Information Wars: A conversation with Richard Stengel
May 19th, 2021 12:00PM -1:00PM
This is a virtual program, instructions on how to join this meeting will be sent the day before the event.
With the growth of social media and the internet, disinformation has become an increasingly potent political tool. State and non-state actors from various countries, including Russia and China, have become adept at manufacturing and spreading disinformation or using covert campaigns to influence public perception and political outcomes in democratic countries around the world. The United States has been a prominent target of such campaigns, from the 2016 presidential election to COVID-19—but it is far from alone. Disinformation can change minds and fuel movements. But is it an unstoppable force? How can we resist a torrent of falsehoods and distortions? Join the World Affairs Council on Wednesday, May 19 from 12pm-1pm PDT for a conversation with Richard Stengel, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, on how countries can defend against disinformation.
About the Speaker
Richard Stengel is the longest serving Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in American history (2013-16). While at the State Department, he helped modernize State’s communications and led the department’s counter-disinformation efforts. He helped create and oversee the Global Engagement Center, the United States’ only stand-alone anti-ISIL messaging entity. He spearheaded the creation of the Sawab Center in Abu Dhabi, the first joint American and foreign counter ISIL messaging hub, which has become a template for others around the world.
He also led department-wide efforts to counter the global rise of disinformation. In addition, the Under Secretary oversees all communications from the podium and beyond. He also oversaw the modernization of all embassies websites and pioneered the use of social media at the Department. He also led the creation of English for All, a government-wide effort to promote the teaching of English around the world and oversaw the departments extensive educational exchanges, including the Fulbright Scholarship.
About the Moderator
Nina Jankowicz studies the intersection of democracy and technology in Central and Eastern Europe. She is the author of How To Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict (Bloomsbury/IBTauris). Ms. Jankowicz has advised the Ukrainian government on strategic communications under the auspices of a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. Her writing has been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and others. She is a frequent television and radio commentator on disinformation and Russian and Eastern European affairs. Prior to her Fulbright grant in Ukraine, Ms. Jankowicz managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She received her MA in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and her BA from Bryn Mawr College.
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