. 2010 event had more than 240 attendees and a like number watching online from around the world.

Civil Society 2.0 was the third edition and dealt with the interplay of technology in the formation of stronger, more resilient non-government, non-commercial institutions for social development. The two-day event, held in partnership with the World Bank, hosted a variety of speakers on topics like disaster preparedness, economic development, democracy and civic engagement, and more. The event also featured an "unconference" at which participants orchestrated their own agenda to address issues of their own choosing to address pressing questions. The November Civil Society event was followed by a parallel outing in Santiago, Chile, for the official launch of the Civil Society 2.0 program.

For the fourth Tech@State, we covered Open Source as software and culture. We had speakers from a variety of agencies and the private sector discuss the value of software created in an open and collaborative environment, and the organizational structure that allows that to happen. We also talked about the risks, real and imagined, attached to open-source software and to proprietary software. And we talked about openness in communications and government applications. There were breakout sessions on topics like standards, geospatial and mapping, security, foreign aid and development, health and education, among other topics. An "unconference" followed this event at the offices co-sponsor National Democratic Institute.

The fifth Tech@State brought Serious Games to George Washington University on May 27-28, 2011 for debate and discussion with stakeholders, members of Public Private Partnerships, collaborators and New Media advocates. Presentations and panel discussions on the first day centered on the development, evolution and future of serious games; psychology, business and design characteristics related to serious gaming; and how games are applied. In the second day "unconference" attendees created their own agenda, through which they examined games' effectiveness, created games on the spot, and brainstormed ways games could be applied in a foreign affairs context. The conference's roughly 200 attendees were also challenged to design games aimed at the millions of disaffected and underemployed youth of the world to steer them from extremism.

Over 400 people registered for the sixth Tech@State, which focused on Data Visualization. Held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on September 23, the first day was attended by about 350 people and started with opening remarks by OES Assistant Secretary of State Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones and a keynote speech by data visualization pioneer Edward Tufte. This was followed by ten panels chaired by over 40 industry speakers and experts. The second day was an "unconference," attended by about 60 interested in generating their own agenda on the topic of data visualization. Over the course of the two busy days, data visualization and numerous applications and analyses were examined and applied to various industries and topics like the State Department, mobile technology and natural disasters. The event was successful in disseminating constructive information on data visualization in support of U.S. diplomatic and development initiatives, and in facilitating collaboration between industries and agencies. Learn more.


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