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Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at the Virtual GCTF on Combatting COVID-19 Disinformation
April 30, 2020

AIT DIR Christensen at vGCTF
AIT DIR Christensen at vGCTF

Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen
at the Virtual GCTF on Combatting COVID-19 Disinformation
April 29, 2020

 (as prepared for delivery)

It is my pleasure to close out this productive and enlightening series of discussions on COVID-19-related disinformation.  I want to start by thanking everyone for helping to make our very first Global Cooperation and Training Framework virtual workshop a success.  We are all doing our best to continue our important work while taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves, our colleagues, and our communities.

Combating disinformation and containing a highly contagious virus are actually not so different.   Both require an understanding of how the adversary operates, what mechanisms it uses to reproduce, and where it came from.  Both demand that we build community resilience through education and vigilance.  Both are challenges shared by societies around the world.  And both are areas where Taiwan has demonstrated impressive aptitude and expertise.

I feel very lucky to be living here in Taiwan, where the spread of COVID-19 has been essentially contained, in large part because Taiwan’s democratically elected government put transparency and accurate information at the forefront of its prevention efforts.  I hope you will all have the opportunity to visit Taiwan once the world is safe for travel again.  In the meantime, I hope everyone gained some insights and strategies that they can apply to their own communities, their own media environments, or their own digital platforms.

I want to thank our colleagues at Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association for their partnership in the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, particularly for their flexibility in bringing these workshops to a digital platform.  Thanks to Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang for moderating today and for all of her guidance in the planning of today’s program.  Thanks to our panelists from the U.S. Department of State Global Engagement Center, to Ethan Tu from Taiwan AI Labs, to Harris Zainul from Malaysia’s Institute of Strategic and International Studies, to Che Chang from the TeamT5, and to Chihhao Yu from Watchout.tw.

I’ll close by saying that the United States has always believed that the most innovative solutions to the most complex problems often don’t come from government; they come from creative, dedicated people…people like you.  Combating disinformation is no exception.  So get to work!

Thanks again and see you next time.