Courtesy of U.S. Department of State Official Blog
As Secretary Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies. I’m writing to extend an invitation: I’d like you to join us online tomorrow to take part in Secretary Clinton’s Global Town Hall with Civil Society. This event will kick off the 2012 Summit of our Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society, and we want you involved.
“Civil society” is the term we use to describe activists, organizations, congregations, and journalists who work through peaceful means to make our countries better. In one way or another, you’re probably a part of civil society already. Over the last year, we’ve watched as civil society has changed our world. Courageous young men and women have brought dignity and democracy to North Africa. Citizens have pushed scores of governments to be more accountable. And technology has made it easier than ever before for people to come together around common goals to advance the common good.
Against that backdrop, Secretary Clinton launched the Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society as the State Department’s flagship effort to engage partners beyond government. This marked a big change for us. We’ve had a lot of practice conducting diplomacy with other countries. But diplomacy with those outside of government is relatively new, even if it’s rapidly becoming an integral part of our work. There have been excellent efforts at embassies and in bureaus where our diplomats have built strong relationships with civil society, but we’ve realized that we need to expand that cooperation to every issue and country where we’re active.
For the last year, representatives from the State Department and leading activists have come together and worked to turn ideas from civil society into concrete policy proposals. Tomorrow — for the first time — Secretary Clinton will announce action on the recommendations that have emerged from this process. Secretary Clinton will also answer questions from civil society representatives with us in Washington and participating at embassy and consulate viewing parties around the world.
The Dialogue fulfills a promise in the Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) to create a framework for involving civil society in policymaking. And we want the next round to be powered by your ideas. So, join us! Watch the Global Town Hall live at 10:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 16. Follow along on Twitter (@usmariaotero, @State_DRL, @EconEngage, and @S_GWI will all be tweeting live from the Town Hall using the hashtag #CivilSociety or #CivSoc), and tell us your ideas on how government and civil society can work together as catalysts for change.