Alec Ross. A Laptop In Every Backpack

Excellent Rothkopf Piece on Secretary Clinton Gives Nice Shout Out to Alec Ross

In his must-read Washington Post essay reviewing the first few months of Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, David Rothkopf gives prominent mention to our good friend Alec Ross and his new and important role at State:

At the center of Clinton's brain trust is Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Now head of policy planning at the State Department, Slaughter elaborated on the ideas in Clinton's speech. "We envision getting not just a new group of states around a table, but also building networks, coalitions and partnerships of states and nonstate actors to tackle specific problems," she told me.

"To do that," Slaughter continued, "our diplomats are going to need to have skills that are closer to community organizing than traditional reporting and analysis. New connecting technologies will be vital tools in this kind of diplomacy."

A new team has been brought in to make these changes real. Clinton recruited Alec Ross, one of the leaders of Obama's technology policy team, to the seventh floor of the State Department as her senior adviser for innovation. His mission is to harness new information tools to advance U.S. interests -- a task made easier as the Internet and mobile networks have played starring roles in recent incidents, from Iran to the Uighur uprising in western China to Moldova. Whether through a telecommunications program in Congo to protect women from violence or text messaging to raise money for Pakistani refugees in the Swat Valley, technology has been deployed to reach new audiences.

Alec and I co-wrote a paper together for NDN back in 2007, "A Laptop in Every Backpack," which challenged our leaders to give all of our students access to, and adequate training in, the networks and technology essential to the life success of all the world's children in the 21st century.  For more on this see my post from earlier this year.

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