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Internet freedom, terrorism, soft power…

April 22, 2011

Hello everyone, bonjour a tous,

This has been an exciting week for our consulate team.  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Daniel Baer come to Strasbourg to participate in the Council of Europe’s conference — “Internet Freedom — From Principles to Global Treaty Law?” April 18-19.  I must admit that, as still a beginner regarding “new technologies and media,” I learned a great deal about many aspects of the internet that I had never even considered before.  How does one “govern” such a world-wide “space” with so many participants involved from so many countries, governments, businesses, etc.?  What are your ideas?

We also had colleagues come from the U.S. to participate in the Council of Europe-hosted meeting of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee with International, Regional, and Sub-Regional Organizations.”  The meeting’s theme was “Prevention of Terrorism.”  I stress that preventing terrorism from happening is crucial.  Agreeing on how to do so is, of course, challenging.  One element that many speakers emphasized was the imperative of respecting human rights while simultaneously combating terrorism.  I agree with this idea.  One cannot violate universal human rights in fighting terrorists.  

Our Cultural Attache from Paris came to Strasbourg Tuesday to deliver remarks at the prestigious Ecole National Administration (ENA) on U.S. “soft diplomacy,” particularly in North Africa and the Middle East.  I wish I had been able to attend but I was committed to attending the other conference with our official from Washington.

My team and I continue, of course, with our “normal” work, including our website updates, in addition to assisting our official visitors.

We look forward to hearing from you!  Have a good (and in Alsace, sunny) weekend.     

Vincent Carver

U.S. Consul General, Strasbourg

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