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The All New TED@State

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, June 3 2009

Like dogs and cats living together, my friends. Like dogs and cats living together. The State Department has announced that it will be importing a bit of West Coast thinking to Washington DC, hosting a two-hour session of TED talks right there in Foggy Bottom at 2:30pm ET today. The State Department, which has appeared eager to innovate since the start of the Obama Administration, says this afternoon's session marks the first government-sponsored TED talks in the history of the republic. Officially, today's event -- featuring the likes of Hans Rosling, Stewart Brand, Clay Shirky, and other big thinkers -- is being hosted by the State Department's Global Partnership Center, which is the wing of the department responsible for forging public-private partnerships. From the State Department press release announcing what it's calling "TED@State":

On June 3, 2009, the Global Partnership Initiative will host TED@State, the first U.S. Government-sponsored Technology, Entertainment, Design, or TED, event in Dean Acheson Auditorium from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The TED@State speakers will be as follows: social-media analyst Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody; philanthropist Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of the Acumen Fund; futurist Stewart Brand, author of the Whole Earth Catalog; economist Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion; and data visionary Hans Rosling, Karolinska Institutet Professor of International Health. Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, the Department of State's Special Representative for Global Partnerships, will introduce the speakers, and Chris Anderson, Curator of TED, will moderate a question and answer session.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the Global Partnership Initiative on April 22, 2009 at the Global Philanthropy Forum. The initiative seeks to establish public-private partnerships with foundations, businesses, non-governmental organizations, universities, and faith communities. As the first major event under this initiative, the Special Representative for Global Partnerships is proud to welcome the TED program and these visionaries to the Department of State.

If you're unfamiliar with the main TED event, it's an annual invitation-only conference held out in California. (The name "TED" is an acronym drawn from "Technology, Entertainment, Design.") Think Davos for the slightly geekier, more futuristic, and more tech-driven set. By rough shorthand, whereas Davos is focused on people and power, TED prides itself on being a chance for innovative thinkers to grow and share ideas.

Archived video of the event will be posted on TED.com, though no word on when. For a preview of what they'll be watching at the State Department this afternoon, above is a talk that Brand gave at a TED gone by on taking a long view of history.

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