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Technology Experts and Civil Society Leaders Share Innovations

On the last day of the IREX hosted C2C Summit, held in Washington on June 23-24, more than 150 C2C Summit participants and guests took part in an Innovation Marketplace that was highlighted by a tour and remarks by U.S Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Innovation Marketplace provided an opportunity for organizations and firms to demonstrate specific new information technology strategies and approaches that are used around the world to help civil-society organizations achieve their missions. During the marketplace, informal discussions between technology experts and civil-society representatives were held amid the backdrop of presentations and innovative technology exhibits.

Presenters included Microsoft, which presented its Child Exploitation Tracking System; ePals Inc., which provides collaborative technology for schools; and Atomic Learning, a firm that develops educational resources to teachers in order to improve their IT skills.

ArrivedOK Inc. demonstrated cell phone USSD/SMS applications used in Russia and other parts of the world to report on corruption, feed real time election results, and fight diseases.

Jim Shields, a high school teacher from Pennsylvania presented innovative classroom approaches that can benefit youth in how they learn about healthy habits, as well as increase their physical activity.

Also presenting was John Blyberg, a library innovator who demonstrated an active 21st-century library-service model, explaining how libraries are changing in the wake of digitization, and how communities are built and developed.

Ashoka, a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, demonstrated how they encourage youth to become change-makers and social entrepreneurs in their communities and become a part of their global online community.

EastBanc Technologies presented the "Apps for Democracy" winner, DC 311, which is a mobile application that can be used on mobile phones or through Facebook which allow regular citizens to submit service requests.

Finally, IREX’s Swathi Balasubramanian presented our Tech Age Girls model that empowers young women with technology. Outside the exhibit hall participants of the event were interviewed to collect observations on the importance of civil society cooperation and how the C2C Summit process can advance the impact of the sector.

Secretary Clinton spoke to the audience about the importance of civil society as a part of the bilateral relationship.

“Some quick examples that I just saw with the exhibits here this afternoon – we need creative, committed, courageous organizations like you and yours to find innovative solutions, to expose corruption, to give voice to the voiceless, to hold governments accountable to their citizens, to keep people informed and engaged on the issues that matter most to them,” said Secretary Clinton after touring the presenters’ exhibits.

Secretary Clinton concluded her remarks to the audience by saying, “So I see it from the position of how much has already happened, and then I think about how much energy we have behind what we need to be doing now and in the future. And I really hope that each and every one of you realizes that you’re performing a great service – an act of true patriotism on behalf of not only your country, but on behalf of a better life that will provide a stronger foundation for a positive, constructive relationship between the United States and Russia.” [Transcript of Secretary Clintons Remarks]


See also:

* Russian and American Civil Society Leaders Debate Common Concerns

* Civil Society Summit Declares Priorities for Russia and the US