How-to video site Howcast collaborated with the US Department of State to develop a media-rich web site for the Fifth Summit of the Americas, a strategic meeting between diplomats and world leaders from the western hemisphere, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The pressing issues headlining this summit will be human prosperity, energy security, and environmental sustainability. The summit, located in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, runs from April 17 (tomorrow!) through April 19, and there is an opportunity for the public to submit questions to be addressed on the final day.

The quick way to submit a question is to use the widget you can find here. But there are plenty of other resources available if you are interested in learning more about the Summit of the Americas, starting with the America.gov Townhall page or the Howcast Townhall page. The America.gov site in this case links to the Howcast site, which pulls together all the links, how-to videos, and forum posts about this summit, with additional media on their branded YouTube page. The videos and other US State Department media are located on their own YouTube page, and finally there is not one but two professional sites covering Summit of the Americas activities in general.

We have covered how Obama's administration has harnessed YouTube in the past, and it looks like they are taking advantage of that channel again, linking to the Howcast Townhall site directly from the official White House blog. It definitely appears as if they are sincere about leveraging the technological infrastructure that is out there in order to drive engagement for events like these. With any luck, that is what is going to happen, as the issues discussed may lead to lasting decisions about how the democratic nations of the Americas combine to combat these global issues.