Google, AT&T, Automattic and Twitter Executives Visit Iraq

| Apr 21, 2009 | comment 6 Comments

Executives from Google Inc, AT&T Inc, Twitter and other high tech companies are visiting Iraq this week in a trip organised by the US State Department.

The department, which helped arrange the April 19-23 trip, said the executives would offer ideas on how new technologies could help foster transparency, strengthen civil society and generally empower people and local groups by providing the tools for network building.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said: ”As Iraqis think about how to integrate new technology as a tool for smart power, we view this as an opportunity to invite the American technology industry to be part of this creative genesis.”

Other companies represented on the trip are Howcast, a website that offers how-to videos; Meetup, a website that helps people organize, or join, local communities; the video-sharing You Tube website; Automattic/Wordpress, which makes blogging software; and Blue State Digital, which provides tools for online fundraising, advocacy and social networking.

Officials wouldn’t name the nine executives taking the trip, but they are apparently all pretty senior. They will meet representatives from the government, education authorities, techolology organisations and other groups.

[Sources: Reuters, TG Daily]
[Via: Spot On PR

  • http://www.hiconomics.com Hichame Assi

    Hmm… not sure what to read into this…

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for technology advocates (especially those based on 'open' models)… showing the world how it could be a better place with efficient use of Web2.0, Cloud Computing and a number of other ways.

    But why Iraq? There are many other countries in the Middle East and around the world that are ripe for this sort of involvement and would be able to take immediate action and truly benefit from the solutions being show-cased and presented. No disrespect at all to my Iraqi brothers, but surely there are more fundamental aspects of Iraqi life and infrastructure that need to be resolved first?

    Does anyone else think this is just as another way for US companies to get local contracts? or am I reading too much into it.

    Is this likely to make any difference whatsoever to the lives of the Iraqi people…?

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    I totally get your point Hichame.

    This I think is really more of a PR thing, where the US state department wants to put a positive light on things, showing that things in Iraq are good and stable now, and that it's open for business, and that they're helping with all that, and leading technology companies are going in to help too.

    On the other hand, of course they want US companies to be in there first to grab any opportunities available for them. But other than AT&T and maybe Google, I don't really see the other companies benefiting that much of it now.

    I honestly don't think it will make much of a difference for the lives of the Iraqi people; but I certainly hope to be proven wrong.

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  • http://www.hiconomics.com Hiconomics

    Hmm… not sure what to read into this…

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for technology advocates (especially those based on 'open' models)… showing the world how it could be a better place with efficient use of Web2.0, Cloud Computing and a number of other ways.

    But why Iraq? There are many other countries in the Middle East and around the world that are ripe for this sort of involvement and would be able to take immediate action and truly benefit from the solutions being show-cased and presented. No disrespect at all to my Iraqi brothers, but surely there are more fundamental aspects of Iraqi life and infrastructure that need to be resolved first?

    Does anyone else think this is just as another way for US companies to get local contracts? or am I reading too much into it.

    Is this likely to make any difference whatsoever to the lives of the Iraqi people…?

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    I totally get your point Hichame.

    This I think is really more of a PR thing, where the US state department wants to put a positive light on things, showing that things in Iraq are good and stable now, and that it's open for business, and that they're helping with all that, and leading technology companies are going in to help too.

    On the other hand, of course they want US companies to be in there first to grab any opportunities available for them. But other than AT&T and maybe Google, I don't really see the other companies benefiting that much of it now.

    I honestly don't think it will make much of a difference for the lives of the Iraqi people; but I certainly hope to be proven wrong.

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