Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication

Hip Hop Diplomacy:
Connecting Through Culture

What does cultural diplomacy look like "from the inside?"

What are the official diplomatic goals of cultural exchange -- and do the creative participants have the same goals? How does it feel to share your art or your sport across political, cultural and language divides? If you're a musician, how can you tell that you're reaching people? And if you're a diplomat, how can you tell if your program is making a difference?

This event took place on March 27, 2012.

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Sean Aday joined The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs in 2000, after completing his Ph.D. and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as the Director of GW's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication and directs the Global Communication Master's Program. His work focuses on the intersection of the press, politics, and public opinion, especially in relation to war and foreign policy.

Toni Blackman, international champion of hip hop culture, is an award-winning artist whose work and commitment to hip hop led the U.S. Department of State to name her the first ever hip hop artist to work as an American Cultural Specialist. She has served in Senegal, Ghana, Botswana, and Swaziland where her residencies include performance, workshops, and lectures on hip hop music and culture. She has also traveled extensively in Europe and elsewhere through the State Department's Jazz at Lincoln Center: Rhythm Road.

Tumi Mosadi, GlobalGirl Media South Africa Program Director, oversees and runs the GlobalGirl Media South Africa Academy training program and news bureau at the U.S. Consulate's Rosa Park Library in Soweto. Tumi brings ten years experience working in the South African TV and media industry to her work with GMSA, most recently training ten HIV+ girls as GGM reporters. Tumi obtained a BA in Communications and Industrial Psychology at the University of South Africa.

Ambassador Adam Ereli has served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since January 2011. He was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain from 2007-2011, and previously served as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy; Deputy Spokesman of the State Department; and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Qatar. Other overseas assignments have included Yemen, Ethiopia, Syria, and Egypt. He earned a B.A. degree from Yale University and a M.A. degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Mary Jeffers is a career foreign service public diplomacy officer. She most recently served as Public Affairs Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, Morocco, with previous overseas assignments in South Africa, Uganda, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Sudan, and Algeria. She has worked in State's Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and served as the Africa Branch Chief of the International Visitor Leadership Program. Mary has degrees in Anthropology/Archeology from Binghamton University (M.A.) and Duke University (B.A.)

Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak joined the US National Women's soccer team at the age of 16, played on a championship team at the University of North Carolina / Chapel Hill, and went on to win a gold medal with her teammates at the 1995 Olympics team and at the 1999 Women's World Cup. Since 2006, Tiffany has traveled as a State Department Sports Envoy to Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, Uganda, and Morocco. She and her husband currently co-coach the women's soccer team at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Soultana is a pioneering Moroccan hip-hop artist who writes about contemporary and often controversial subjects. With members of the trio "Tigresse Flow" she has won major Moroccan music awards, including best emerging talent at Morocco's annual Mawazine festival in 2008. Last year, Soultana released a solo music video: "Sawt Nssa" or "The Voice of Women." In 2011, she participated in the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program and an artists' residency in the U.S.

Frank Sesno is Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, an Emmy-award winning journalist, and host and creator of Planet Forward, a ground-breaking web-to-television show seen on PBS. He also serves as director of the Public Affairs Project at GW's Center for Innovative Media. Sesno's diverse career spans over 30 years of experience, including 21 years at CNN where he served as White House correspondent, anchor, and Washington Bureau Chief. He has also hosted a ten-part series for public television that explores news and communication in the digital age, titled The Future of News with Frank Sesno.

Tara Sonenshine is Executive Vice President of the U.S. Institute of Peace and President Obama's nominee as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Ms. Sonenshine joined the USIP leadership team in January 2009, where she oversees strategic planning, public outreach and publications. Prior to joining USIP, she was a strategic communications adviser to many international organizations including USIP, the International Crisis Group, Internews Networks, CARE International, the American Academy of Diplomacy and Women of Washington.

Therese Steiner, GlobalGirl Media President and Founding Partner, has been a principle in GlobalGirl Media leading up to the 2010 launch during the FIFA World Cup and a trainer at both the 2010 and 2011 GlobalGirl Media South Africa Academies in Soweto. A former programming executive with WNET (PBS) in New York, Therese has worked extensively in media and television and is currently a consultant with global media companies. Therese graduated from Harvard University, and holds an MFA from Columbia University.

Belia Zibowa is a basketball coach from Zimbabwe who has played at the national level and was the manager of the national team. She's won a national tournament and currently coaches both U-16s and women. She works with a program called Going for Gold to get people involved with the Olympic Movement. Her dream is to open the first top-level sports academy in Zimbabwe.

Lisa Delpy Neirotti is Associate Professor of Tourism and Sport Management in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at The George Washington University's School of Business. She has published several works on sport and event management and marketing, and is an editorial board member of SportsTravel Magazine. She also works with a number of sport event organizers and professional teams to conduct economic, spectator and market research studies. She has traveled to 56 countries worldwide studying the development and organization of the Olympic movement.

This event has was made possible with the generous contribution of
the Walter Roberts Endowment

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