Assistant Secretary Marie Royce
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
September 14, 2018
Secretary Royce: Good afternoon. It’s a great pleasure to be here for the closing of the Digital Influencer’s Hub forum and to join such an amazing group of young innovation leaders.
I’m very excited that this conference has taken place as part of the celebration for the U.S. Honored Country at the Thessaloniki International Fair.
Almost a year ago President Trump said that the U.S. presence at this fair would be a prime opportunity to showcase American technology, enterprise and innovation on the world stage. I believe that this forum taking place in Thessaloniki plays an important role in the agenda set by the President.
Today I was very happy to meet some of the Board members and exchange participants on the Digital Communications Network. I was truly impressed with the exchange of knowledge and resources that have already taken place during this conference.
As a leader of the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs I feel a special affinity for this event. The Digital Communication Network exchanges and conferences are one of the flagship programs of my Bureau in the last two years. You’re all part of a growing community of over 3,000 digital professionals from over 30 countries who can shape the future of ideas and information sharing for the next generation. Your organizations, companies and startups transform global economies, media, politics and societies.
However, your power as influencers come with a very great burden of responsibility. You are on the sight lines of defense in the recent waves of disinformation and censorship by oppressive regimes and maligned international actors.
The U.S. government is committed to continue an aggressive response to maligned influence and disinformation. One of the best defenses against disinformation is a free and transparent news media environment.
This is why the United States has engaged with our partners and allies around the globe to strengthen independent journalism. Healthy and robust public debates based on facts, evidence and reason are integral to civic engagement. We believe that a well-informed citizenry is key to the strength of democratic institutions.
Digital technologies give us the tools to achieve both media accountability and transparency as well as an active and well-informed society. This is why the work of the Digital Communications Network is so vitally important. It brings together the brightest minds that see technology as a vehicle for positive change.
Through this robust network of journalists, media enthusiasts, developers, entrepreneurs, lawmakers and civil activists, you help one another in seeking and promoting truth, transparency and pluralism.
I want to share with you a brief example of a recent Greek DCN exchange participant, Thanos Kallias. Thanos has built a platform together with migrants and refugees where they can report and get their own perspective on the news that affects them. This is a digital new organization run by and for migrants and refugees.
What an impactful way to use technology, to give a voice to the underprivileged and to promote inclusiveness.
I hope you’ve had the opportunity over the last two days to share many, many more examples. As you do, I encourage you to reinforce the existing partnerships that you have and to establish new ones. This is the message I bring to you today.
You are building networks and sharing expertise in a critical field for the future of our societies and democracies, combating misinformation and promoting digital literacy.
I hope that this conference was an opportunity to create even stronger networks of open dialogue, fact checking and resource sharing in the fight against misinformation. My office remains committed to helping you achieve this goal.
Through our programs and exchanges, we help make new connections and work together to face our international challenges.
And to each one of you here in this room, I wish you all great success in your future endeavors and I look very forward to hearing about each one of your accomplishments. Thank you.
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