Silicon Valley Presents New Opportunities and Tools for Subnational Engagement

Posted by Reta Jo Lewis
November 18, 2011
Broadband Cables in Germany

I recently traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet with a wide array of Silicon Valley technology leaders and innovators to explore strategies for using modern technology to build state and local capacities in Asia, Africa, Latin America and emerging economies around the world.

As the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, I lead the Department's efforts to collaborate with state and local leaders and their counterparts abroad to meet U.S. foreign policy goals. With President Obama and Secretary Clinton making subnational engagement a priority for 21st century American diplomacy, we have been a catalyst not only for our states and our cities to engage but also with governors and mayors all over the world.

In pursuit of this objective, I consulted with Silicon Valley technology experts to search for low-cost, innovative solutions for sharing best practices that can improve growing global networks between elected state and local officials in the United States and their foreign counterparts.

What better place than Silicon Valley to pursue collaboration and dialogue on the use of high technology innovation and development on a new generation of public-private partnerships. I firmly believe that the power of partnerships at its best allows us to achieve so much more together than we could apart. The further we broaden and deepen these relationships, the more we need to engage and bring into play the skills and energies of partners beyond the federal government. By combining the strengths of governments and philanthropies, we can more than double our impact, to this subnational end. And the multiplier effect continues if we add businesses, non-governmental organizations, universities, unions, faith communities, and individuals.

In that spirit, Silicon Valley technologists and entrepreneurs are committed to collaborating with the State Department to expand the reach of 21st Century Statecraft by complementing traditional foreign policy tools with newly innovated and adapted instruments of statecraft that fully leverage the networks, technologies and demographics of our interconnected world.

While in the Bay Area, I delivered a speech on the use of technology in our work at a dinner hosted by Vish Mishra, President of TiE Silicon Valley, a global networking organization for entrepreneurs. The dinner event included a valuable interactive session with TiE members who provided input on their global interests and entrepreneurship.

During my visit, I also had the opportunity to meet with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa to discuss engaging with my office on a variety of issues, including economic development.

Innovators and entrepreneurs play a vital role in Secretary Clinton's vision of 21st century diplomacy and development. I plan to return to Silicon Valley to tap into the rich knowledge and talent of these remarkable leaders who were so generous to share their insights and valuable information.



michael s.
California, USA
November 18, 2011

Michael S. in California writes:

Would really enjoy to hear about what type of technology and strategies you learned about. And any more details you will provide such as outcome etc etc

R. S.
United States
November 23, 2011

R. Paul S. in the U.S.A. writes:

We at TiE ( enjoyed your participation at the event. It is heartening to see washington engaging with the entrepreneurs in the silicon valley. Our mission at TiE is to foster entrepreneurship and we look forward to working more closely with your team to help spread that mission.

R. Paul S.
Marketing Chair, TiE Silicon Valley


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