Submitted by Jeff Buster on Tue, 03/11/2008 - 14:13.

 One of the few organizations in   Cleveland that seems to have truly meritorious objectives is The Cleveland Council on World Affairs.     


 Organized in 1919 by the League of Women Voters of Cleveland , the Council is like a little United Nations.    


 Jeanne Romanoff, Program Officer, International Visitors Programs asked Meet The Bloggers (and Gloria Ferris sent out invitations to other bloggers which is the hospitality custom for MTB) to sit down on Monday afternoon (March 10)  with a group  of 24 information and media representatives who are US State Department employees working at the UN or at US Embassies around the globe.


The meeting took place in the Warner Room  at the Residence Inn on Prospect Avenue.   The Residence Inn is in the Colonial  Arcade building which runs between Prospect and Euclid.


At the two hour open discussion were US Embassy Foreign National Employees (receiving information and media training and US cultural orientation) from Madagascar, Cameroon, South Africa, Niger, France, Uganda, New Zealand, Norway, Austria, Montenegro, Armenia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Pakistan (2), Tajikistan, India, Nicaragua, Brazil, Argentina, Jamaica, and Bolivia.



The topic of discussion was blogs, and how  blogs, and the network of connections between blogs,  have become an element of community building in Cleveland and in  North East Ohio (NEO).


There was a question from the Algerian representative about whether blogs posed a terrorist problem, and should therefore be controlled.   Roger Bundy made the point that the present media was very concentrated – perhaps 5 main media corporations globally – and that the solution for preventing terrorism wasn’t restriction of blogs, but more blogs.   Democracy and the peripatetic school of Aristotle thrive on the free transmission of ideas.  Restraining blogs in the name of terrorism control will only drive the discussion underground - was a point made by another US attendee.


But spreading the word about blogs and getting persons to engage and produce original content on the web isn’t as easy as just talking it up.   Tim Ferris demonstrated this point when, at the conclusion of the discussion, he helped one of the visitors from Pakistan establish a new blog (photo above). 


Of the attendees that were from Cleveland,   3 spoke to me when I mentioned I blogged on Realneo.   Each of the three (all women) made comments about Realneo’s “header” which changes day to day.   One of the women had her photo in the header a year or so ago when Norm did a extemporaneous “restaurant review” of Johnny Mango’s.  The other two indicated they enjoyed the visual variety of the header. 


 I thought it was significant that none of the 3 made any comment about the content on Realneo, but did mention the header.    


If there ever was a great opportunity to carry on the social network building started at REI four years ago, this international audience provided  it!


Thank you to Jeanne Romanoff  for the opportunity to spread the web gospel and thanks to Tim and Gloria Ferris, and Roger Bundy from MTB for providing the platform.





Tim Ferris and Fuwad Ilyas at Meet the Bloggers.JPG62.33 KB


  I would also nominate the City Club for the "Jeff Buster Truly Meritorious Objectives" award!  Today's radio broadcast of the annual high school forensics was phenomenal.   I will link to the podcast, when it becomes available. 

High School Debate Championship
For over two decades, The City Club has hosted the annual High School Debate Championships sponsored by the law firm of Baker Hostetler, LLP. While most high school students are watching basketball finals and preparing for spring break, these enterprising students prepare for the High School Debate Championships, as well as for state and national competitions. The City Club gives them the opportunity to show off their skills.

Every year, the top two area high school debaters square off in a classic "Lincoln-Douglas" style debate at a Friday Forum. This gives the debaters the opportunity to compete not only for the judges and the audience in the room, but also for our radio and television audiences. Debate teams from across Northeast Ohio are invited to attend as guests of The City Club and Baker Hostetler, LLP.

The High School Debate Championship is sponsored by Baker Hostetler, LLP in memory of Patrick Jordon. Mr. Jordon was a partner of the firm and an outstanding debater in high school.