The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2012

12 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 pact of social media on Arab gender roles. Echoing a theme Melanne Verveer explored in th e May FSJ (“Women and the Arab Spring”) — “women have seized their new freedoms to organize outside of the government” —Radsch documents how young women in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and other Arab states are using social media like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to carve out central roles for themselves in both the private and public spheres. Through real-time Twitter posts from demonstrations, heated Face- book status updates and much more, these young women have successfully taken their activism from cyberspace to the streets. Identifying the three keys to the movement as citizen jour- nalism, mobilization and organization, Radsch declares, “Facebook pages and Twitter hashtags were an integral part of any protest, and became effective tools for influencing mainstream media coverage and organizing action.” Radsch predicts that Arab women of all ages will not stop protesting until their voices are heard — something that social media made feasible. —Eva M.A. Moss, Editorial Intern Closing the Language Deficit The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Man- agement, the Federal Work Force and the District of Columbia ( www.hsgac. ) he ld a sobering May 21 hearing on “A National Security Crisis: Foreign Language Capabilities in the Federal Government.” It is the eighth session its chairman, Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, has convened on the subject. Summarizing the hearing in his May 22 Federal Diary column, Wash- ington Post writer Joe Davidson says Uncle Sam has made real progress on hiring fluent foreign-language speak- ers. Foreign Service Director General Linda Thomas-Greenfield testified that while just 61 percent of State’s lan- guage-designated positions were filled with fully qualified personnel in 2009, three years later that figure now stands at 74 percent. Still, a quarter of LDPs are either held by less fluent speakers or are vacant, a shortfall that is partic- ularly acute for Near Eastern, South Asian and East Asian languages. The Defense Department faces similar difficulties, Davidson reports. More than 80 percent of DOD lan- guage slots had incumbents in Fiscal Year 2011, but just 28 percent of those employees were rated proficient. Sen. Akaka used the occasion to urge federal agencies to do more to co- ordinate and share best practices in re- cruiting, retaining and training per- sonnel. He also called for a coordi- nated national effort among all levels of government, industry and academia to tackle the problem so we “can im- prove our nation’s language capacity and effectively confront the challenges to our nation’s security and economic prosperity.” — Steven Alan Honley, Editor Beat the Press On May 2 the Committee to Pro- tect Journalists ( ) re - leased its list of the “10Most Censored Countries” in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day. Eritrea, North Korea and Syria topped the list, followed by Iran, Equatorial Guinea, Uzbekistan, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Belarus. The report assesses three categories C Y B E R N O T E S SITE OF THE MONTH: This month, as the United States celebrates the 236th anniversary of its inde- pendence, it seems only appropriate to highlight a Web site that both shows and tells the history of our country. Animated Atlas produces interactive videos presenting es- sential events in America’s history utilizing maps and geographic features. The site features “Growth of a Nation,” a free 10-minute movie that depicts our country’s ex- pansion since 1789. The film has three segments: Completion of Territory (1789-1853), Civil War (1853-1865) and Post-Civil War (1865-1959). The animation effects include color coding of states, fireworks signaling battles, moving lines for bodies of water, and hovering pictures of presidents, generals and other relevant figures. Audio com- mentary explains each historical event in detail. Clicking on a state brings up basic geographical and historical facts. Viewers can also select a year at the bottom of the screen to pull up a timeline for the following categories: States, Territories, President, Society, Native American, World, Science and Culture. In addition to the free online version, Animated Atlas also sells an enhanced CD- ROM edition that traces the growth of cities, changes to rural areas and the history of Native Americans. — Eva M.A. Moss, Editorial Intern