The Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) is the U.S. Government’s primary interlocutor with the United Nations and a host of international agencies and organizations. As such, the Bureau is charged with advancing the President’s vision of robust multilateral engagement as a crucial tool in advancing U.S. national interests. U.S. multilateral engagement spans the full range of important global issues, including peace and security, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, economic development, climate change, global health, and much more.
DAS Sepulveda Explains the World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum
(May 17): Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Coordinator, Communications and Information Policy led a delegation to the World Telecommunication/Information and Communication Technology Policy Forum (WTPF) to advance discussions on international Internet-related public policy issues. The discussions produced a significant achievement in the form of six substantive, consensus-based opinions that reflected the will of the Informal Experts Group. The United States and others advanced the principle of full participation by all stakeholders, a positive trend with long-term benefits for openness, transparency, and decision-making.
Meet the U.S. Youth Observer to the UN
(May 17): Watch this video docmentary featuring Brooke Loughrin, the first-ever U.S. Youth Observer at the United Nations, presented by The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA). Engage with the work of the UN through UNA-USA and its youth movement, GenUN.
Assistant Secretary Brimmer Meets WFP Executive Director
May 10: Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, Esther Brimmer met with Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP) Ertharin Cousin at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC.
Building Consensus in Support of a Global, Inclusive, Free, and Open Internet
DipNote (May 10): Next week, the United States will join the Member States of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at the fifth World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF) in Geneva. The U.S. comes to Geneva expecting a consensus outcome to the discussions there but also to renew our commitment to understanding the needs and challenges some countries have with respect to the Internet. Many regions of the world feel that the Internet revolution is leaving them behind, and in some cases, feel left out of existing Internet governance structures. The WTPF and the non-binding opinions it will adopt can help advance practical, informed solutions to these issues. The U.S. delegation comes to engage in constructive dialogue on Internet-related public policy issues such as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), Internet Protocol numbering resources, the expansion of broadband, and, perhaps most importantly, the multistakeholder approach to Internet governance. Full Text»
The 10th Annual Global Classrooms D.C. Model UN Conference
For the last ten years, the Department of State and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) have partnered for the annual Global Classrooms D.C. Model United Nations Conference. This year’s event will be held at the Department on May 7, and will feature a keynote address by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources. Forty-three schools will be represented at this year’s conference, with the majority of students coming from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, but also featuring a delegation from Ghana. Through the Global Classrooms program, middle and high school students and teachers participate in year-round activities to help them understand the UN system, increase their knowledge of other cultures and traditions, improve their ability to think analytically and creatively, and tackle global problems collectively. Full Text»
Commemorating World Press Freedom Day
Secretary Kerry (May 3): "Today we mark World Press Freedom Day, an annual occasion to recognize, honor, and underscore the essential role of independent media in fostering and protecting freedom of expression and democratic principles. We take this opportunity to express our solidarity with independent media in all corners of the world, recall journalists who have lost their lives and sacrificed their freedom or personal well-being, and recognize and honor those who fight against repressive regimes that target the press. In the United States, we hold press freedom as a fundamental component of our democratic fabric, enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution. However, in many countries, those who try to exercise their freedom of expression face repression and harassment, from financially crippling lawsuits to imprisonment and death." Read More»
International Jazz Day: Celebrating Universal Music of Freedom and Creativity
April 30, 2013 marks the second annual International Jazz Day. This year’s commemoration will feature a daylong series of jazz events and a major evening performance in Istanbul, Turkey, this year’s host city. Activities will feature jazz greats including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, George Duke, Abdullah Ibrahim, Keiko Matsui, Al Jarreau, Milton Nascimento, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, and Jimmy Heath. The concert will be streamed live on April 30th at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Join the live webcast and follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #jazzday.
International Jazz Day, a U.S. initiative, was established in 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which noted the art form’s American origins, and described jazz as a "universal music of freedom and creativity." For more information about International Jazz Day, please visit UNESCO’s Jazz Day webpage or jazzday.com.
Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer Travel to Geneva
April 25-26, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer will be in Geneva to participate in Geneva Group consultations and meetings with other counterparts. The Geneva Group consists of sixteen of the largest contributors to the UN budget, and meets regularly to discuss and pursue measures to improve transparency, efficiency and effectiveness across the UN system.
For updates, follow Assistant Secretary Brimmer on twitter @State_IO.
Earth Day 2013: The Faces of Climate Change
This year’s Earth Day theme, the Faces of Climate Change, puts a special focus on the very real impact climate change has on people everywhere, and demonstrates just how clearly connected we all are. What one country does impacts the livelihoods of people elsewhere – and what we all do to address climate change now will largely determine the kind of planet we leave for our children and generations to come. As was clear in President Obama’s second inaugural address and in his State of the Union message, the United States is committed to meeting this challenge head on, working in cooperation with our partners around the world through ambitious actions to reduce emissions, transform our energy economy, and help the most vulnerable cope with the effects of climate change. Full Text» DipNote: Saving Lives, Livelihoods, and Life»
Assistant Secretary Brimmer Hosts Roundtable Discussion on Multilateralism in Mexico City
Assistant Secretary for International Organizations, Esther Brimmer, hosted a roundtable at the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City the morning of April 16 to discuss multilateralism and Mexico. A/S Brimmer offered an overview of the U.S. multilateral agenda, opening the discussion by commenting: “Many of the important issues are cross border, a fact that is evident in U.S.-Mexico relations. So it’s critical to work together. The U.S. welcomes an increasing Mexican voice on global issues. The international system benefits from responsible stakeholders like Mexico.“ Mexicans from think tanks and international organizations provided frank views on the challenges and opportunities for Mexico’s multilateral agenda as part of a productive discussion. Topics included arms control, peacekeeping, poverty reduction, hunger alleviation, press freedom and migration. Media Note»
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Meets with President Barack Obama
On Thursday, April 11, President Obama hosted United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for an Oval Office visit. The President and the Secretary General consulted on key issues, including the crisis in Syria, and the President expressed his gratitude for the many sacrifices United Nations personnel have made to protect vulnerable populations and to deliver aid to those most in need. This meeting is a demonstration of the robust partnership between this United States and the United Nations in facing a wide array of global challenges. Full Text» Watch White House Video»
Celebrating the Extraordinary Heritage of Jazz
International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month in April
In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration, which began in 2012. International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Learn More by visiting http://jazzday.com/
IO Assistant Secretary Meets with IAEA Director General
Apr. 8: Assistant Secretary Brimmer met with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano to discuss multilateral issues in international security and nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of State.
On April 5, 2013, a diverse group of organizations from all parts of the international development community will mount a global 1,000-minute digital media rally to raise awareness and inspire action around the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and will mark the 1,000 day milestone leading to 2015. This social media surge will feature 1,000 consecutive minutes of digital engagement and amplification of messages via several digital tools. Partner organizations will rally their respective constituencies, friends and supporters to tell stories about what’s working and what can be done to advance the MDGs. Join the community, and be part of the 1000-minute worldwide rally on April 5! Learn More»
More Work To Bring War Criminals to Justice
Secretary Kerry (April 3): "Imagine for a moment that you are a child growing up in central Africa. Instead of sleeping at home with your family each night, you take shelter with dozens of other children. You hope you'll find safety in numbers. You pray that you will not be pulled out of your bed and abducted in the night by an armed militia -- conscripted into a life of violence, forced to brutalize your own family members, used as a sex slave, condemned to a life on the run from the authorities. It's a living nightmare -- but thanks in part to last year's Kony video about the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), it's a reality that millions of Americans now know that for almost 20 years has tormented and terrorized children across Uganda, the DRC, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan." Full Text»
Working Multilaterally To Prevent Genocide
Deputy Assistant Secretary Holt: “On Tuesday, March 26, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng came to Washington, D.C. to discuss efforts for atrocity prevention with Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and other senior U.S. officials, briefing on his work internationally and thanking the U.S. for its establishment of the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) by President Obama. In my meeting with Special Adviser Dieng, we stressed the importance of working closely with the United Nations, multilateral – as well as bilateral – partners on preventing genocide and mass atrocities, before they occur.” Full Text»