Last night, Americans gathered around their television sets -- or computer monitors -- to watch President Barack Obama deliver the State of the Union Address. For the first time, international audiences were able to watch the State of the Union Address live on U.S. embassy and consulate websites. The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) streamed the speech with a new video player, placed directly on almost 300 English-language embassy and consulate websites and Facebook pages worldwide.
Our missions in Cambodia, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, and Turkey had among the highest views of the webcast, and more than 60 posts amplified the speech on social media platforms, where they engaged their online communities via Facebook and Twitter. The U.S. Mission in Melbourne noted that the hashtag #SOTU was trending on Twitter in Australia -- which demonstrates to me the interest the State of the Union Address generated overseas.
Some of our posts continued the online engagement offline by hosting viewing parties. For example, the U.S. Mission in Lahore hosted a group of Pakistani students to watch the President's remarks, and the U.S. Embassy in Accra held an event with local journalists and exchange program alumni to view and discuss the program.
The feedback we received from participants was encouraging. A group of students watching in India shared how inspired they were by the President, and a viewer in Russia said that she believed in the power of people to create change. One viewer in Iraq noted that he woke up extra early in the morning to make sure he didn't miss the President's address.
Fortunately, not everyone had to set their alarm clocks early to watch the speech! To reach the part of the world that was asleep during the live event, we are rebroadcasting the State of the Union Address today in a 24-hour loop. International audiences across all time zones will be able to see the President's remarks. This pilot program is part of our ongoing efforts to find new and innovative ways to create global conversations and connect publics around the world, a hallmark of 21st Century Statecraft.