This 2010 Brookings workshop paper explores opportunities for expanding the instruments available to foreign policymakers to engage weak states. Fragmented and internally divided states can be difficult to influence by traditional foreign policy means and further can be difficult to understand through traditional media outlets. New models of civil society action catalyzed by new media—and more broadly grounded civic media—show potential for reducing internal conflict and promoting social trust among tribal, ethnic, and religious groups.
Bringing new media communications together with civil society action and model programs creates more powerful opportunities to enhance understanding of these internal conflicts and thereby address them in ways that will help accelerate social and political change. This paper identifies new media tools and connection technologies that can foster or enhance civic engagement through case studies that span the globe. It was prepared for, and its recommendations reflect the proceedings of, the New Media working group at the 2010 U.S.-Islamic World Forum.