Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication

Groundtruth: New Media, Technology and the Syria Crisis

An IPDGC - USIP collaboration

Tuesday, October 2
9:30am - 1pm

A Blogs & Bullets Event

User-generated images, videos and stories stream in every day from Homs, Aleppo and all around Syria documenting the country’s descent into violence and instability. As part of the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Blogs & Bullets initiative, this event provided analysis and insight into the influence of new media in the crisis, specifically on three types of actors: activists on the ground, journalists and media-makers who are reporting on the crisis, and policymakers around the world.

The event brought experts together to discuss not only social media’s role in ongoing events, but how it can be used to promote peace in a post-Assad future.


8:45 am – 9:15 am: Coffee and Registration

9:15 am – 9:30 am: Introduction

9:30 am – 10:45 am: Panel 1: Activists and the Regime

  • Rami Nakhla, The Day After Project
  • Ahed Al Hendi,
  • Hadeel Kouki, Syrian activist
  • Rafif Jouejati, Free Syria Foundation
  • Schadi Semnani, Syria Conflict Monitor
  • Marc Lynch, George Washington University (Moderator)

10:45 am – 11:00 am: Break 

11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Panel 2: Reporting the Crisis

  • Deborah Amos, National Public Radio
  • Robert Mackey, New York Times 
  • Lara Setrakian, ABC News
  • Fadl al Tarzi, SocialEyez, Dubai News Group (via Skype) 
  • Sean Aday, George Washington University (Moderator)

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Panel 3: Policymakers at Home and Abroad 

  • Mohammad Al Abdallah, Syria Justice and Accountability Center 
  • Susan Wolfinbarger, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Steve Heydemann, USIP
  • Mounir Ibrahim, U.S. Department of State
  • Aaron Zelin, Washington Institute for Near East Policy 
  • Joe Holliday, Institute for the Study of War 
  • Sheldon Himelfarb, USIP (Moderator)






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