tech.state.gov (http://tech.state.gov/) is an Internet-based community set up by the U.S. State Department to help government people and others concerned with international development hook up with smart technologists like you.
The next Tech@State event -- called Tech@State: Open Source (http://tech.state.gov/events/techstate-open-source) -- is scheduled for February 11 and 12. There is space for 200 in-person attendees.
Registration is free. It's "first come, first served," so if you can be in Washington, D.C., on those dates and want to attend, you'd better hustle to sign up. The event will also be streamed live on the Web, and you can easily join the online tech@state community (http://tech.state.gov/main/authorization/signUp?target=http%3A%2F%2Ftech.state.gov%2Fprofiles%2Fmembers%2F), which currently has slightly over 400 members. The connections you make can easily turn into business contacts not only within the State Department but also with NGOs (non-government organizations), foreign governments, and companies -- both in the U.S and abroad.
The first tech@state event, about a year ago, was about technology to help Haiti after that poor country suffered a distastrous earthquake.
The topic for the one after February's Open Source discussion has not yet been selected. Do you have any ideas? If so, please share them, says Tiffany Smith, the State Department person who coordinates this effort.
This is all part of the government's 21st Century Statecraft and eDiplomacy initiatives, both of which are impressive when you consider the State Department's reputation for stodginess and rejecting outide ideas.
In any case, this is an excellent opportunity to help the U.S. government create an up-to-date, technology-based foreign policy, while at the same time making contacts that might help you find consulting gigs or a new job.
Scheduled speakers for the conference include Susan Swart, U.S. Department of State CIO, Vivek Kundra, CIO of the United States, and Chris DiBona, open source and public sector programs manager at Google.