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F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J U LY - A U G U S T 2 0 1 2
pact of social media on Arab gender
Echoing a theme Melanne Verveer
explored in th
e May
(“Women and
the Arab Spring”)
— “women have
seized their new freedoms to organize
outside of the government” —Radsch
documents how young women in
Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen
and other Arab states are using social
media like Twitter, Facebook and
YouTube to carve out central roles for
themselves in both the private and
public spheres.
Through real-time Twitter posts
from demonstrations, heated Face-
book status updates and much more,
these young women have successfully
taken their activism from cyberspace
to the streets. Identifying the three
keys to the movement as citizen jour-
nalism, mobilization and organization,
Radsch declares, “Facebook pages and
Twitter hashtags were an integral part
of any protest, and became effective
tools for influencing mainstream
media coverage and organizing action.”
Radsch predicts that Arab women
of all ages will not stop protesting until
their voices are heard — something
that social media made feasible.
—Eva M.A. Moss, Editorial Intern
Closing the Language Deficit
The Senate Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs Committee’s
Subcommittee on Government Man-
agement, the Federal Work Force and
the District of Columbia
) he
ld a sobering May 21
hearing on “A National Security Crisis:
Foreign Language Capabilities in the
Federal Government.” It is the eighth
session its chairman, Senator Daniel
Akaka, D-Hawaii, has convened on the
Summarizing the hearing in his
May 22 Federal Diary column,
ington Post
writer Joe Davidson says
Uncle Sam has made real progress on
hiring fluent foreign-language speak-
ers. Foreign Service Director General
Linda Thomas-Greenfield testified
that while just 61 percent of State’s lan-
guage-designated positions were filled
with fully qualified personnel in 2009,
three years later that figure now stands
at 74 percent. Still, a quarter of LDPs
are either held by less fluent speakers
or are vacant, a shortfall that is partic-
ularly acute for Near Eastern, South
Asian and East Asian languages.
The Defense Department faces
similar difficulties, Davidson reports.
More than 80 percent of DOD lan-
guage slots had incumbents in Fiscal
Year 2011, but just 28 percent of those
employees were rated proficient.
Sen. Akaka used the occasion to
urge federal agencies to do more to co-
ordinate and share best practices in re-
cruiting, retaining and training per-
sonnel. He also called for a coordi-
nated national effort among all levels
of government, industry and academia
to tackle the problem so we “can im-
prove our nation’s language capacity
and effectively confront the challenges
to our nation’s security and economic
— Steven Alan Honley, Editor
Beat the Press
On May 2 the Committee to Pro-
tect Journalists
) re
leased its list of the “10Most Censored
Countries” in commemoration of
World Press Freedom Day. Eritrea,
North Korea and Syria topped the list,
followed by Iran, Equatorial Guinea,
Uzbekistan, Burma, Saudi Arabia,
Cuba and Belarus.
The report assesses three categories
This month, as the United States celebrates the 236th anniversary of its inde-
pendence, it seems only appropriate to highlight a Web site that both shows and tells
the history of our country.
Animated Atlas
produces interactive videos presenting es-
sential events in America’s history utilizing maps and geographic features. The site
features “Growth of a Nation,” a free 10-minute movie that depicts our country’s ex-
pansion since 1789.
The film has three segments: Completion of Territory (1789-1853), Civil War
(1853-1865) and Post-Civil War (1865-1959). The animation effects include color
coding of states, fireworks signaling battles, moving lines for bodies of water, and
hovering pictures of presidents, generals and other relevant figures. Audio com-
mentary explains each historical event in detail.
Clicking on a state brings up basic geographical and historical facts. Viewers can
also select a year at the bottom of the screen to pull up a timeline for the following
categories: States, Territories, President, Society, Native American, World, Science
and Culture.
In addition to the free online version,
Animated Atlas
also sells an enhanced CD-
ROM edition that traces the growth of cities, changes to rural areas and the history
of Native Americans.
Eva M.A. Moss, Editorial Intern