Now, I know this week’s readings were focused strongly on edutainment, but frankly, I had enough of that with Sesame Street.
Instead, I’d like to talk about an aspect of international communication which we haven’t really touched on- the private sector.
A fellow IC’er turned me on to a company, SoukTel, which has taken advantage of the surge in mobile communication to help people in Somalia, Sudan, Peru, Morocco, Palestine, and Iraq find jobs. By filling out an e-resume through a series of text-messaged questions, people are able to connect with jobs in the region which they would otherwise not know about.
SoukTel has also created a way for non-profits and aid organizations to deliver better aid to people in need, by using the same question-and-answer though SMS forms to help these orgs to complete needs assessments and connect people with relevant services.
Is this not the coolest thing ever?
Going back to things we’ve learned earlier this year: how technology and globalization have changed media flows (although not THAT much,) glocalization and hybridized goods, and how public diplomacy is more than just propaganda blanketing the rest of the world, doesn’t this seem like a perfect opportunity for the United States to practice a little behind-the-scenes promotion of its agenda… and of peace? If people have jobs and security- and more importantly, if they have hope in their future and are invested in their livelihoods and communities- they are less likely to join a terrorist organization, turn towards fanaticism, and end up trying to get a bomb past the undress-rays at security (through unspeakable, unspeakable means.)
And after all, isn’t that what we want?