tv Discussion on Challenges Facing Afghanistan CSPAN May 7, 2016 12:10pm-1:42pm EDT
we cannot just walk up -- block up the lower-level dealer, this boy barely out of childhood, felt he had no other option spirit we have uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters who we remember were just as smart and talented as we were, but got ground down by structures that are unjust, and that means we have to not only question the world as it is and stand up to those african-americans have not yes, youucky because have worked hard but you have .lso been lucky that is a pet people of mine. people who have been successful ofthat is a pet peeve mine. people who have been successful did not realize that they have been lucky. that god may have blessed them. it was nothing you did, so do not have an attitude.
[applause] expand our also moral imaginations to understand and empathize with all people to our struggling, not just black folks who are struggling. therefugees, the immigrants ral folks, the transgender, and yes, the middle-aged white guy, who you may think has all the advantages, but over all the over thedes technological change and feels powerless to stop it, you have got to get in his head, too.
number three, you have to go through life with more than just passion for change. you need a strategy. i will repeat that. have passion for you have to have a strategy. not just awareness but action. not just hashtags but votes. [applause] you see, change requires more than [indiscernible] in requires a program and organizing. the 1964 democratic convention, maddie liv, five feet, four inches tall, gave a fiery speech on the national stage, but then she went back home to mississippi and organized cotton pickers.
she did not have the tools, technology or you can whip up a movement in minutes. she had to go door to door. proud of the new black civil rights leaders who understand this, and thanks in large part to the other people, like many of you, from black lives matter to twitter, that american eyes have been opened, white, black, democrat, republican. the real problems in our criminal justice system, for example. but to bring about structural change, lasting change, awareness is not enough. it requires changes in law. changes in customs. if you care about mass me ask you,n, let how are you pressuring members
of congress to pass the criminal justice reform bill now pending before them? [applause] if you care about better policing, do you know who your district attorney is? know who your state attorney general is? do you know the difference? do you know who appoints the police chief and who writes the police training manual? are, whatho they their responsibilities are, mobilize the community, present them with a plan, work with them to bring about change, hold them accountable if they do not deliver. , but you haveal to have a strategy. your plan better includes voting , not just some of the time but all of the time. [applause]
it is absolutely true that 50 years after the voting rights act, there are still too many barriers in this country to vote. there are too many people trying to erect new barriers to voting. this is the only democracy on wayh that goes out of its to make it difficult for people to vote. there is a reason for that. there is a legacy to that. let me say this, even if we dismantle every barrier to vote, that alone would not change the fact that america has some of the lowest voting rates in the free world. in 2014, only 36% of americans turned out to vote in the midterms. second lowest participation rate on record. youth turnout, that would be you, less than 20%. .ess than 20% four out of five did not vote.
2012, newly two and three americans, african-americans, turned out. in 2014, only two and five turned out. you do not think that made the difference in terms of the congress i have got to deal with? [laughter] and people wonder, how come obama has not gone this or that done? you do not think that made a difference? you would have happened if turned out at 50%, 60%, 70% all across this country? people try to make this political thing really complicated. of reforms doing need and how do we have to do that? you know what? just vote. [laughter] it is math. if you had more votes than the other guy, you get to do what you want. [laughter] [applause] it is not that complicated.
and you do not have excuses. you did not have to guess the number of jellybeans in the jar, bubbles on the bar of soap to register to vote. you do not have to risk your own like to cast a ballot. other people already did that for you. [applause] your grandparents, your great-grandparents. what is your excuse? when we do not votes, we give away our power, disenfranchise ourselves, right when we need to .se the power that we have right now we need your power to stop others from taking away the more in like of those vulnerable than you are, the elderly, the poor, the formally consecrated trying to earn their second chance. -- the formally incarcerated trying to earn their second chance. you have to vote all the time, not only when it is cool, time
to elect the president, when you are inspired, it is your duty. electing congress, city councilman, school board member, sheriff, it will help change our politics i electing people at every level who are representatives of and accountable to us. it is not that complicated. do not make it complicated. [applause] finally, change requires more than just speaking out. it requires listening as well. in particular, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree. and being prepared to compromise. senator, ia state illinois first racial
profiling law and one of the first laws in the nation requiring the videotaping of confessions in capital cases. because earlysful on i engaged [indiscernible] them, you guyso are so racist, you need to do something. [laughter] do,derstood, as many of you that the overwhelming majority of police officers are good, honest, courageous and fair and love the communities they serve, and we knew they were some bad apples, and that even good cops with the best of intentions, including, by the way, african-american police officers might have unconscious biases, so we engaged and listened, and we kept working
and to weep build consensus, and because we took the time to listen, we crafted legislation that was good for the police because it improved the trust and cooperation of the community, and it was good for the community who were less likely to be treated unfairly. unequivocallythis , without at least the acceptance of the police organization in illinois, i could never have gotten those .ills passed very simple. they would have blocked them. the point is you need allies in a democracy. that is just the way it is. it can be frustrating and it can be slow. that thery teaches us alternative to democracy is always worse. that is not just true in this
country. it is not a black or white thing. go to any country where the give and take of democracy has been repealed by one party rolls, and i will show you a country that does not work. democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100% right. this is hard to explain sometimes. rights be completely bri and you still have to engage folks who disagree with you. if you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral security, but you will not get what you want. if you do not get what you want long enough, he will eventually think the whole system is rigged. cynicism lead to more
ms participation -- and less participation and a downward spiral of more injustice, anger and despair. and that has never been a source of progress. that is how we cheat ourselves of progress. we remembered dr. king's soaring oratory. the power of his letter from a birmingham jail. , but he alsoled sat down with president johnson in the oval office to try to get the civil rights act of voting rights act passed, and those two bills were not perfect, just like the emancipation proclamation was a war document as much as it was some call for freedom, goes mile polls on our progress were not perfect, they do not make up for centuries of
slavery, jim crow, or illuminate racism or provide 40 acres and a mule, but they made things better. you know what? i will take better every time. i always tell my staff, better is good because you can consolidate your gains and then you move on to the next fight from a stronger position. britney packman, a member of the black lives matter movement in campaign 0, 1 of the ferguson protester organizers, she joined our task forces. some of her fellow activists questioned whether she should participate. she rolled a person leaves and sat at the same table with big-city police chiefs, prosecutors, and because she did, she ended up shaping many of the recommendations of that task force and those recommendations are now being adopted across the country. changes that many of the
.rotesters called for if young activists like britney had refused to participate out of substance of ideological purity, then those great ideas would have remained ideas. participate, and that is how change happens. big and boisterous. the president told me that we have got a significant nepalese and igent here at howard would not have guessed that. right on. you howust tells interconnected we are becoming, and we have so many folks from so many places converging. we are not always going to agree with each other.
another howard alumn, so neil hurston once said, nothing that god ever made is the same thing to one person. think about that. that is what our democracy gives us a process designed for us to settle our disputes with arguments, ideas and votes instead of violence and simple majority rule. out.t try to shut folks do not try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them. there has been a trend around the country trying to get colleges to this invite speakers with a different point of view or disrupt the politicians rally. do not do that.
mother how ridiculous or offensive you might find the things that come out of their mouths because as my grandmother used to tell me, every time a fool speaks, they are just advertising their own ignorance. let them talk. [laughter] let them talk. if you do not, you are just making them a victim and then they can avoid accountability. that does not mean you should challenge them. have the confidence to challenge .hem confidence in the rightness of your position. there will be times when you shouldn't compromise your core values, integrity, and you will have the responsibility to speak up in the face of injustice. .isten, engage if the other side has a point, learn from them. if they are wrong, teach them, beat them on the battlefield of ideas, and you might as well
start practicing now because one thing i can guarantee you, you will have to deal with ,gnorance, hatred, racism folks -- s, trifling [laughter] will have to you deal with all of that at every stage of your life. that may not seem fair, but life has never been completely fair. promises. if you want to make life fair, then you have to start with the world that it is. so that is my advice. that is how you change things. is not something that happens every four years, eight years, it is not placing your faith in any particular politician and then putting your
feet up and saying, ok, go. effort of people who hitched their wagons to something bigger than themselves and fight for it every single day. that is what they're marshall understood. a man who once walked this yard, graduated from howard law, went on to baltimore, started his own law practice. he and his mentor charles hamilton houston rolled up their sleeves and they said that to -- they setregation out to overturn segregation and they worked with the naacp. filed dozens of lawsuits, dozens of cases and after nearly 20 years of effort, 20 years, thurgood marshall ultimately succeeded in bringing his righteous calls before the supreme court and secured the ruling in brown versus board of education at separate could
never be equal. 20 years. houston, they knew it would not be easy. they knew it would not be quick. they knew all sorts of obstacles would stand in their way. they knew that even if they won, that would just be the beginning of a longer march to equality. but they had discipline. they had persistence. they had faith. and a sense of humor. and they made life better for all americans. i know you graduates sure those share those qualities. i know it because i have learned about some of the and people graduating here today. there is a young woman named sarah jefferson, and --
she grew up in detroit and was raised by a mom who worked seven days a week in an autoplant and they found themselves with a place -- without a place to call home. by senior year sierra was up at 00 a.m. every day juggling extracurricular activities and doing homework and juggling watching her little sister and this daughter of a single mom ho worked on the assembly line turned down a full scholarship to harvard to come to howard. [applause] and today like many of you, sierra is the first in her
family to graduate from college and then she says she is going to go back to her hometown like thurgood marshall did to make ure all those she grew up with have a way to get health care and people like sierra are why i remain optimistic about america. people like you. young people like you are why i never give into despair. once written was not everything faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced. graduates, each of us is only here because someone else faced down challenges for us. we are only who we are because someone else struggled and sacrificed for us. that's not just thur good
martial's story or sierra's story or your story or my story. that's story of america, a story whispered by slaves in the cotton fields, the songs of marches in salma, the dream of a king in the shadow of lincoln. the prayer of immigrants who set out for a new world, the roar of women set out to vote, the g.i.'s who fight overseas for our freedom. now, it's your turn. and the good news is, you're ready. and when your journey seems too hard and when you run into a chorus of cynics who tell you that you're being foolish to keep believing or that you can't do something or that you should just give up or that you should just settle, you should say to yourself a little phrase i found handy these past couple
of years. yes, we can. good luck class of 2016. god bless the united states. i'm proud of you. [applause] president obama giving the commencement address at howard university in washington, d.c. becoming the sixth sitting president to do so. this is one of several speeches the president is expecteded to give, the next will be at rutgers university in ngts. first lady michele obama recently spoke to the graduates of jackson university and she encouraged students to exercise their right to vote. you can see that address later here on ng at 8:40 c-span. >> recently our campaign 2016
universities and colleges. where stunchtse, professors and local professors heroined about our road to the white house. visitors were able to share their thoughtsability the upcoming election. we visited middle school to onor seven ninth graders and our special thanks to comcast and armstrong cable. you can view all the winning documentaries at student cam.org. >> both iraq and afghanistan i helped both countries with their scuthses being sort of the if a critical tear it of your ent on key issues, influence is considerable and heads of state very anxious to
meet with you when you ask for a meeting. >> sunday night on "q&a," former ambassador to iraq and afghanistan he discusses his mission as an envoy. >> we saw that extremists exploited, although we then corrected it to the end of the period that i was there by the surge and by reaching out to the sunnis and by building up iraqi forces and killing czar couey in the end to bringability security, violence was way down, but unfortunately when we left and the vacuum was filled by rival regional power it's pulling iraq apart, and we have iciss now. sunday on c-span's "q&a." >> next, voice of america
director amanda bennett talks about the network's future in her first public appearance after being sworn in. this was hostt by the leadership policy. it's 45 minutes. >> welcome to newcomers and also those watching online and watching on c-span television. my name is adam powell, i'm the resident of the public diplomacy county critical and director of washington programs for the u.f.c. center of commune -- >> there's a green light on. >> more about our partners on communication leaderships ufc.edu. hosted by -- our guest today is
amanda bennett, the new director of the voice of america and has a long journalistic career and biography of reversal of programs and has won two pulitzers and she said we do have to change. we must change, we need toe change in a big way. so change is coming. change is here. amanda bennett. [applause] >> thank you. is this now working? is everybodylering me now? that's terrific. o.k. ok thank oing to -- you very much adam and thank you everyone for coming here. i look out in the audience and i see all kinds of friends and colleagues are here. i so appreciate your coming,
and i can't thank all of you for being here so i'm going to whose out one person great history of america -- so i need to thank him right now. and then second, i'd like to acknowledge my predecessor, david, who has been as helpful and warm to me as any human being can be in helping prepare me for this big job. please everyone acknowledge david enniser who is now with the atlanta county critical. so as adam says, if you want to know my biography, just flip the page over and read it yourself. but i'd like to tell you a couple things you might not know. because i am of an age that i was part of a movement that cheap airfares and curiosity about the world sent all of us
out around the globe. in a migration that i don't think had ever happened before when it wasn't associated with the war. so as a result of this, in high school i was an exchange student in the philippines. when i graduated from college i worked as an au pair in paris taking care of children and bulldogs and spent time in canada and canada was then and is now way more of a foreign country than any of us acknowledge. later i was the second "wall street journal" correspondent in china at a time when the newly opened country was most definitely a foreign country. since then i've worked at five different media organizations and have had the really, really good luck to be there when all of them were at their peak journalistic power and reach and all known for their
seriousness and integrity of principles. so for all this, i am way, way more of a journalist than a diplomat. as a matter of fact, i'm going to say i'm all journalist and no diplomat. many of you in this room who have followed voice of america, led voice of america, worked for or with voice of america are way more expert than i am at the diplomatic purpose of voice of america. but i'm here to say to you that i think that we are very much more alike than we are different. and that great journalism is in fact great public diplomacy. so let me remind you briefly what's happened recently and the changes that have already come to voice of america. under the leadership of c.e.o. john lansing who is the c.e.o.
of the -- of which eoa is the largest part, we shifted to five strategic focuses. one is that we will target our resources towards five geographic areas that are vital to u.s. policy. china, russia, iran, cuba and violent extremism wherever you find it in the globe. a dramatic shift to digital shorblee media and impact and holiday ourselves for success. and enhance strategic success across the five networks that make up the broadcast board and cure rate, alternatively con ten. so not only do i completely agree with these goals, i also believe that these issues reflect in large measure the challenges that are felt by news organizations all around the world and are also being felt inside voice of america.
so cure rating. competition once ruled journalism because multimedia operations were competing for an audience to distinguish themselves with scoops yet for more than a decade news organizations have all realized they must share resources in order to succeed. partnerships proliferate. non-profit organizations partner with for profit organizations radios partner with newspapers and all digital organizations partner with print and tv and as we see with the panama papers, the creation of a multiplatform and multicountry coalition that bound itself into a virtual investigation team so it only makes sense that in this environment that we do our best
and bend other backwards that we partner with radio free asia, radio free is a with a and the office of cuban broadcasting. as for impact, what had journalism been about in the last 40 or 50 years? ever since watergate all media organizations and all journalists have striven to have an impact domestically to protect your children and eliminate abuse. to expose corruption and inequities and internationally to work to explain and root out terrorism. again cried, human suffering wherever you find it. so in the area of digital just this morning i had the great pleasure of announcing that we will have our first deputy director voice of america in more than two decades. sandy skoug waro has just
voice of america and comes to us from a robust digital and -- media background. she was critical to the digital first organization of the "washington post" re-organizing the entire news operation to support that goal and it drove a new startup based on social sharing, she was the managingedor that learned to use all platforms to combine all content in order to reach different audiences and her aim will be to help accelerate our new move to 307ler and emerging technologies and to eengage as many people around the world as possible. especially in places where there is no free press. we need to meet our audiences where they are. now, i've placed -- saved the biggest issue for last, which is actually being the voice of
america. most american news organizations are already covering america. telling america's story they just don't realize that's what they are doing. we need to cover foreign policy, of course. ut we also need to cover america. we need to cover america for the benefit of the people around the world we are trying to reach. and to do that, we need to use the amazing resources we have. most of them inside the cohen building down the street to create unique, interesting news and to speak to the vital interests of the people we are trying to serve. what does that mean? it doesn't surprise me at all that one of the most popular features of our russian as far as is a video dictionary of american political terms.
little videos saying what's a soccer mom? what happens when you filibuster? what does canvassing mean? and what about the bible belt? and one of the most popular stories coming out of the russian service was a little feature on a 90-year-old california woman who was delivering groceries to her neighbors which within minutes of it being posted drew 900 shares and comments, being, i wish we had that in our country. i love seeing pictures of a normal american society. how about other topics which are of great interest to people we are trying to target? well, i don't know if it will surprise you that it surprised me that iran is crazy for entrepreneurialism so we need to create a robust coverage of entrepreneurialism which is the hallmark of our society.
so cover silicon valley and help connect the ideas that come out of silicon valley with the young entrepreneurs of iran. are stories that will appeal to people who aspire to have the kinds of star startups and other things coming out of silicon valley. how about american business? i don't think it's any accident when you think about what china is like now that -- to realize that a rock star in china is warren buffett. so we need to beef up our coverage of american business and accidentally american philanthropy which is probably the most robust of any in the world, and rightability these topics that are of interest around the world. we need to build up exciting,
unique content that speaks about our assets in the yithes in ways that our audiences want to hear and can relate to. like education. from the wealthiest high official's child to the child of the poorest nigerian or rope wanden or yoo demanden or tans anyian. every parent of those children realizes that education is the key to better their lives. we need to put our heads together to figure out ways to cover american education in ways that will speak to these hopes and desires. they need medicine. people may fly to other countries to figure out treatment, because they come to us when they want us to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones. other issues like zika and
ebola literally does save lives, and expanding that coverage to the coverage of medical advances and cost and availability of drugs are the best ways to keep our families healthy. it will help translate the things that are wonderful about this country to our audiences. n africa, in aceya, in afghanistan, there is a huge hunger for news and information about women. about their education. about their business success. about their striving for independence. about the things that lead to their development and growth in the world economy, and the forces that are holding them back. we need to devote our resources and our thinking to helping to explain and encourage that movement and that information and that knowledge. so we need to cover everything
about america. we need to cover the good and the bad. as william harlan hail said in february of 1942, just days after the beginning of our entry into world war ii. he said in the first broadcast as you all know, the news may be good. the news may be bad. e will tell you the truth. we'll cover the country honestly and fairly. its troubles and shortcomings. but it won't be a fair picture unless we cover all the other things about america as well. its people, it's energy for change if it's well or resistance to change. its generosity as well as its greed. its hope equally with its despair. the justice for society as well
as failures to achieve it. there's a wealth of passion and commitment inside the cohen building and among our brave and dedicated correspondents around the world who face danger every day to bring us the news of their struggles, i believe we can show the world the amazing things we can do, and in doing that, we can 2r50u8 be the voice of america. thank you. [applause] ly now subject myself to questions. [laughter] >> please wait for the microphone and identify yourself. >> i thank you very much for an excellent presentation. my name is greta morris, and i'm a retired foreign service public diplomacy officer, and i
thank you especially for talking about the various issues and subjects that the voice of america is covering. i wonder if you could talk a just a little bit about the media. because obviously, the meetya of voice of america has changed c.o.o. nce 19942 with tele -- if you could comment about that and the truth is about which kind of media to use. >> i first need to make an unpaid political announcement which is adam's deep persuasion brought me here at the end of my second week in the office. [laughter] and i want to say that i'm here, i'm happy. but it's really not fair. [laughter] but actually you know, coming into the voice of america 345ed me realize how much the struggles inside the voice of america mirror the struggles of news organizations around the
world. there actually is very little that's unique about this. the process of moving from one technology to another, because you have the exact same issues of trying to protect your legacy means of tradition and at the same time move as quickly as i can. and it's often a very expensive balancing act because you cannot say this people because they are moving in this way, we are going to there away this kind. this is a subject that all media has grappled with over the last two decades and i don't think it's going to get any easier because what we are finding is just as soon as we get up and found technology, a week later technology has moved so i think we need to figure out how best to reach our audiences with news and information where they want it, how they want it and in the
platform. that plans becoming much measure nimble and atuned as to the way our audience scusmse media. -- consumes media. >> hi, i used to work at npr and still work there occasionally as a commentator. >> welcome colleague. >> i have others here to too. my question is you talk a lot about news information and mention nothingability culture or music or comedy or any of the other things which commrblely sort of are the voice of america worldwide and are very, very powerful. and also there's a lot of success in the record of voice of america in doing -- have you any plans for that not only kul k4ur8 coverage but for transmitting cultural expression? >> i have to say that i completely acknowledge and know
part of the voice of america is culture and i think i have some ideas in the back of my head and i think there's some interesting stuffer going on out there that i think would be of great use to voice of america. i don't want to talk about these because a lot of them require negotiations but it's about bringing parts of the world that have never seen them before but yes, you're absolutely right. it's not my forte but i certainly recognize it's part of extreme portions of america. this woman was next and then you sir. >> the mike's back here toe though. [laughter] >> my apologies. >> this woman here comes after you, so we have got to get the microphone up front. >> i spent most of my careers reporting for "the new york times." n the way over, i ran into a
nunn, white nunn african-american citizen. >> i apologize. aim having trouble hearing that. i am not getting what you're saying. >> on the way over, can you hear now? one, two, three, four. >> ok. i'll try. non-white, a non-white african-american citizen and when i told them where i was coming, he asked what -- i've heard of voice of america. what do they do? what is it? is there any way that you can explain to americans what voice of america is, what it discuss and introduce them to the average american who has never heard of voice of america? >> and i'll answer that in two ways. one is as those of you with the
deep knowledge of the voice of america know part of historical roots of voice of america coming right about the time of world war ii, there was a prohibition of broadcasting voice of america into the nation because you didn't want the create a competitor to what was a broadcast organization. i think given the pervasiveness of social media it's almost impossible and certainly irrelevant to block that con trnt from the united states. that's competing and one way of avensing it. the second is i was considering this job from about christmastime until when i took the job two weeks ago, and i was paying a great deal of attention to what was broadcast, what was written, what was on the website and on the app and listening to things as i went for walks and it
wasn't until i got inside the building that i realized how much awesome stuff is being produced inside there. it's, for some reason, not getting out in ways that we can easily consume and appreciate. so making people around the world more aware in different ways of what the terrific content is being produced i think is going to be one of our biggest challenges. because it's -- there's almost more stuff going on out there than you can squeeze boo a single-a pp or web app. so i think we need to figure out how to use our content over and over and over again and in fact i don't know if this has ever been done or whether he will ever actually do it. but you know that video presentation of the american political terms that was done
for the russian service? i thought it would be really awesome to subtitle it in english and say here's what the russians have to tell us about what our political system means. why not? why not take our content that we are producing and use it in as many different ways as we possibly can? i think there's a big job to be done there because there's way more interesting stuff going on at voice of america than i realize. now this -- there you go. >> with the heritage foundation. and i was struck and very much appreciated the third point you ade in your presentation about the mission of voice of america which is to talk about america. to cover stories within the united states. all different kinds. but i was born in another
country. i came here as an immigrant, because i found it a fantastic place to live and raise a family. and as i'm glad to hear you wanting to cover those positive aspects of this great country, as well as the negative ones that are easily covered by anyone who opens a newspaper. bad news is always easy to find. find. do you expect to find any controversy within voice of america for those stories that show the whole picture? journalists, by nature, gravitate to bad news and we june not want to be seen as propagandists send anyway. >> i would like to emphasize i am not talking about writing positive stories. i am talking about writing interesting and important
stories. i cover the american automobile industry. when the sales were going up, we would write about why. eatinge japanese were their lunch, we wrote about why. it was a beat. we were covering a beat. ended up being good, some of them and that being bad. there were simply stories. why were factories closing. what was going on. think thinking about the united states of america as the most interesting, most vital beat you could possibly focus on -- i am not saying go out and cover positive stories. i am saying cover all of the stories. do not transcribe news you are hearing. news. and make
go out and make news of events we do not know about. that is the way i would explain it. now this gentleman. mike anderson, retired foreign service officer. we know the american commercial media have had to result -- reduce their overseas presence. they have cut back their burrows around the world. as the same trend happened to d.o.a. and could you talk about where you have correspondence and do you have enough of them and just thoughts on the need for americans to be overseas reporting directly from respective countries? >> if eugene not mind, i will get away from the issue of budget and resources and what we need except if you ask a morealist, do we need
resources, the answer probably is not going to be no. but ict depth things being a opportunity. one is the necessary reduction overseas assets -- indeed pretty much all american and western european news operations around the world, and also the pouring in similar asset by those we might consider our target audiences. i think those two things together mean if we use our resources wisely and well, which i believe we are, can, and should be doing, we can use every single piece of an asset and use it to our great advantage. i am afraid that is not as precise an answer as you would like, but come to me again in six months. microphone?
.> gwen dillard i am the retired head of the -- division. director bennett: oh, i am so glad to meet you. >> nice to meet you. i'm sure it's too early to answer this, but do have a sense of how much voa's worldwide audience has access exclusively to digital devices and can you talk about the phrase "digital first" in this coverage? director bennett: i cannot give you a precise answer. i know that something is being touted in our services around the building and needs to be counted much more robustly because it is something we need to know. i think you can safely say if you look at the projections of the way people will be news,ing, not only information, commerce, conversations around the world, it is going to skip over all of
these intermediate steps and go to digital. largely, probably digital on future phones, smartphones, because that is the inexpensive way it will be spreading throughout the less developed world. it is the thing we have to be, i think, absolutely thinking about as we go to our readers, listeners -- what is a good word? just audience, right? yes, where our audiences. in terms of precise percentages, i think it very substantially by exactly where you are, and that is part of the challenge. and then you next. this gentleman. >> thank you. brian carlson, retired foreign service as well. i've often wondered -- let me put it this way. this morning i heard a cbs radio report on an event in bangladesh
and the report was done by their bureau chief in london. if i have my geography right, that's kind of like asking someone in alaska to talk about an event in richmond. [laughter] think -- is there room for more cooperation? now you're on the government side, but you used to be on the private industry and media side. is there a need for more collaboration with american media and voice of america correspondence and vice versa? did you pick up really good stuff from the post, los angeles times or something, and can american institutions use a voa correspondence the way you hear it in pr picking up things from "the guardian" and whatever? director bennett: i think that is what i meant. we struggled to distinguish ourselves with breaking and scoops and you did
not want to talk to your competitors. you see that far, far less. i think there is an opportunity for us to do this. i do not see a time where you want to have five or six different new services giving you the exact same pictures of the exact same event. isidea for voice of america tell me how you're going to do it better, and doing a much more nicely crafted first paragraph. it means tell me what your value added is going to be. it means what are you going to give to the audience that reflects the richness of our knowledge of our global audience. if we can do that, we should go first. if we can't do that, why waste your time? why waste your time doing something anybody else can do? there are such things as so-called commodity news. the basic, simple news being
produced by our services -- these are not commodity news. there is nobody else doing this. that we ought to be doing in a very robust fashion. where there are five or six different sources and they are pretty much the same, i think we should use our intelligence, our expertise, our deep knowledge of the countries we are involved in and do really amazing work. that would be my view. i'm joe johnson, an instructor at the foreign services institute. question -- my question is about collaboration. i have noticed very valuable reports in the washington post, , about integrity another ngo's. i wonder if you have heard of any other ventures voa would undertake with outside organizations, other nonprofits that have an educational, research, some related purpose
to journalists? would callnnett: you the center for public integrity and ngo. awould think of it as journalistic organization. it falls under the umbrella of this gentleman's question. what i wouldbout like voice of america to do, i am simply reflecting back what everybody else is doing. this is not something i am discovering. execution is going to be everything. not -- i can't overpromise. i'm just telling you, what is the media landscape i see and where do i see everyone else going? in some ways we can benefit from being able to piggyback onto everyone else's pain and suffering, so we do not have to go through as much ourselves. i went through enough pain and suffering in my previous job.
[laughter] in serve --red for foreign service operator and i have the privilege of working for several years with voice of america. when you talk about seeing the that haveoverage large, potential audiences abroad, entrepreneurship, one other area is learning english, and some of the most popular theramming has been learning english divisions or sections, the learning english programs. you mentioned the russian service, the mandarin service. just another area for continued support, i hope. themore broadly, voa and question of english as part of the away has gone back and forth in a very drastic fashion over the last 20 years or so. how do you see english fitting
into the voice of america? should be the role of voa in an english-language context? director bennett: you added a little qualifier down there. english-language content. i think of it a little more broadly. if you are going to cover the united states you are probably going to do it in english. there is probably not a way you can cover the away directly. english-language has value going out to the rest of the world because a fair number of the rest of the world does, in fact, speaking wish. that's good. but i see it more if we could extenuate its value by partnering in greater extent , to our language services know what their audience wants and demands and getting the ability of the english-language service to report and develop be 's, be subject to beats. i see this all converging on
some subjects. i see this as an incredibly useful partnership. guys have a lot of questions. crowd.s the former npr [laughter] npr.ff rosenberg, nprof my jobs as head of worldwide, which is the international histories inside -- david can tell you, it does not come to the attention of the government unless it is occasionally has some friction with the government. fortunately that has not happened in quite a wild. bring to minddoes the question i thought i heard earlier on. i thought i heard the word
commissioning. did i not hear that? notctor bennett: commissions in a -- commission as in causing things to happen. in having someone make something for you? director bennett: yes. >> good. the point being there, i was very pleased to hear that slide by, because the experience, particularly with the bbc's to mystic product in -- domestic product in television and radio, them byturned out for very, very talented people. there are any number of radio programs on radio three and four nd two in the u.k. and then in the united states in the last 10 years, there has been an explosion in the output of independently produced audio material.
i think everybody is familiar with the occasional podcast that goes viral. and there is really a tremendous amount of talent out there. there are things that have been created for the domestic audience or an internet audience that might be of appeal, or there are people and/or organizations that could be turning out the cultural side. given that they are not going to create a great many new staff building,inside the would it make sense to him a in your mind, developing more active commissioning desk -- editors and people to work that side, and of course that would apply to language programming as well -- would you see that as a possibility? director bennett: yes.
>> i apologize, too, for what we call a german question. [laughter] ken muskak of its -- wits, also retired foreign service. apart from american culture or itself,he content reality check is pretentious, but i of done this. you go around the country and you listen to the radio. most of it is music. most of it is pop or a people do music.ten to npr-type an attractive radio program is a mix of music with a newscast, which could be a be a vehicle for voa to get to these audiences. there is annett: wealth of expertise out here in the audience i am definitely pleased to listen to.
you are giving us useful feedback. with voaexperience was in nigeria. they set their clocks by the newscast. director bennett: seriously. >> it just struck me -- there is both the resources invested and then the impact those resources have, and i hope as those decisions get made, even in regions that are perhaps less arelated -- although they approaching 100 million now -- a thought is given to impact and not duplication. director bennett: let me pause here for another unpaid political announcement, which is this is aspirational. this is directional. i do not want anybody to mistake
this. be easy.ot going to ifn through similar things at have news service is -- i been through similar things that other new services. story tradition, dedicated workforces, plenty of his. it was not easy there. it's not going to be easy here. i am reading david's mind over there. he is thinking, yeah, right. good luck with that, he is thinking. i know what he is thinking. i am hoping he understands the old saying, no plan survives the first battle -- we are going to have a lot of that. this is aspirational and directional. it's going to require a lot of help, a lot of patience, a lot of forbearance, a lot of good will. it's not going to happen overnight. >> lynn wiles, former capitol
hill hill staffer, back on the hill now. there is a lot of expertise in this room and there's a lot of goodwill as well. ahope you will consider this community that you can call on. have beenolks here through, in various positions what you are going through now. you have your international broadcasting. now that i am back in congress, i can tell you the atmosphere on the hill is not going to get any easier. changes, look to make i would advise you to speak to the members of congress who represent who you -- you work for you. not just the ones involved with foreign policy. director bennett: thank you. that is excellent advice.
how many more have you got? two? >> i want to second what she said. there's a lot of great people out there. the voa as the brightest people in the world. the ones who work on the overnight shift should really be lauded. it's really difficult. i just want to ask if we can make a legal push soviet way can be chartered? -- so voa changing can be chartered? what about changing the charter? and good luck. director bennett: think you very much. thank you. i except every ounce of goodwill sent my way and i'm sure i will have to use every ounce of it. thank you. one more? anybody? >> i guess i am the last people. -- the last person. david henderson, former cbs news.
kid over in radio as a at arlington, virginia doing a saturday program on the voa. about 100 years ago. [laughter] love your use of the word quat operation. i would also say collaboration. -- the word cooperation. i would also say collaboration. you have within voa wonderful organizations like radio free europe, outstanding people. is there any economy of scale to use some of the resources with voa? director bennett: absolutely. i am looking of your shoulder one of my new colleagues and that's exactly one of the things we have been talking about doing -- had we make the best use of the resources we have and not have to overlap? thank you. >> one more person. i cannot resist putting him on
the spot. david -- [laughter] >> what advice would you have for your successor? director bennett: be merciful. amanda's day. i am so thrilled. icannot tell you how thrilled am to have someone out these stature of amanda bennett. it is a complement to voice of america you're taking the job. it as used, it's not going to be sense of boy, the mission that people have that work for you -- i don't know whether to in vu are envy you. i'm not sure. you havenderful job taken on. i think with john lansing as ceo , you're going to have an easier time than i did. director bennett: i'm going to have a much easier time than you did. >> you will be able to focus on the mission rather than the
politics. i wish you well, amanda. you,tor bennett: thank david. he has been the greatest supporter. i totally appreciate the work you have done to help me. >> please join me in thanking -- [applause] >> our next first monday, monday 10 six with the head of the british council paul smith. until then we are adjourned. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> this weekend, the c-span cities tour takes you to san bernardino, california to
explore the literary history and inture of the city located east los angeles. 14 people were killed and 22 people were injured in a terrorist attack of the inland regional center in san bernardino. we spoke with congressman peter you are about the attack. his district includes the inland center. >> when we talk about terrorism and the fight against terror, it's not abstract anymore. it across this country means something. because this is a big city here in san bernardino. with sanl also speak city councilman john about a permanent memorial to the victims of the attack. >> it highlights their lives and what they contributed to our local community, and certainly
it will always be a near and , a place ofor us consolation and serenity. we are thinking a serenity garden, a place of prayer. >> on book tv we will learn about wyatt earp. 'ss book talks about the earp san's connection to bernardino county. >> wyatt earp's father, the most well-known of the earps, nicholas earp, basically he left his family temporarily. he heard about the gold rush in northern california. he came back to the midwest. he is out of one day he would come back.
-- he vowed that one day he would come back. >> we will visit the history and railroad museum and talk about the importance of the railroad with the san bernardino historical society vice president. -- and includes many objects related to their history. >> it replaced a wooden structure that is approximately 100 yards east of here. why it was built larger than decided to house the division headquarters and this location at that time. >> watch the c-span cities tour throughout the day on book tv and on c-span3. tour, workingies with our affiliates in visiting cities across the country. >> afghanistan's former interior
minister was part of a discussion on current challenges facing the afghan government and what can be done to strengthen unity and the rule of law. from the middle east institute, this is an hour and a half. >> good afternoon, everybody. mark scheland. i'm the director of programs and government relations at the middle east institute. i am pleased to welcome you all to today's discussion under the title political and security crises in afghanistan. we are gratified by the turnout and media interest today. thank you for being here. if you see empty seats to either side of you, please feel free to move in away from the aisles. we always have late arrivals and we would like to accommodate everybody.
there are quite a few open here to my right. this is an event in the middle east institute's lewis r. hughes lecture series. we are grateful to mr. hughes for his generous support of our programming on policy issues in afghanistan. the issue today, you'll be hearing about the sustainability and legitimacy of afghanistan's national unity government, an issue very much in the news and has powerful implications for the future of u.s. and coalition military engagement. before i introduce our moderator, i want to urge you all to take a look at the website right after this event is over and register for a discussion tomorrow that mei is cosponsoring with the conflict management program. a professor will speak on his
new book "arab spring." analysts the joining him will be ellen lakes and -- leipsen. that is tomorrow, tuesday, may 3 from 4:30 until 6:00 p.m. now it is my pleasure to introduce the moderator of today's panel. weinbaum is a distinguished scholar whose experience includes fulbright research fellowships in egypt and afghanistan. he directed a program in south asia and and middle eastern studies at the university of illinois for 15 years, has worked in the department of state, and is a prolific author of articles and book chapter.
-- chapters. marvin saw the importance for u.s. interest in addressing our topic today and has recruited a panel of remarkable and diverse expertise to do so. marvin will introduce the panelists and leave the -- lead the conversation with them and with you, taking the questions over the coming 90 minutes or so. ladies and gentlemen, thank you again very much for coming in today. marvin, the floor is yours. marvin: thank you. we have a good deal of media coverage today so i ask you to please turn off your cell phones. thank you. it is a pleasure that -- to see that we have interest but why we be surprised? because what is happening in afghanistan today leads so many of us to say "is this a period of crisis?"
those of us who have been following afghanistan, we regularly say we are entering some kind of period of some decisive developments that will determine the future of the government and the state. but i think we would all agree that very recently, there have been a number of developments which seem, in this year, to have created circumstances which lead us to believe that somehow, we have reason to worry more about afghanistan, about its government, and issues of security. the economy, and, of course, we want to address all of those today. i am sure we will have an opportunity. our format is not going to be a series of speakers, but rather
that i will pose a series of questions. we will therefore be encouraging among our panelists discussion. and we have a superb panel to do just that. to my right, scott smith, who most of you know for his time heading the afghanistan program at the u.s. institute of peace. he has now left us for the u.n., returned to the u.n., where he is involved in mediation efforts. very befitting his skills. to his right is omar samad, who is also well known here, as well as in afghanistan. he is recently returned from afghanistan after having been named a designate ambassador in belgium. he has chosen, however, to join us and we are pleased, here, omar has been ambassador to france, canada, and most
recently has been a close advisor to dr. abdullah. michael kugelman, to his right, is another familiar face -- they all are -- here in washington. with the south asia program at the the wilson center. he has organized so many panels. and as you know from his own moderating of panels, how well he is able to address afghanistan and pakistan and south asia in general. finally, ali jalali. ali has been, in the past, a long past with afghanistan, which includes military service
and was, really in the karzai administration, minister of the interior but is currently a distinguished professor at the national defense university here in washington. ali is a very serious player in afghanistan. he is more than simply an observer. he is someone who participates actively in the affairs of afghanistan. i do not know that we could have a panel, honestly, about afghanistan today without having ali jalali join us. with that, as an introduction, let me start. that is to say, gentlemen, what makes this year different?
what is now being posed by coming events, previous events, that suggest that we ought to be paying greater attention then perhaps we have over the next few months? who would like to start us off? jalali: thank you. good to be here again. to share the panel with old friends. in any country, anyplace, you have to look at the context first. context, political concepts, it in afghanistan have changed. ok. ok. can you hear me now or should i project?
there are a number of factors in -- that shape the situation in afghanistan. first, the international forces left afghanistan at the end of 2015. that was the end of combat mission by international forces. second, afghanistan has to deal with the security by its own capacity and forces, which are still in transition. although the country has a sizable army and police force, but it was developed as interdependent on international forces financially and in operation. that dependence is still there. that is why you have capability gaps in the national security forces of afghanistan. there will be a need for
assistance from outside. third, the taliban and other insurgents and terrorists are using or trying to exploit the situation of the departure of international forces from afghanistan. assuming that they can do better with the afghanistan national security forces. third is economy. the economy of afghanistan was dependent on international presence, to some extent. years ago, the service sector of the afghanistan economy was 50%. by the departure of international forces and contractors and others, that market, the service market, contracted. at the same time, it caused
unemployment and also a deduction of state revenue. finally, in the region, some countries believe that with the torture of international forces, they can influence afghanistan to get a better deal -- with the departure of international forces, they can influence afghanistan to get a better deal. if there is a political settlement in afghanistan. therefore, the impact the factors that shaped the situation in afghanistan has global, regional, and domestic dimensions. that is what afghanistan is dealing with. samad: in order of age, if you want to look at it that way -- thank you, marvin, for the invitation. i think that minister jalali's assessment is correct.
i want to look at it from another angle, which is today is shaped by what we have seen the last 15 years, especially by the transition of 2014, which was an extremely difficult and challenging transition on different levels, political, security, and economic. there is a fourth level people do not talk about often. that is psychological, which we did not manage well, both afghans and internationals. 2015 was expected to be the year
of some level of positive change on all these different accounts. 2015, to the dismay of many of us and to the surprise of some, it turned out to be a difficult year. for the afghan people, to begin with, the afghan forces, national security forces. for the newly formed national unity government in kabul. for the economy that schrock and the bubbles that burst after so many years of keeping the economy afloat. we realized it was artificial. finally, the regional context has been shifting. we hope for some real change and real strategic shift, especially with regards to pakistan. for a while, we bought a new
government in kabul, new leadership might crack in the -- crack the nut. it did not. we are seeing there is so much more that needs to be done and it is not that simple and easy. the expectation that developed over 2014 and before that -- and i am not going to dwell, at this stage, how mr. karzai handle this transition and what he left behind for the rest of us -- but this transition obviously has not resulted in what most of us expected. some of us saw some of the fault lines and tried our best to convey that and express that and tried to find ways to mend them and correct the course. some of us were too optimistic. some of us heightened expectations of the very beginning for unnecessary reasons and are paying the political price for that today. all of these things are going on at the same time over a very
short period of time, given a government's lifespan. today, we are talking about how fragile is this government, how fragile is afghanistan, what will happen next, should we talk about alternatives, should we talk about plan b's, c's, and so forth? we can discuss -- this is, in a nutshell, how i see things shaping up. mr. smith: omar is right to i do not know that afghanistan, in 2016, is it more fragile than in 2015 or even 2014. what has changed -- and relevant from where we sit in washington -- is we have come to the end of our wishful thinking. what we learned in 2014 and 2015