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State Department's William May to discuss social media, public diplomacy at SU March 25

March 18, 2010

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

William May, director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Innovative Engagement (part of the Bureau of International Information Programs), will visit Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications on Thursday, March 25, speaking on “Using Social Media in Public Diplomacy” at 5:30 p.m. in Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3. His talk is free and open to the public. Parking is available in SU pay lots.

May has worked for the U.S. government as a public diplomacy professional for more than 25 years. In his current position as director of the Office of Innovative Engagement (OIE), he supports the State Department’s worldwide public diplomacy efforts. OIE is responsible for creating and implementing public diplomacy strategies that use new media and social networks to engage the world in support of the president, the secretary of state and key strategic policy objectives. OIE develops and fosters innovative new media strategies, tools and products for the public diplomacy community and provides guidance, support and training for U.S. embassies and consulates overseas. The office recently worked to increase President Obama’s engagement with Africa, integrating the use of traditional media, text messaging and podcasting into a single engagement campaign, carried out in three languages.

Prior to the creation of OIE, May served as director of the State Department’s Planning, Budget and Applied Technology Office, where he provided planning and program oversight for public diplomacy technologies, identifying new technology opportunities and integrating new technology into existing operations and programs. The office was pivotal in the adoption of Web technology, including social networking and virtual worlds, and the use of mobile technology for public diplomacy.

May also served as the community relations division chief for the Office of International Visitors, one of the U.S. Government’s flagship public diplomacy programs. During that time, he led efforts to link disparate information systems, garnering a Hammer Award from the Office of the Vice President. The award recognizes teams of federal employees and their partners whose work results in “a government that works better and costs less.”

Before joining the State Department, May spent 13 years working on the modernization of the U.S. government’s worldwide broadcasting network and facilities. He served in senior management positions in the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau/Voice of America’s Office of Engineering and Technical Operations, including as assistant deputy director for project management and assistant deputy director for advanced broadcast technologies. He also worked in the electric power generation field.

For more information about his visit, contact Maria Russell at (315) 443-3368 or

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