Junior Statesmen Foundation Visits Department of State to Discuss Foreign Policy
WASHINGTON, DC, July 30 -- 200 High School students from around the United States spent the afternoon at the U.S. Department of State where they met with senior officials to discuss a variety of U.S. foreign policy issues. Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, spoke to students about the Obama administration's current foreign policy priorities. He engaged the students in a discussion surrounding their thoughts on the most important global issues. He also discussed the current situations in North Korea and Iran, and offered students insight into how the Department handles such issues.
Following their meeting with Assistant Secretary Crowley, the students met with Dan Clune, Principal Deputy Secretary of State, Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, for a discussion on space policy and climate change and Reuben Brigety, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, to learn more about what the Department is doing to assist refugees around the world.
Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, closed the event by discussing his experiences in Africa and what the Department is doing to solve many of the issues in the region. Ambassador Carson highlighted the upcoming Presidents Forum with Young African Leaders, set to take place in Washington, D.C., from August 3 - 5 with approximately 120 young leaders from civil society and the private sector representing more than forty countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Together with American counterparts and U.S. Government officials, the participants will share their insights on key themes of youth empowerment, good governance, and economic opportunity.
Through their visit to the Department of State, students from the Junior Statesmen Foundation were able to gain a better understanding of the world around them through interaction with senior level officials.
State Department Officials Provide an Update on Secretary Clinton’s Recent Travel to Asia
Washington, DC, July 29 – State Department officials provided an update on Secretary Clinton’s recent travel to Asia at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Mary Beth Goodman and Vali Nasr, Senior Advisors to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke discussed the Pakistan and Afghanistan portions of the tip. They emphasized that a number of programs were announced in Pakistan, including signature energy, health and water programs, and the U.S.-Pakistan Gender Equity Program. In Afghanistan, Secretary Clinton and Denmark Foreign Minister Lene Esperson announced the “US-Denmark Joint Initiative Supporting Women's Access to Justice in Helmand Province, Afghanistan,” aimed at improving women’s access to justice in Helmand Province.
Derek Chollet, Principal Deputy Director of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff provided an overview of the Secretary’s visits to Vietnam and Republic of Korea. In Seoul, Secretary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates joined their respective Republic of Korea counterparts for a 2+2 meeting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
Mr. Chollet discussed the Secretary’s meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to discuss the Lower Mekong Initiative and to highlight the growing cooperation between the United States and the Lower Mekong countries in key areas of common concern: environment, health and education. In addition, Secretary Clinton and Vietnam Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong signed the “Partnership Framework between the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Government of the United States for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control.”
Agudath Israel of America Leadership Mission to Washington
Visits the State Department
WASHINGTON, DC, July 29 — Members of Agudath Israel of America participating in the 2010 Leadership Mission to Washington visited the U.S. Department of State for a series of meetings with senior Department officials.
Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, discussed the U.S. approach to the challenges and complex issues in the Middle East. He described common threats that the United States shares with Israel and underscored the U.S. commitment to Israeli security.
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal discussed U.S. efforts to monitor acts of anti-semitism throughout the world, challenges that the United States faces in combating anti-semitism, and the range of tools used to address this challenge.
The final speaker was Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Douglas Davidson who described U.S. policy concerning Holocaust-era assets and discussed restitution of property to victims of the Holocaust.
Students from the Center for Global Understanding Attend State Department Briefing on Middle East, South and Central Asia
WASHINGTON, DC, July 28 -- 115 undergraduate students from different U.S. universities taking part in the Center for Global Understanding’s Summer Program attended a briefing at the State Department to participate in discussions on U.S. policy in the Middle East and in South and Central Asia.
Vikram Singh, Senior Advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan spoke about issues that have complicated development, economic, and political growth in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Karen Volker, Director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, discussed U.S. diplomatic efforts, such as educational exchanges aimed to reform and strengthen societies in the Middle East.
For more information on the topics discussed during this program, see the links below:
Session 7: Global Young Leaders Visit the State Department
WASHINGTON, DC, July 28 -- 350 high school students from around the world involved in the Global Young Leaders Conference visited the State Department to discuss the Department's initiative to incorporate innovation and technology as tools to promote diplomacy. Alec Ross, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State on Innovation and Technology spoke to students about his career and how technology is becoming a useful and effective tool in American diplomacy.
The Global Young Leaders Conference has visited the State Department throughout the summer; they will conclude their summer program with a final briefing on August 4 th . For information about the Global Young Leader's previous six sessions at the Department of State visit the web site of the State Department's Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Students Engage State Department Officials on Foreign Policy Issues
WASHINGTON, DC, July 23 --15 undergraduate and graduate students participating in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Political Science Summer Program visited the State Department to engage a variety of State Department officials on foreign policy issues related to their academic majors. William Burke-White, Member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, provided the students with a general overview of the State Department’s mission and functions. He discussed his role in the Office of Policy Planning, the internal think of the State Department, and the offices ability to find ways to unite cross-cultural, regional and international issues.
The students also met with Susan Snyder, Merida Initiative Coordinator, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, for an insightful exchange. Ms. Snyder cited Mexico as an example of how deeply rooted and widespread the issue of drug trafficking and violence is within different countries. She discussed the implementation of the Merida Initiative to counteract these problems.
Scott Smith, Recruitment Specialist, Bureau of Human Resources, discussed with the students the wide array of internships and career opportunities the State Department offers. He enthusiastically described his career experiences and the process of applying for and becoming a Foreign Service Officer.
Nanda Chitre, Senior Adviser, in the Bureau of Public Affairs explained her current duties and outlined her career achievements in Washington, D.C. at various federal agencies, working on political campaigns, and at the White House. Ms. Chitre emphasized the need for students who want to succeed and work in Washington, D.C. to be open-minded and comfortable with change.
Finally, the students were able to experience a live Daily Press Briefing with Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs, Philip J. Crowley and see first-hand how State Department officials handle such challenging questions from foreign and domestic journalists regarding international relations.
For more information on the topics discussed during this program, see the links below:
Student Leaders Engage Policy Makers on Foreign Policy
National Student Leadership Conference Students Visit the State Department
WASHINGTON, DC, July 22 — A group of 60 U.S. high school students participating in the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) International Diplomacy program visited the U.S. Department of State. The NSLC program provides students with the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. to examine current issues facing the global community and to participate in a simulation of the United Nations in New York City.
Peter Harrell, a member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff, addressed the students on U.S. foreign policy priorities. He led a discussion on the foreign policy challenges facing the United States today and in the future including the war in Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation issues with Iran, and ensuring a successful outcome in Iraq. Mr. Harrell outlined a number of other key Administration issues -- civil society in the 21 st century, women's empowerment, and 21 st century statecraft.
In his current position, Mr. Harrell is responsible for transnational crime, narcotics, privacy, rule-of-law, and a variety of legal issues.
Global Young Leaders-Session 6 Visit the State Department
WASHINGTON, DC, July 21 --The State Departments’ David Bame, Director of Public Affairs in the Department’s Bureau of International Organizations spoke to students participating in the Global Young Leaders Conference: Session 6. Mr. Bame engaged students in a discussion focused on diplomacy, decision making and smart power. He spoke to students about how effective decision making happens and his own experiences over his 20 year career in the Foreign Service.
He previously served in the Office of the Special Advisor for the Gulf and Southwest Asia and as the Director of the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Mr. Bame has also twice served in the Department's Operations Center, including as Senior Watch Officer on September 11, 2001, and as Iraq Desk Officer (1995-97).
The Global Young Leaders Conference will visit the State Department for two final sessions; we look forward to meeting Sessions 7 & 8!
American University Community of Scholar Students Visit the U.S. Department of State
WASHINGTON, DC, July 19— U.S. high school students participating in the American University Community of Scholars met with Department officials to discuss U.S. foreign policy priorities and the Department's use of social media to amplify U.S. foreign policy goals.
Thomas Engle, Director, Office of Monetary Affairs, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, spoke with students about U.S. foreign policy priorities in the Obama Administration, including the monitoring of nuclear weapons programs and peace in the Middle East. He also discussed measures taken by the Obama Administration to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan.
Luke Forgerson, Managing Editor of DipNote, U.S. Department of State's official blog, discussed how the Department uses social media to connect people to one another across international borders and increase communication and diplomatic efforts between countries. He also discussed how DipNote is used to keep the public up-to-date on the Secretary's travels and other foreign policy initiatives.
American University Community of Scholars is a program that brings students interested in international relations to Washington, D.C. to expand their knowledge of foreign affairs. Students attend briefings and participate in simulation exercises, including a mock United Nations debate.
Thomas Engle currently serves as Director, Office of Monetary Affairs, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs . He is a career economic Foreign Service officer and has served in U.S. embassies in China, Japan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Luke Forgerson has served as Managing Editor, DipNote, U.S. Department of State's official blog, since 2008. He previously served as a Public Affairs Specialist in the Office of Public Liaison, Bureau of Public Affairs, and as an Information Specialist in the Office of European Union and Regional Affairs.
University of California Santa Barbara Students Visit the U.S. Department of State
WASHINGTON, DC, July 16 — University of California Santa Barbara students serving as interns in Washington, D.C. for the summer met with State Department officials to discuss U.S. efforts to promote and protect freedom and democracy and career opportunities within the Department.
Courtney Austrian, Director, Office of Strategic Planning and External Affairs, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, spoke with students about how the Department defines human rights based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and issues reports to determine where countries, including the United States, rank on a global scale in protecting human rights. She discussed government programs that have been established to help those fighting for human rights and democracy, including the Human Rights Democracy Fund, which provides funding and foreign assistance to countries that work to minimize human rights violations and support democracy. She also talked with students about the Department's work to promote internet freedom in countries where governments restrict citizens' use of social media to report human rights abuses and political injustice. Students also met with Scott Smith, Bureau of Human Resources , for a discussion of student programs and career opportunities within the Department.
Courtney Austrian currently serves as Director, Office of Strategic Planning and External Affairs, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor . She is a Public Diplomacy officer in the U.S. Foreign Service and has served in U.S. embassies in Haiti, Syria, Russia, and Ukraine.
Scott Smith is Foreign Service officer serving in the Bureau of Human Resources and has previously served in Colombia, Japan, and Guatemala.
U.S. Department of State Hosts a Conference Call on Haiti:
A Status Update on Recovery and Reconstruction Efforts Six Months After the Earthquake
Washington, DC, July 15 – Officials from the U.S. Department of State discussed U.S. efforts in support of the Haitian people and the Haitian Government as they work to rebuild their country after the devastating earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010. Participants on the call included Haitian-Americans as well as representatives from various nongovernmental organizations.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Cheryl Benton served as the moderator. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Caribbean and Central American Affairs Julissa Reynoso and Public Affairs Counselor Embassy Port-au-Prince Jerome Oetgen updated the group and answered questions.
At the sixth month mark since the earthquake in Haiti, this conversation was an opportunity for State Department officials to reassure Haitian-Americans of the U.S. government's continuing support and assistance in short and long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts. Speakers laid out the efforts and accomplishments of the people and Government of Haiti, of the international community, and of the U.S. Government since the earthquake. They also acknowledged the long and difficult path to sustainable development and stressed the U.S. Government and international partners' commitment to helping realize the vision of the Government of Haiti set forward in their Action Plan for National Recovery and Development.
This call is part of a larger long-term outreach strategy on behalf of the State Department to communicate with Haitian-Americans and members of nongovernmental organizations who are helping with reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
Students from the Maryland Leadership Institute Visit the State Department Gaining New Perspectives on Foreign Policy Issues
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14 --33 undergraduate international relations students participating in the University of Maryland's Leadership Institute this summer visited the State Department to hear presentations on a variety of foreign policy issues. Jon Tollefson, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of African Affairs, spoke to the students about the current conditions and issues facing Somalia. He discussed the various initiatives the United States and other members of the international community are engaging in to improve the political and economic contours of Somalia in order to resolve the threat of piracy. Furthermore, he emphasized the need for an African Union mission or African led efforts to improve conditions in Somalia and also answered intriguing questions concerning the impact of industries and clan groups on Somalia's economic, social and political progress.
The students also received an insightful presentation by Sue Saarnio, Deputy Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, who presented on the National Export Initiative and how this initiative can create jobs for Americans. Ms. Saarnio described the importance of small and medium enterprises in America. Furthermore, she stressed the need to increase markets internationally rather than domestically in order for these enterprises to make money and thrive because of the high consumer interest abroad compared to domestic consumer interest. She also discussed the Initiative's ability to overcome the trade barriers and other limits to U.S. export products.
Finally, the students were presented with an overview of human rights issues by Edward Grulich, the Deputy Director of the Office of Europe and Africa, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He touched upon the different human rights that are consistently violated in the international community and went into much detail about the Annual Global Report on Human Rights, including the content, data collection and synthesis processes.
For more information on this topic, see the links below:
Counter-Piracy Policy: Delivering Judicial Consequences
Assistant Secretary Andrew Shapiro, Political-Military Affairs, March 31
International Counter Piracy Efforts
Office of Plans, Policy and Analysis, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Remarks during the U.S.-Angola Strategic Partnership Dialogue Memorandum of Understanding Ceremony Signing
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, July 8
U.S.-Egypt Commitment to Entrepreneurship
Philip L. Verveer, Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, June 22
U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue Briefing
Assistant Secretary Michael H. Posner, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Advancing Freedom and Democracy Reports for Countries, May 2010
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Global Young Leaders-Session 5 Visit the State Department
WASHINGTON, DC, July 14— Students from 40 different countries participating in the Global Young Leaders Conference visited the State Department to discuss foreign policy with Jose Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Economics, Energy and Business. Assistant Secretary Fernandez spoke about the National Export Initiative and internet freedom, as well as other U.S. foreign policy priorities.
The Global Young Leaders Conference will visit the State Department several more times throughout the summer; we look forward to meeting Sessions 6-8!
Global Young Leaders-Session 4 Visit the State Department
WASHINGTON, DC, July 7— Reuben Brigety, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, addressed the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC) summer speaker series with an engaging discussion on refugee situations worldwide. Mr. Brigety spoke with students about specific refugee conditions such as in Darfur, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He also touched on overall diplomacy and how the United States works to solve the multifaceted issues faced by refugees and displaced people all over the world.
The Global Young Leaders Conference will visit the State Department several more times throughout the summer; stay tuned for more information!
National Student Leadership Conference Students Visit the State Department
WASHINGTON, DC, July 7 — A group of U.S. high school students participating in the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) International Diplomacy program visited the U.S. Department of State. Students in this program are provided with an opportunity to gain leadership skills by exploring current issues facing the global community.
Tamir Waser, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, spoke to the students about his career with the State Department. Mr. Waser is a career foreign service officer who has served at U.S. Embassies in Latvia, Sierra Leone, Australia, and Colombia. He led a discussion on the Department's mission and functions in support of U.S. citizens.
LeadAmerica Students Discuss U.S. Policy Towards Iran During a Visit to the State Department
WASHINGTON, DC, July 6 — U.S. high school students participating in the LeadAmerica Congressional Student Leadership Conference engaged in a discussion of U.S. policy towards Iran while visiting the State Department. Jillian Burns, Acting Director, Office of Iranian Affairs , spoke with students about the use of diplomacy to further negotiations and to improve U.S. relationship with Iran. She also talked with students about President Obama's recent signing of the Iran Sanctions Act and the United Nations P5+1 commitment to enforcing Resolution 1929 .
LeadAmerica is a program that brings U.S. high school students from across the country to Washington, D.C. to develop leadership skills through visits with government officials. Students also participate in diplomatic simulation exercises at Georgetown and American Universities.
Jillian Burns currently serves as the Acting Director for the Office of Iranian Affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs . She is a Foreign Service officer who has served in U.S. embassies in Poland, Jordan, and Dubai and as Senior Watch Officer in the State Department Operations Center. She will return to her position as a member of the Policy Planning Staff following her assignment in the Office of Iranian Affairs.
"A Status Update on Jamaica"
U.S. Department of State Hosts Conference Call with Caribbean Diaspora Community
Washington, DC, July 1 – Officials from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) discussed U.S. efforts in support of the government of Jamaica and other neighboring countries via conference call. Participants on the call included members of the Jamaican and Caribbean Diaspora communities as well as representatives from nongovernmental organizations.
Julissa Reynoso, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Caribbean and Central American Affairs, and Gonzalo Gallegos, Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs provided remarks and answered questions as representatives from the State Department. Robert Boncy, Regional Desk Officer in the Office of Caribbean Affairs, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean answered questions as the representative from USAID.
As a follow-up to a previous call held in May 2010, this call served as an update on the situation in Jamaica and neighboring Caribbean countries. Questions were asked regarding U.S. efforts to work with the Jamaican government to promote jobs and socio-economic advancement both in Jamaica and in surrounding Caribbean countries. Participants also asked about ways in which the diaspora community can partner with the U.S. government to combat drug trafficking and crime in the region. This conference call was part of a larger long-term outreach strategy on behalf of the State Department to engage with members of the Caribbean Diaspora community.
Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States W. Lewis Amselem Discussed the 2010 OAS General Assembly
Washington, DC, July 1-– Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States W. Lewis Amselem discussed the 2010 OAS General Assembly with approximately 36 representatives of nongovernmental organizations.
As a follow-up to the 2010 Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Lima, Peru, Mr. Amselem outlined the key issues raised at the 40th OAS General Assembly, including its theme of, “Peace, Security, and Cooperation.” He explained the major issues addressed, including discussions surrounding Venezuela, financial reform, the Merida Initiative, and election reform, among many others. Although Peru requested that the 2010 OAS General Assembly not become a public debate on Honduras, Mr. Amselem clarified that side meetings were held to discuss the current issues surrounding Honduras.
A particular highlight of the General Assembly was Secretary Clinton’s speech in which she discussed the importance of meeting the OAS’s goals of strengthening democratic institutions, safeguarding human rights, promoting inclusive development, and enhancing multidimensional security.