Mark your calendar for January 13, 2009. That is the confirmed date for "The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948: Past, Present, and Future", a symposium to discuss the legislation on which America's arsenal of persuasion is anchored.
The one-day event will be hosted in Washington, D.C., with the location and co-sponsor all but confirmed. The format is four 90 minute panels and will emphasize Q&A, discourse, and debate and not presentations or monologues. The four panels will focus on past, present, future, what to do, respectively.
Panelists will be drawn from practitioners (State and Defense Departments), academics, Congress, and the media. The event is free and open to the public but registration will be required.
This is a first of its kind in-depth discussion into the legislation that continues to set the parameters of our global engagement. Enacted at the beginning of the First War of Ideas, it is long past time to discuss it ten or more years into the Second War of Ideas, a struggle that goes beyond terrorism and insurgency and into economic and financial power.
Underscoring the importance of the event are the two confirmed keynotes - Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Jim Glassman will give the morning keynote, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Support to Public Diplomacy Mike Doran will give the lunchtime keynote. A report will be published based on the discourse at the event.