This week, Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, has announced a competition called the Geo Challenge.

We’d like to enter the competition but not as Social Media Exchange alone. Instead, we’re calling on all who are interested—civil society partners and colleagues, and civic-minded journalists, businesspeople, and entrepreneurs, too—to join us in brainstorming ways to use online mapping to strengthen civil society in Lebanon. Then together, we will prepare and submit an entry.

We will meet next Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm at the RootSpace, in Saifi, on Charles Helou Boulevard, in the Valli and Valli Building on the 6th floor. Please let us know if you can make it (RSVP to info@smex.org or 03-251-099), so we’ll know to expect you.

At the meeting we will brainstorm ideas, come to a consensus about which of Google’s core initiatives we will address, and identify volunteers who can lead the various phases of the application process. The deadline for applications is December 22, 2008, so we need to work fast! If you do plan to participate, please make sure to read through the grant guidelines and check out some Google Earth Outreach case studies, like the one from Brazil above, before Tuesday’s meeting.

The Geo Challenge is not only another potential funding source, but quite literally a way of putting Lebanon’s active civil society sector on the Web 2.0 map of innovative uses of social media for social change. We hope you’ll join us!