US pro­motes peace through ‘TechCamp’

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Ben Gar­cia

KUWAIT: To counter tech­nol­ogy based ter­ror­ism, the US State Depart­ment launched the ‘TechCamp: Pro­mot­ing Peace and Tol­er­ance with Tech­nol­ogy’ pro­gram in Kuwait for the first time. TechCamp is an ini­tia­tive by the bureau of In­ter­na­tional In­for­ma­tion Pro­grams (IIP) at the US Depart­ment of State. Through this two-day pro­gram, which was held at Dar Al-Athar Is­lamiyah (Yar­mouk Cul­tural Cen­ter), the US con­tin­ues to work to­gether with coun­tries all over the world to counter on­line rad­i­cal­iza­tion and the re­cruit­ment of youth by ex­trem­ist groups.

“We wel­come op­por­tu­ni­ties like this, to build power among or­ga­ni­za­tions and groups work­ing to­gether to counter this key so­cial chal­lenge,” said US Am­bas­sador Lawrence Sil­ver­man, as he in­au­gu­rated the TechCamp. Ac­cord­ing to Sil­ver­man, the ini­tia­tive has two ma­jor parts; first, the tech­nol­ogy (equip­ment), and sec­ond, the con­tent of the mes­sage. “It is the com­bi­na­tion of tech­nol­ogy and the con­tent re­lated to tol­er­ance and mod­er­a­tion which might pre­vent peo­ple from be­ing swayed by rad­i­cal ide­olo­gies and vi­o­lence. The TechCamp is about in­ter­ac­tion and learn­ing,” he said.

More than a dozen peo­ple from var­i­ous agen­cies have been in­vited to par­tic­i­pate and share their knowl­edge, skills, and sub­jects re­lated to TechCamp. The IIP was rep­re­sented by Deputy As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Ni­cole Chulick. “This is the Gulf’s first re­gional TechCamp, and we are de­lighted to host it in Kuwait. The next two days are go­ing to be high in en­ergy, pro­duc­tiv­ity, and col­lab­o­ra­tion,” he said. He also praised the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia for part­ner­ing with the US Depart­ment of State to or­ga­nize a sym­po­sium at the Sun­ny­lands Es­tate on en­ter­tain­ment and its rel­e­vance to tele­vi­sion mar­kets world­wide, with re­gard to the is­sues we face.

“Tele­vi­sion pro­fes­sion­als from the Mid­dle East and South Asia met with Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts to dis­cuss ways for pop­u­lar en­ter­tain­ment to in­form and in­spire au­di­ences to fight in­tol­er­ance, big­otry, and sec­tar­i­an­ism; and counter vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism,” he said. He also men­tioned Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah, Un­der­sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of State for Youth Af­fairs, quot­ing her as say­ing: “this gath­er­ing of mind and spirit has left me both in­spired and chal­lenged.”

“I wish the same sen­ti­ment for you as you par­tic­i­pate in TechCamp Kuwait, which has the same aim as the Sun­ny­lands sym­po­sium; you have all come here today to use col­lec­tive in­no­va­tion to find ben­e­fi­cial ways to fight a com­mon so­cial foe,” said the am­bas­sador, quot­ing Sheikha Al-Zain. Am­bas­sador Lawrence said that the multi-faceted cam­paign to erad­i­cate ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lence in the Mid­dle East con­tin­ues, and stressed that it has to be done from the se­cu­rity per­spec­tive and must be con­stant.

—Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: US Am­bas­sador to Kuwait Lawrence Sil­ver­man speaks dur­ing an event to launch the ‘TechCamp: Pro­mot­ing Peace and Tol­er­ance with Tech­nol­ogy’ pro­gram.

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