Digital Diplomacy, International Women of Courage and living your dreams

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I have had an amazing week.

On Tuesday I arrived at the State Department at 830am and walked through the entrance as my own woman instead of a diplomat’s kid tagging along for the first time. It felt good, which isn’t a surprise because I have a deep seated admiration for the foreign service- being an FSO is my dream job and has been since I was a little kid.

I didn’t know what to expect but I was pretty sure I’d be the only person invited whose background was Art History and who worked a corporate job during the day. I was right. The women who were chosen with me were all amazing, most of them work in social media for organizations as varied as the Swiss Consulate in New York, UNHCR, The Coalition for Afghan Democracy, as well as a slew of remarkable personal projects, businesses and causes.

I’d love to say that the best part of the day was meeting the First Lady and the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy but the best part was getting to talk to Public Affairs about how to use social media to engage citizens with the Department. One thing I’ve always understood is that lasting diplomacy is forged between individuals. When individuals feel important and valued both by their governments and ours- trust is built. Social Media allows us a platform to reach people like before and more open State is to it the better we we can serve our citizens and those of the countries we interact diplomatically with.

We got to talk about the importance of platforms like Reddit- the FSO AMA that exploded and then was taken down because whoever did it was afraid it wouldn’t be embraced by the State department. It’s awesome to hear officials at DOS admitting that kind of thing has the potential to be great PR for he department as a whole.

So Tuesday was great in all the ways you’d expect- I met women who are changing the world and ticking their lives and well being to do so. I bonded with women here in DC who are using social media to promote the causes they live for.

The women of the IWOC meetup:

Laila Alawa:  Social Media Associate, Unity Productions Foundation ,Public Policy & Government Intern, Muslim Public Affairs Council

Founder & Editor, ComingofFaith.com

Kelsey Glover: CEO KLG Consulting, LLC , Digital Diplomacy Coalition, Center of or Afghan Democracy.

Jen Charlton: Social Media/ Communications at the Swiss Consulate in New York, Digital Diplomacy Coalition.

Ananda Leeke: Founder, Digital Sisterhood Network, author.

Erin Dunne: Social Media, Communications UNCHR.

Salma Bahramy: Communications, Discovery Global Education Partnership.

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Me looking totally nerdy.

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Salma doing her thing.

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Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze at the reception

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Ruslana- Ukrainian popstar, Eurovision winner and leader in the EuroMaidan movement.

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Dr Nasrin Oryakhil of AfghanIstan

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