This morning, after the event at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, there were a series of panels at the White House on the topic of “Honoring the Pledge of ‘Never Again.’”
Invisible Children’s CEO, Ben Keesey, was on a panel that discussed social media and technology.
Panel Discussion: Modern Tools for an Ongoing Challenge
Moderator: Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation, U.S. Department of State, with panelists:
- Sam Gregory, Program Director, WITNESS
- Jon Hutson, Satellite Sentinel Project
- Ben Keesey, CEO, Invisible Children
- Don Steinberg, Deputy Administrator, USAID
Some of the most interesting questions of the day were raised by students. While the questions couldn’t possibly be fully addressed in such a short time, they brought up important issues for further conversation.
For example, one person asked the panel about the potential harm of information and its spread through social media. We’ve seen students in Egypt use it for freedom and the Syrian regime use it for oppression.
Another member of the audience asked what social media could accomplish besides raising awareness. To which Jon Hutson responded that it can, and should, be used as a tool of accountability. The more people who are watching, the harder it is to shirk a mandate or abuse power. Not impossible, but more difficult.
Another person observed that victims of mass atrocities generally have less access to the technology where the conversations about mass atrocities are taking place. Instead, the conversations are dominated by outsiders of one sort or another. What can be done to bring forth the viewpoints of those directly affected?
These are important questions that we at Invisible Children have long considered and talk about often. It was great to see more youth engagement on this topic, and we were honored that Ben Keesey was invited to join this conversation at the White House.
If a video is made available, we will post it here. For sure.
Update: Video is now available: