- Welcome by Ana Rold, Editor-in-Chief of Diplomatic Courier
- Ana Rold introduced the themes of the day with an insight into how she had come to change her views on the utility and importance of social media. "I once looked at social media with fear," she said, explaining that journalism has been disrupted like no other industry by the new tools of the digital era. But, she continued, as she came to use these tools more, she saw how they can be used to engage the public and had changed the structure of community dialogue from a top-down model to one where everyone has a voice.
- Introductions by Aaron Sherinian, VicePresident of Communications and Public Relations of the United NationsFoundation
- "The more things change, the more they stay the same," Aaron Sherinian said as he pointed out the themes underscoring the discussions already beginning on social media and in the room. "As we talk about that which is newfangled, or based in technology, or exciting and different to some it all underscores the need for authentic vision, keen, clear interests, and good relationships... Diplomacy in a digital age is a conversation that is as much about responsibility and accountability as it is about opportunity.” With those three key ideas—responsibility, accountability, and opportunity—he outlined the core of modern public diplomacy, and set the stage for Ambassador Stuart Holliday's keynote speech.
- Keynote by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO of the Meridian International City
- Ambassador Holliday's opening keynote set the discussions on digital diplomacy and public diplomacy in context for the audience, but also looked to the future. A new era of social connectivity, he stated, will not change that human relationships, mutual understanding, and respect is at the basis of all foreign policy.
He examined the United States' history and how its relative newness on the international stage led to a public diplomacy that depicted power and strength, as seen in Teddy Roosevelt's "Big Stick" speech, but also depicted an image as a unique country that was not reliant on military power for its vitality. As the Soviet Union began to move into Eastern Europe and threatened the stability of the post-World War II system the U.S. had fought for, "we needed to tell the story of why [the Soviet system] was bad. Not why we were good, but why that system was bad. So we created programs like Voice of America."
"The values that we uphold and we advocate in our country are not necessarily always always aligned with what they see as the outcome of our policies," Ambassador Holliday stated, referring to the fact that today global approval of U.S. leadership is only at 47 percent. "We believe our policies are correct...we hope they will lead to greater prosperity and security for all. We have the opportunity going forward to tell our story not as 'let me explain to you how I'm right'...we need shared and aligned outcomes."
"So what do you have to do? You have to tell stories about your future that align with the stories that they want to tell about their own future."