Ukraine has been a constant topic in the global news cycle over the past year or so, especially since the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in March 2014. The public narrative and the news cycle around that particular event and the subsequent unrest in eastern Ukraine have been driven primarily by Western media on one hand and by Russian media outlets on the other. Little in this global discussion and debate has been shaped by Ukraine’s own narrative. One may legitimately ask, “Why is this the case?” In part this has to do with the reality of...Continue
As in the United States, journalists and independent media play a critical role in French society. Dating back to the establishment of “fourth estate” the French have protected their right to investigate, critique, and lampoon those who hold positions of power. During a recent dinner with French journalists in Washington on the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), I was reminded of our shared values and challenges. My discussion with French journalists Vincent Jarnigon and Violette Lazard underscored a fundamental challenge binds us together. Both nations have nurtured the notion of freedom of expression and tolerance....Continue
When I meet international visitors, most of which are participating in one of Meridian’s exchange programs, I often talk about the impact of these exchanges on the lives and careers of previous participants. I often mention Meridian alumni who went on to shine in the global spotlight. Some are very well-known: Nicolas Sarkozy, Mikhail Saakashvili, Romano Prodi, Hamid Karzai, Margaret Thatcher. A few are better known locally: Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen, President of Guatemala, Norovyn Altankhuyag, Prime Minister of Mongolia, Egypt’s former President Anwar Sadat, Finland’s current President, Sauli Niinisto, or Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister of Israel. In total, some 168 current or former heads of state have stepped through Meridian’s doors mostly as participants in the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program.
In late November, Meridian International Center and the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Press Center warmly received a cohort of ten Chinese “netizens” (a portmanteau of “internet” and “citizens”) who displayed a deft awareness for the power of the blogosphere.
The netizens expressed their appreciation and satisfaction with what they all agreed was a very well designed and relevant program. They were particularly pleased that they were able to participate in such a wide range of activities; saying that the visit did much to increase their understanding of the United States and both the differences and similarities between the two countries. Continue