Following Account of CNAS Conference provided by: Darice Xue
June 12, 2013
After a few weeks of interning, the National Security Fellows reunited for two events:
- The Diplomatic Courier’s Annual Forum on Digital Diplomacy (#DiplomacySM)
- The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Conference (#CNASdc)
Only a few of us attended the Forum on Digital Diplomacy, which was hosted in the rotunda of the Ronald Reagan Building – a modern, expansive room covered with windows. The panel consisted of several prominent players in the fields of social media and global affairs; and the entire meeting was moderated by freelance journalist, Joshua Frost. The panel discussed the importance of social media in politics and international relations, explaining how social media greatly influences today’s leaders as it bridges communities of people and the values they hold dear. Social media and diplomacy are now so resolutely intertwined, there was discussion over the future relevance of ambassadors. I personally believe face-to-face interaction is, and always will be, a major factor in international relations, but I do understand and appreciate social media’s prominence in modern times. The National Security Fellows were responsible for tweeting throughout the event – reiterating what was said and giving our own opinions, as well. The fact that we were tweeting throughout the event proved the omnipresence of social media and the rapid, thorough nature of information-sharing in today’s world. This Forum served as a valuable look into how our global society is progressing, and what we may expect from ourselves in years to come.
After the Forum, we joined the rest of our National Security Fellows at the posh Williard InterContinental Hotel around lunchtime for the annual CNAS Conference. The event was packed with think tankers, professors, journalists, soldiers and students (like us)! Several speakers discussed how the United States, with its economic recession and waning political will, needs to reevaluate and reconsider its national defense strategy. Furthermore, issues such as the National Security Agency surveillance leaks, the Syrian Civil War, the pivot to Asia, and cyber security threats were mentioned, revealing a changing global atmosphere that requires more consideration by policy makers. However, the National Security Fellows weren’t simply listening to these conversations – our very own Jimmy Zhang and Tom Scott-Sharoni added to the discussion, asking the panel questions about the rise of China and other national security topics. I was impressed.
Both events were great exposures to the international affairs community in Washington. We were really able to see how thinkers contribute to American policy and governance, and it gave us something to aspire toward. Seeing such smart, competent people inspires me to be the exact same way – and I can only hope to be half as remarkable as those who have spent their entire lives learning the ways of the world, only to figure out how to make them better.