Ambassador Godec’s Remarks at SIMElab Launch

Ambassador Godec’s Participation in SIMElab Launch

 April 5, 2018, SIMElab, U.S. International University (USIU)

Remarks

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and gentlemen;

Hamjambo!

Habari zenu?

I am happy to celebrate with you today the historic launch of Social Media Lab – or “SIMElab” – Africa.  SIMElab is the first academic institution designed specifically to study social media in all of Africa.  We are proud to partner with you on this extraordinary achievement!  Hongera, USIU!

Although digital technology has presented us with boundless opportunities, it has also posed enormous challenges.  Information travels faster than ever before, and with it, — unfortunately – fake news.  We have access to more resources, yet we are also exposed to more threats to our privacy and security.  Social media connects us, but can also make dividing us easier.  The diversity of the audience here today shows that these are issues that affect every community across the globe.

In light of this new reality, the U.S. Embassy provided a grant of over 20 million Kenyan shillings to establish SIMElab in partnership with USIU.  This demonstrates our shared commitment to addressing these key issues in the social media era.

SIMElab is well positioned to be a global leader in the new media field.  Its upcoming research on Kenyan social media use will bring us all to a better understanding of Kenya in the digital age – and especially Kenyan youth.  In addition, SIMElab will provide faculty and students with the opportunity to use cutting-edge IBM Watson Analytics Social Media software in their studies.

But SIMElab’s impact will be felt beyond academia.  Just a few of its projects on the horizon include training investigative journalists on how to use big data, informing the public with social media research, and organizing the first-ever International Digital Communication Congress.

We have already seen how powerful that partnership can be, as we collaborated with SIMElab just last month on our media literacy campaign under #StopReflectVerify and #YALIChecks.  We are excited to continue working together.

So I hope that everyone in attendance takes SIMElab’s interdisciplinary mission to heart.  Seek opportunities to reach across sectors and regions and generations, so that we can all work together towards a brighter digital future.

Pamoja tusonge mbele!

Asanteni sana.