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@AshtonKutcher @Feds @Geeks to Russia with techie love

@U.S.CTO @AshtonKutcher @StateDepartment @SiliconValley to Russia with love

That could be the tweet to describe the motley U.S. delegation headed to Moscow today to meet with Russian government leaders, academics and entrepreneurs in a one-week exchange of technology ideas. The tour, organized by the State Department, is meant to broaden ties between the two nations and come up with proposals for how Silicon Valley social media technologies can be used to address problems in Russia and to further U.S. diplomatic objectives there.

Representing the U.S. is a mix of celebrity, techies and bureaucrats. Actor Ashton Kutcher, a prolific Twitter user and founder of a social media company called Katalyst, will be there. He and wife Demi Moore also founded the Demi and Ashton Foundation, which works on the using technology to stop trafficking. National Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra will attend, along with some of Silicon Valley’s most successful entrepreneurs: Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and representatives from eBay, Cisco, Mozilla and video-sharing site Howcast.

“We are all going as experts,” said Jason Liebman, Howcast CEO. “This is not a trade mission. We want to be able to show how these technologies can be used practically to set up civil society.”

It is the latest high-tech diplomacy trip organized by the State Department, which has led similar delegations to Iraq and Mexico City under senior adviser for innovation Alec Ross. This trip, organized by Jared Cohen of the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, will focus on how mobile phone and social media technologies can be used to address problems such as corruption and crime. In Mexico, for example, the group came up with a program to use anonymous text messaging to inform police of criminal and drug activity. In Iraq, Howcast digitized the Iraqi national museum collection.

The group will visit Moscow and Novosibirsk in Siberia.

By Cecilia Kang  |  February 17, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  International , Tech for Development  
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