Social Media in Intl. Dev: Sarah Blackmun

Sarah BlackmunNext in the series of podcasts (previous podcasts linked below) is Sarah Blackmun of the Pangaea Network. Sarah is another long time online colleague and friend from the late 90’s who also seems to connect with others in my network (especially around her studies at the Fielding Institute where we both have a lot of mutual friends.

Sarah brings some different aspects to light about social media in international development. Sharing about work she and Dr. Steve Eskow have been doing in Ghana, Sarah brings in the issue of gender, particularly the importance of recognizing that often womens’ experiences are very different from men, so thinking about introduction of new technology needs to be with a full awareness of gender. Take a listen.

podcast-logo SarahBlackmun

Related Links

Sarah’s Bio
Sarah Blackmun-Eskow is President and Chief Operating Officer of The Pangaea Network.

Sarah  has four decades of experience as a president, CEO, and general manager of education-related international businesses. She served as the CEO of Harcourt Brace International and as President of Harcourt Brace Media Systems Corporation. She was a founder, with Dr. Eskow, of the Electronic University Network, where she served as Chief Operating Officer. She also served as COO of Durand Communications, Inc., a technology firm based in Santa Barbara.

Blackmun serves as President and Chief Operating Office of the Pangaea Network, where she coordinates research, planning, budgeting, implementation, and day-to-day operations.

In addition to her business background, Blackmun-Eskow has nonprofit and community service experience, including serving as a Commissioner of Human Services in Santa Barbara County; chair of the Justice and Outreach Council of Trinity Episcopal Church; and board member of AIDS Housing Santa Barbara. As a member of the World Mission Group of the Episcopal Diocese of California, and in her earlier position as  information officer of the Episcopal Diocese of California (San Francisco), Blackmun established connections with Episcopal and Anglican leaders in the U.S., Africa, Latin America, and the Philippines.

Blackmun-Eskow earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts degree from Bowling Green University. She is currently a doctoral student in the School of Human and Organizational Development of the Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California.

Twitter Search #myonlineorigins

Flickr CC from QuapanI’m always interested in where people started in their “practice” no matter what the practice. So I was tickled to be led to Twitter / Search – #myonlineorigins.

What are your online origins?

Photo Credit: quapan

Social Media in Intl. Dev: Dr. Steve Eskow

Dr. Steve EskowFinally, I have grabbed a few minutes to add the next couple of podcasts in the series on Social Media in International Development. (Links to all the previous podcasts are at the bottom of this post.)

This podcast is with another online colleague I’ve known since some of my early online days. I met Steve through Electric Minds, an early web online community. At the time, the context I knew Steve in was in education. Now he and Sarah Blackmum (whose podcast will go up later this week) are working with the The Pangaea Network doing work in international development, much of it faith based.  Steve shares a bit about the work they are doing in  Ghana and some basic heuristics about introducing (or not introducing) new technology. Take a listen!


Steve’s Bio

Dr. Steve Eskow is Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the The Pangaea Network. he earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Syracuse University, an MA degree in English from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dramatic Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. He is the founder of the College Consortium on International Studies, a federation of 95 colleges that provides study abroad opportunities to 4,000 students annually in 30 countries; founder of the Rockland Community College Office of International Studies and its International College, which organize the college’s study-abroad programs in some 20 countries, offer technical assistance to schools and colleges abroad, receive and place foreign students, and create curricula incorporating international themes; founder of the International/Intercultural Consortium of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges; chairman of its Advisory Committee; member of its Curriculum Committee; founder of the International Services Association of the Community Colleges of the State University of New York; founder of The Faith and Development Network, the Electronic University Network; and co-founder and current Chair of the Board of The Pangaea Network.  Prior to his current positions, he was on the faculty of the School for Transformative Learning, California Institute of Integral Studies; Director, “Keeping America Working” Project of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleagues (1983-4); President and Chief Executive Officer, Rockland Community College (A College of the State University of New York) (1963-83); and Dean of Instruction, Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica, NY (1956-63), Instructor of English; Chairperson, Division of General Education.

Eskow was the U.S. Representative to 1978 UNESCO Symposium on Contributions of Higher Education to Community Development, and a lecturer and consultant to Ministries of Education and colleges and universities in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the Soviet Union, and India. Assignments include work in Kenya, Tanzania, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, England, France, The U.S.S.R., Israel, and India. He served as Principal Lecturer, United States Information Agencies Seminars on community college education, in five Indian states in 1975. He returned in 1979, sponsored by the U.S. Fulbright Commission, to lecture in four Indian states and conduct major international conferences on community-based education; and in 1982, for the Asia Foundation, to plan vocational education programs.

Previous & Related Podcasts:

Social Media in Intl. Dev: Simone Staiger

Next in the podcast series on social media in international development is a dear friend and colleague, Simone Staiger discussing the design, technology and facilitation of a global e-consultation.  Simone is orchestrating 6 regional consultations for the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)  in preparation for a major meeting next year. Listen as Simone talks about the technology, process and challenges of the consultation, as well as her unique addition of social media tools (Twitter and blogs) to provide a window “out to the world” on the progress of the e-consultations.

E-consultations seem to be a hot topic these days. I’ll add a few interesting links at the bottom.

podcast-logo Simone_Staiger_OnlineConsultations_15min

URLs Mentioned in the Podcast

About Simone

Simone Staiger-Rivas is a Knowledge Sharing specialist. She is a trained social communicator with 13 years’ experience in the coordination of international communications projects. Her interest lies in the enhancement of collaboration in institutional settings that contribute to organizational learning and change in agricultural research for development. Simone is based at CIAT, Colombia.

Previous & Related Podcasts:

Some interesting links on e-consultations

Social Media in Intl. Dev: Gauresh Rajadhyaksha

gaureshContinuing my series of podcast conversations about the use of  social media in international development, this week we have Gauresh Rajadhyaksh who works with the Development Prospects Group (, a central think-tank unit within the World Bank.  The unit monitors economic indicators, analyzes developments in real and financial markets and produces World Bank forecasts for the global economy (
Much of the group’s work relies on collaborating with colleagues situated across the world. This collaboration is much more than email exchanges — so they have developed a web-based system: “iSimulate @ World Bank” — — that allows users to access and execute simulations on some of our simulation models. This is an attempt at leveraging Web 2.0 features to increase collaboration and create a “community of practice” of economists. They have a blog that has some more background information: The blog is a great place to start to learn about iSimulate. I’ve also embedded their “how to” YouTube video below.

Gauresh’s role has been in managing this system creation and its strategic planning as a tool for collaboration and communication. He also build some of the actual economic models that have been added to the system.

In the podcast Gauresh talks about how iSimulate was created, adopted and plans for the future. As I reflected after the conversation, Gauresh has been serving as a technology steward for this community of practice of economists in and outside of the Bank, noticing what is needed, developing a prototype that blends with the way people are already working, then takes things to the next level. Take a listen!

podcast-logo Gauresh_Rajadhyaksh_Sept14 (about 18 minutes MP3)

“The opinions expressed in the podcast represent those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the view of the World Bank Group, its Board of Directors or the governments they represent.”

Gauresh wrote in advance of our conversation:

We intend to use iSimulate in two ways:
1. Provide an environment for the creation of a global community of practice for economists.

Though we are currently focussing on an internal World Bank community, we hope to use all the “collaboration” features of the system to reach out to a much broader audience. We see this as an avenue to engage in a much more meaningful two-way dialogue with our colleagues and clients.

2. Provide real-time access to data and simulation models.
The iSimulate system is the first-of-its-kind in allowing users to execute “custom simulations” on World Bank models. While most systems provide simple data-access with some visualization features, iSimulate allows a lot of flexibility in experimenting with the assumptions, etc. We see this as a crucial step in increasing transparency and disseminating our work in a more effective manner.

Here is a video tutorial of the iSimulate platform.

Gauresh’s Bio

Gauresh Rajadhyaksha is a Research Analyst with the Development Economics department at the World Bank in Washington, DC. He is primarily involved with macro-economic modeling and manages some of the Bank’s development data systems. Gauresh has been a part of the team that set-up iSimulate @ World Bank and he is currently the Project coordinator / Program Manager for the initiative. Gauresh holds a B.E. in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Mumbai and a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is also currently an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

More podcasts!

I’ll have an additional podcast with Gauresh talking about how he got support for this project within the Bank, a large, fairly traditional organization. That will be part of my next series, “Why Web 2.0?” So stay tuned. The next podcasts in this series will be from Dr. Steve Eskow and  Sarah Blackmun on the cultural and gender related aspects to bringing external (web 2) technology to communities in development contexts and Simon Staiger on planning and facilitating online e-consultations. I was hoping to get transcripts of all of these, but ran out of time. So if anyone wants to transcribe….?

Previous & Related Podcasts: