U.S. Goes Online to Reach Muslim Youth

August 16, 2007


Source: ABC News

Wire Service: AP


The U.S. State Department chose a novel way to publicize baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr.'s appointment this week as its special sports envoy. It went on YouTube.

Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, who appears in the video, said Thursday it was part of her campaign to bring a positive image of the United States to a skeptical global audience particularly in the Muslim world. Children are a chief target.

"It's important that we reach out to Muslim populations around the world," Hughes said in an interview with The Associated Press. She was in Morocco this week to visit a U.S.-funded summer camp for poor Moroccan children.

The best way to counter widespread Muslim distrust of the U.S. is to expose young people to American values, Hughes said. For that, she is turning to online media like the popular video-posting web site YouTube.com, which attracts the tech-savvy youths she is targeting.

"I know as a mother that by the time kids get to high school, their opinions are pretty hardened," Hughes said. "Children tend to be a lot more open-minded."