Tomorrow afternoon at 3:00pm EST, Special Envoy Scott Gration and Samantha Power, NSC Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs, are going to sit down at the White House with the leaders of the largest, most vocal advocacy groups on Darfur issue, Jerry Fowler of Save Darfur, and Layla Amjadi, the student director of STAND (the student-led division of the Genocide Intervention Network). Ho-hum, you might say, yet another behind-the-scenes meeting between administration officials and NGOs, what's new about that?
Well, two things. First, the meeting is going to be streamed live onto the web on not only the White House and State Department websites (in the latter case on their Facebook page, where viewers can comment along in real-time), but also on the Save Darfur and STAND's sites. So the conversation is hardly going to be behind-the-scenes. And second, since last week both groups have been canvassing their memberships to submit and/or select questions to ask Gration and Power since last week when Gration announced the event on the State Department's blog. He wrote:
I've been impressed and excited with how the administration is offering new methods (and a higher frequency) of public engagement. I think it began with the online town halls the president did last Spring, but it seems now that rarely a week goes by without some sort of live chat from a major executive branch office.
I don't think I can make the Darfur chat, but I hope many of you can. Active citizenship, yall.