The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2014 - page 11

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
JULY-AUGUST 2014
11
and high-level civil rights and
election experts. On her own
time, Ms. White also started an
“English Speaking Roundtable”
that meets twice weekly with
students to strengthen their
language skills and under-
standing of U.S. society and
values.
Despite a highly restricted
social and political environ-
ment, female activists in
Saudi Arabia are mobilizing
to run in the country’s first
municipal elections open to
female candidates and vot-
ers. Cultural Affairs Specialist
Naimeh
Hadidi
responded to this opportunity by
building a nationwide network to foster
partnerships between the mission and
these courageous women’s work to battle
gender apartheid.
“She has almost singlehandedly led
U.S. government outreach in hard-to-
reach, remote and ultra-conservative
areas—places embassy staff would
ordinarily never be able to access,” Deputy
Cultural Attaché Marlo Cross-Durant said
in nominating Hadidi.
Thanks in no small part to her efforts,
41 percent of Mission Saudi Arabia’s
nominees to the Fiscal
Year 2014 International
Visitors Leadership
Programwere female.
And later this year
a group of nine Saudi activists who are
mobilizing women to run in next year’s
municipal council elections will visit the
United States to meet with American
women who are running for office, man-
aging election campaigns, raising money
and managing media.
In Swaziland, more than 92,000 visu-
ally impaired citizens now have access to
new information technology, thanks to
MorrisonMkhonta
, director of Embassy
Mbabane’s Information Resource Center.
Concerned that few organizations exist in
Swaziland to advocate for their funda-
mental rights, Mr. Mkhonta helped obtain
resources to purchase
technology for translat-
ing print materials into
Braille or audio.
He also set up a
training center to assist
people trying out these
new tools, thereby
playing a key role in
opening up a world that
had never before been
accessible to people
in Swaziland with dis-
abilities.
The Public Diplo-
Honoring Public
Diplomacy’s Best
E
ffective public diplomacy requires
strategic thinking, creativity, commit-
ment and sound judgment in the use of
resources.
achievements of those PD practitioners,
whether overseas or in Washington, D.C.,
who best exemplify these qualities. PDAA’s
17th annual awards dinner, held on May
4 in Washington, D.C., spotlighted the
achievements of this year’s six winners.
The first three recipients worked
together to create and implement an
exceptional multidimensional exchange
program: “Pakistani Voices: A Conversa-
tion withThe Migration Series.”
International Information Programs
Bureau officer
Attia Nasar
, Islamabad
Public Affairs officer
Ajani Husbands
and
Rachel Goldberg
from the Phillips
Collection collaborated to set up speaker
programs and hands-on workshops
involving more than 375 artists, students,
educators and museum professionals
across Pakistan.
This multiyear project uses the arts to
generate positive discussions on U.S.-Pak-
istani relations, and establish a conduit
for communication on challenging social
issues.
In Equatorial Guinea political oppo-
nents are routinely arrested and held
without charge, media outlets are severely
restricted, and websites deemed critical of
the government are blocked. Undaunted,
first-tour PAO
Ashley White
found cre-
ative ways to put together high-impact
public diplomacy programs on human
rights and democracy.
She organized a series of roundtables
with students, government officials, legal
experts and civil society representatives,
featuring U.S. Ambassador Mark Asquino
TALKING POINTS
Naimeh Hadidi (on right)
visits in the Aljouf region
with a member of the
King Abdulaziz Society for
Women, whose goal is to
strengthen the position of
women in Saudi society.
Emerging Artists
Workshop organized
by the Phillips
Collection and the U.S.
Department of State at
the Alhamra Arts Center
in Lahore, Pakistan.
Morrison Mkhonta conducts a session for trainers for visually
impaired computer users.
Courtesy of Morrison Mkhonta
Courtesy of Naimeh Hadidi
Courtesy of Attia Nasar
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