SFRC Clears Locke, Crocker, Burns

On June 23, 2011 the Committee on Foreign Relations cleared the following executive nominations, which will now go to the full Senate:

Gary Locke, of Washington, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China.

Ryan C. Crocker, of Washington, Personal Rank of Career Ambassador, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

William J. Burns, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service with the Personal Rank of Career Ambassador, to be Deputy Secretary of State, vice James Braidy Steinberg.

US ConGen Karachi Sponsors Network!! Pakistan’s First Social Media Summit

The US Consulate General in Karachi recently sponsored Pakistan’s first ever social media summit held in Avari Hotel from June 10-11 2011. Its partners include Intel,  Apple, Newsweek Pakistan, PC World Magazine, IDG, iRaffles and Express, Pakistan’s second largest media group.  It also had representatives from Twitter and WordPress skyped from the US to be part of the Summit. 

Indonesian bloggers Heny and Dita talk about social media for community activism and community service in education and in combatting corruption.
Photo from US ConGen Karachi/Facebook

There are reportedly 3 million bloggers in Pakistan, and with over 4 million people on Facebook, it is ranked 26th in the world. Its internet penetration rate is at 23.42% and growing, while its mobile penetration is at 60.4%.  Less than 2% of Pakistan’s population is on Twitter as of 2011 but as a sign of the microblogging increasing popularity, Zong, a second network now officially supports Twitter updates via SMS.

International participants included Mohamed El Dahshan (Egypt), Hanny Kusumawati and Anandita Puspitasari (Indonesia), Rebecca Chiao (Egypt), Ong Hock Chuan (Malaysia), Claire Diaz Ortiz (US) and Karim Osman (Netherlands), as well as other bloggers who participated via Skype.

Via The Express Tribune:

Watch this overview too on new media users in Pakistan.

The sessions include  topics on Education & Good Governance: Going Digital, Women & Social Activism in the New Media Era, and Monetizing Your Social Media Space followed by some 20 breakout workshops. “The idea of the summit is to enable a collective gathering of people from the Pakistani Blogosphere and how to enable them as well as understand better on bringing about a positive change through social media.”

The US Consul General in Karachi gets to open the event (video), and has an op-ed carried by Pakistan’s Tribune newspaper, and republished in other media outlets online:

“Pakistan enjoys tremendous freedom of information and online expression. As a representative of the United States, I am keenly aware of the vibrancy of that free speech every time I log in to my computer or pick up a newspaper. Although a bit bruised sometimes, I welcome it! By amplifying the diversity of voices, social media is making life a richer experience for us all.”

Consul General William Martin delivers opening remarks at Network!!
Photo from US ConGen Karachi/Facebook

It is not surprising to see some familiar faces involved in this event – Andie de Arment of CG Karachi and Tristram Perry of CG Lahore, both officers previously worked together in US Mission Indonesia, the Bigfoot in the State Department’s social media footprint. 

Rabia from CIO Magazine/PC World along with moderators, presenters, international bloggers, as well as IO Andie & IO Tristram from Lahore.
Photo from US ConGen Karachi/Facebook

More photos here from Tribune and here from US CG Karachi Facebook. Awesome work folks!

US Embassy Tel Aviv: 2011 July 4th America Challenge!

You can still watch the 235th Independence Day celebration live online on June 30, brought to you by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and its corporate sponsors:

The embassy’s most recent FB contest is called  2011 July 4th America Challenge! Participants must complete the sentence AMERICA IS …. and get a chance to win tickets to the Independence Day party at the Ambassador’s Residence.

On June 22, the embassy announced in FB that it received “well over 300 creative, funny, emotional, and thoughtful entries telling us what AMERICA IS…” and is now sifting through the entries on who will get the tickets.

Snapshot: Top 10 State Department Assistance Recipients FY2010

According to the Prime Award spending data from, the following organizations are the State Department’s Top 10 Assistance Recipients in FY2010.

screen capture from