Sixty years before Zuckerberg, Senator J. William Fulbright had a revolutionary idea: connect people around the world to share ideas. Born out of WWII, his vision was “public diplomacy”: exchange regular citizens of various countries to interact, share knowledge, become friends, and stay connected for life.
In the social media era, are international exchange programs like Fulbright still relevant for public diplomacy? Can social networks create the same intercultural experiences online, serving more people at lower cost? Early Fulbrighters traveled on ships and stayed in touch by letter; now they fly and friend on Facebook. Have these programs outlived their usefulness when we can instantly Skype with anyone anywhere?
The exploding number of Fulbright applications since 2001 says “no”. This panel will explore why, discussing the challenges and opportunities public diplomacy programs face in the digital age, and how participants are putting the internet at the center of their projects.
9th–13th March 2012