Talking the Walk: Explaining the Provincial Reconstruction Team Mission

Posted by Aaron Snipe
May 22, 2009
FSO Aaron Snipe Appears on Iraqi TV News Program

About the Author: Aaron Snipe is a Foreign Service Officer with the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Muthanna, Iraq.

If you've read my previous DipNote posts, you know that diplomats and development professionals are making a real difference in rural Iraq. Our work with our Iraqi counterparts in the Department of Veterinary Affairs is helping revive Muthanna's agricultural sector. This is certainly important work, but as a the PRT's public diplomacy officer, it's my job to ensure that Iraqis know about the work we are doing out in the field.

Driving through even the most rural areas of Muthanna it is common to see houses made of mud . . . with brand new satellite dishes on the thatched roofs. Rural Iraqis, like millions of others around the developing world, want to be connected to the rest of the world, and satellite TV is helping make this connection. Satellite networks across the Middle East, like Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and LBC out of Beirut, are the news sources many in the Arab world turn to. Here in Iraq, many Iraqis look to these satellite stations and their own state-owned network, Al Iraqiya. Not long ago, my Deputy Team Leader and I were invited to give an hour-long interview on the local Al-Iraqiya affiliate, Muthanna TV. The program called "Al Hadath" ("The Event") is a nightly broadcast and helps Muthanna's residents learn about what is happening in and around the province. The interviewer was gracious and genuinely interested in asking us about the work of the PRT. It gave us an opportunity to share highlights of what we've been up to and also stress the cooperative nature of the U.S. role in Iraq. I was particularly pleased to talk about the PRT's partnership with municipal officials in providing 500 tons of alum (aluminum sulfate) to help improve the quality of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Muthanna's residents.

While it's important to blog about our accomplishments, I'm pretty sure most of Muthanna's farmers and rural residents aren't reading DipNote. Having U.S. diplomats take the air waves to explain our policy is one of the best ways to get the message out.

Read more entries about Aaron Snipe's experiences serving with the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Muthanna, Iraq.



May 22, 2009

Rose P. writes:

It is true that media is the best way of teaching and connecting with the masses & help them to know who we are and why we are there to change their thinking patterns!But they need someone authentic & special like me to bring them the trust & show them where my motivation comes from!This whole movement is prophetic and not a business!

California, USA
May 26, 2009

Masood in California writes:

These efforts are needed and will make a difference.

California, USA
May 27, 2009

Wendy in California writes:

Dear Mr. Snipe,

I think it's important that the stateside folk learn thru Dipnote so many of the concrete (alum?!) things that our State Dept is doing. That actually does help Muthanna's farmers and rural residents. People who read Dipnote remark to friends about the excellent work being done in Muthanna and elsewhere. This makes people more alert to and grateful for all the hard work of otherwise too invisible people like you. Pebbles in the pool -- the ripples spread out like pebbles in a pool.

'Talking the walk' is a great title, by the way.

Thank you so much for all you do -- and for blogging about it.

Maryland, USA
May 29, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hi, Aaron & Department of :) people .

This is great news, that people are getting more connected. I think this will help get more people involved in their government and update them on what is going on in their community. I hope Muthanna's reconstruction is going well.

Cya..Aaron Snipe...


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