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February 10, 2021

Social Driver Leads Virtual Session for Global Journalists

Social Driver was selected to provide a session focused on "Maximizing the Power of Social Media" for delegates of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) on February 2.

Leading journalists and media professionals from the Near East and North Africa were selected by diplomats at U.S. missions abroad to participate in the program, "Social Media Creativity Connecting Communities." They set out to learn from best practices in the U.S. through this virtual exchange, which was organized by Meridian International and in partnership with Global Ties U.S. The participants' objectives included examining the principles of the First Amendment and the delicate balance in protecting free speech on social media; discussing the transition of traditional media in the digital age through the adoption of online content and use of social media as a platform to engage, entertain, and inform; and observing the operations of digital media companies and those creating industry-advancing technology.

“Meridian has as 20-year track record of international journalism programs, and we are constantly looking for the most innovative partners to collaborate with as we enter a new information and digital media landscape,” said Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Meridian CEO. “We are excited to partner on this program with an industry leader like Social Driver, which offers creative solutions and technologies to meet the diverse needs of our program participants whose professional backgrounds span the media landscape – from TV news and radio to podcasts and street theater.”

Brittany Abdool, Social Driver's vice president of digital and social media, led a session that focused on the Three Dimensions of Digital Strategy. She shared how sophisticated brands connect with people through the people-centered strategies of attention, intention, and mention marketing, and showcased Social Driver's cutting-edge work with leading corporations and nonprofits.

"The world of media is less top-down, and more bottom-up, than ever before," said Abdool. "It was thrilling to share more about our approach and why leading corporations trust Social Driver to help them navigate today's digital landscape. But I also learned so much from the experience of these journalists from Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait and Egypt about what they are seeing back home."

Social Driver has participated in multiple State Department programs over the years. "Our company was founded on the mantra that the future is bright, all progress is social, and the driver's make history," said Social Driver's co-founder and chief strategy officer Anthony Shop. "We were honored to meet with journalists from the Arab world who want to learn about the First Amendment and how we can leverage the power of social media to create a better world, and we are humbled that the State Department continues to select us to lead these programs."

“Social Driver’s co-founder Anthony Shop shares a personal connection to the IVLP, with which he served as a young volunteer hosting international delegations in Kansas City and as a member of the Global Ties Advisory Council,” said Henry Collins, Acting Director of IVLP for the Meridian Center for Global Leadership and recent Global Ties board member. “We knew Anthony’s passion for people-to-people exchanges and his deep understanding of the mission of the IVLP would further enhance this exchange and create an unforgettable experience for the visitors.”

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term exchanges with interlocutors in the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields develop lasting relationships with their American counterparts. Meetings reflect the participants’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States. IVLP participants are nominated and selected by diplomats at U.S. missions abroad.

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