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Our one-page summary provides an overview of our core services—and what sets us apart in the world's most challenging areas.

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Engaging for Enduring Outcomes

Our outcomes are enduring because they are culturally tailored and acceptable from the outset. This approach is effective whether the cultural divide is due to unfamiliarity in the international community or just between domestic regions or business sectors.

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Strategic Social brings a unique, industry-best approach to achieving success in complex environments. Our robust efforts are guided by a simple process: Understand, Empathize, Engage, and Transact.

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Call to action remains valid 10 years after 9/11

September 11, 2001 changed many things for most people.  Put simply, nearly every aspect of life is more complicated in the post-9/11 world.  We travel differently, access public events and government buildings differently, consider safety and security differently and face renewed challenges of cultural stereotypes.

In the days following the terrorist attacks, our changed world presented an environment that called for action; the past decade features some incredible efforts and achievements as a result.  These successes serve as a solid beginning to the efforts of US and its partners around the world.

Over the past 10 years, the U.S. and its strategic partners have aggressively combatted violent extremism and worked to eliminate opportunities for it to grow.  Many of the domestic and international successes are well known.  Less well known, however, are the valuable advances made by governments, industry, non-governmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and others toward improving conditions for people who may otherwise be manipulated by violent extremists.

Around the world, schools and hospitals have opened, vocational programs and cultural exchanges have been conducted, freedom of the press has emerged, women have gained societal status and opportunities, and forms of the democratic process have been adopted.  With these important successes, environments that allow violent ideologies to flourish have been marginalized. Just now, 10 years after that tragic day, are we starting to see tangible results from a decade of effort.  We are on the verge of destroying Al Qaeda and we are seeing the Arab Spring bring democracy to countries that have suffered decades of dictatorship.  However, there is much work remaining. Future efforts must build, not rest, on these successes.

Future successes will come by guiding our interactions and efforts with a simple model that has already delivered profound outcomes.  The approach begins by building deep understanding of a population through social science research.  Focus groups, surveys and other direct interaction with people provide a level of understanding of the social diversity and other factors of their society, and the challenges and opportunities they face individually and as a group.  With this level of understanding, a degree of empathy develops that allows solutions and strategies to be designed to meet the peoples’ specific needs and interests.  It is important to see the world through the lens of others;  only then can we understand their perspective and rationale for their actions.

Too often in the past, the U.S. has rushed past attempts to understand a population and instead favored quick solutions that, unfortunately, often don’t deliver the desired, enduring results.

Instead, meaningful success comes from engaging with populations through mutually beneficial transactions, or interaction.  In this sense, these transactions help to meet the objective of creating international stability while also improving people’s lives in the identified population.  By improving literacy rates, security, access to healthcare, rule of law, education, vocational skills and similar aspects of society, the population is strengthened against maligned influence and the foundation of trust and cooperation is built.  Likewise, the international community directly benefits from the increase in stability and resulting threat reduction.

At Strategic Social, we’ve proven the success of this approach in Iraq, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, Mali and elsewhere.  Individual and societal capacity has grown as jobs have been created, new skills have been learned, schools and hospitals have opened, women have attained societal status, a free press has operated, governments have reformed and opportunities for violent extremists have diminished.  The path from chaos to sustainable stability relies on Understanding, Empathy, Engagement and Mutually Beneficial Transactions.

There are lots of ways to earn a living in this world.  The chance to help make the world a better place for our children and future generations is the best I can imagine.  It is also incumbent upon us to work to make the world a better place than we found it.  If you have the ability to make a difference, there is a moral imperative to action.  It is in times such as these that leaders take action and each of us has opportunities to fulfill that responsibility.

As we remember the feeling of ‘what do we do now?’ that came with the attacks of 9/11, we should be reminded that making a lasting change for the future won’t happen in just one decade — it takes continued effort and productive engagement.  Each of us was affected in some way by the attacks of 9/11; we owe it to future generations to stay focused on improving the chances that similar events will never occur.

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