August 17, 1998
Release No. 49-98
CONTACT: Catherine Stearns
PHONE: (202) 401-1190

United States Information Agency
- News Release


Washington, D.C. -- Seventeen visitors from around the world convened here August 6 to begin a three-week, eight-city program, "The Information Highway," sponsored by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) International Visitor Program. This program was arranged, in collaboration with USIA, by the Mississippi Consortium for International Development.

The International Visitor participants are high-level professionals in the fields of telecommunications, computer and information systems, library and research services, education, and journalism (participant list follows). Many of them are visiting the United States for the first time; all are looking for ideas, resources, and opportunities to share knowledge with their American counterparts, as well as strengthening efforts to develop information technology in their home countries.

In Washington, the group began their program with an overview of the U.S. federal system, then had briefings at the Federal Communications Commission, the Library of Congress, the Department of Commerce Secretariat for Electronic Commerce, and MCI Corp. A tour of The Freedom Forum's high-tech "Newseum" was included in their weekend schedule. The group began this week with a demonstration of USIA's Public Diplomacy Forum, an interactive tool which provides information on the agency's exchanges and public diplomacy programs:

The group will have opportunities to contribute their impressions of the project to the Internet, using the Public Diplomacy Forum website.

The International Visitors also met with staff of Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.) for briefings on the Senator's work on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications; visited the Arlington, Va.-based National Coordination Office for Computing, Information, and Communications; and concluded the day with briefings at the Arlington Central Library. This week they also met with representatives of the National Governors Association, the Institute for Electronic Government, and at LEXIS-NEXIS for a product demonstration. On August 12, the group departs Washington to continue their program in Jackson, Miss., and New Orleans; a four-way split to Denver, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, and Rochester/Syracuse, and will reunite for the project conclusion in San Jose, Calif.

Feature writers/editors: If you have an interest in covering how this project's international perspectives impact your city's presence on the "global information highway," please contact Catherine Stearns at USIA for additional information: (202) 619-4355.

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