SXSW Interactive 2014

"Open Source" Foreign Policy in the Digital Age


“No one person, no one alliance, no one nation, no one of us is as smart as all of us thinking together.” - Former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO Adm. James Stavridis.

What does it mean for foreign policy leaders and international professionals now that social media has become an essential tool for collaborative problem solving across nations, sectors and disciplines?

Journalist Spencer Ackerman, US National Security Editor at The Guardian, moderates this multidisciplinary panel of global leaders at the nexus of digital technology and foreign policy: Adm. James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO; Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith of the U.S. Department of State; and Senior Development Technologist + Media Adviser Joshua Haynes of USAID discuss the opportunities, challenges, and underpinnings of “Open Source” problem solving in the 21st century.

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Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How are governments, NGOs, businesses and social cause leaders using social media to support “Open Source” partnership-building initiatives across geographies and sectors?
  2. What are the essential ingredients for success as large bureaucratic institutions and organizations engage in social media partnership building efforts internationally? What are the implications for policymaking, management, education, training and funding?
  3. What are the potential stumbling blocks for large institutions and organizations, as the communications model shifts from a highly controlled top-down structure to a distributed model led by young digital natives—both in and out of uniform? How successful/unsuccessful has the effort been to get institutional leadership comfortable with this new paradigm?
  4. What challenges will global leaders need to overcome in the next five years in order to more effectively leverage social tools towards cross-sector international collaboration?
  5. What is the single most important decision or change that international leaders can make to improve their outcomes in the collaborative/social digital space? Based on the real world experience of the panelists, what key mistakes can they avoid?



Jessica Smith, Director, Communications, Public Relations & Marketing, The Fletcher School at Tufts University

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Policy and Civic Engagement
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced

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