FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lois Herrmann or Theresa Markiw
USIA SUPPORTS 3,000 JOURNALISTS AT NATO 50TH ANNIVERSARY SUMMIT,
Washington, D.C. —The United States Information Agency (USIA) is running the mammoth NATO 50th Anniversary Summit Press Center, managing the Summit Web site, distributing a commemorative pamphlet in eight languages, and bringing 38 emerging leaders from Europe and North America to take part in Summit activities and participate in professional programs in other U.S. cities.
The largest gathering of world leaders ever hosted in Washington D.C., the NATO Summit, April 22 through 25, will bring together heads of state and government and foreign and defense ministers of 44 countries from across Europe and North America. The event will commemorate NATO's success in safeguarding the freedom of its members for half a century, and will chart the way for a larger, more flexible Atlantic Alliance in the 21st century.
USIA's Foreign Press Center in Washington has established and is staffing the International Press Filing Center at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center that will be home to the print and radio journalists covering the event. The Foreign Press Center will oversee 24-hour staffing of an information desk that will respond to questions from journalists as well as a reference center that will handle research requests. Prior to the Summit, the Foreign Press Center created and distributed more than 2,700 media credentials, and will continue issuing credentials throughout the event. It also hosted a series of background briefings for the foreign press on the NATO summit, its agenda, and its implications for the future.
USIA's Bureau of Information designed and is managing the official U.S. Web site for the Summit (http://nato50.gov). The site will feature live video streaming of the ceremonies, key addresses, press conferences, and other events. The Webcast will take place in cooperation with NATO-TV, which is providing extensive coverage of the summit. In addition, the U.S. government site carries extensive information about the summit, including schedules, agenda schedules, major texts and statements, media accreditation, tourist information, a photo gallery, and an extensive set of links to other NATO sites on the Internet.
USIA also has produced a 20-page commemorative pamphlet, "NATO: 50th Anniversary," printed in English, Czech, French, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, and Ukrainian for worldwide distribution. The pamphlet, with an introduction by President Clinton, is designed to appeal to the "successor generation" of Europeans. It tells the story of the Alliance primarily through some three dozen photographs accompanied by descriptive captions and short text pieces.
A group of 38 distinguished European leaders, under the auspices of USIA's International Visitor Program and in cooperation with the National Security Council, are participating in a program, "NATO: The Future of the Alliance," which was planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary Summit. They will focus on the many issues the Allies face as they prepare to restructure the NATO mission. In addition, the visitors will examine the scope and complexities of the U.S. foreign policy process, the interaction of various government elements, and the role of the private sector. Their program — including meetings with representatives of Congress, the Departments of State and Defense, the National Security Council, academic institutions, public interest groups, and the media — takes place this week in Washington D.C., followed by a division into sub-groups for travel to Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago for exposure to private sector perspectives. Following a two-day program in these cities, the sub-groups will reconvene in New York for a one-day program and a one- day visit to Norfolk, Va.
Leading up to the Summit, USIA, known as U.S. Information Service (USIS) overseas, has been engaged in briefing media representatives and hosting conferences for government officials and academics at the NATO Mission and at embassies around the world.
USIA has long managed media relations, press support, printed materials, exchange programs, and other support for major international summits, including the annual economic summits of the industrialized nations, in the United States and abroad. On Oct. 1, 1999, USIA will merge with the Department of State, forming a new bureau for public diplomacy, information, and public affairs.
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The United States Information Agency, headed by Acting Director Penn Kemble, is an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch that explains and supports U.S. foreign policy and national security interests abroad through a wide range of information programs. The Agency promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a series of educational and cultural exchange activities.
USIA's programs include the Voice of America, Radio and TV Mart, the WORLDNET satellite television system, the daily Washington File newswire, the Fulbright scholarship program, the International Visitor Program, the Speakers and Specialists Program, three Foreign Press Centers in the United States, and a network of overseas resource and cultural centers. The Agency has 190 posts in 141 countries.
The USIA domestic server can be accessed through http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/ or through most search engines on the Internet.