Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. will travel to South Asia, marking Under Secretary Otero’s inaugural trip to the region since she assumed her new duties as Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. During this travel Under Secretary Otero and Assistant Secretary Blake will consult with a broad cross section of government and civil society leaders on a range of issues including education and youth programs, trafficking in persons, and peace, accountability and reconciliation processes.
Under Secretary Otero and Assistant Secretary Blake will travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka February 12-14. In Sri Lanka, Under Secretary Otero and Assistant Secretary Blake will meet with a broad spectrum of Sri Lankan government officials and attend a luncheon hosted by Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris. Under Secretary Otero and Assistant Secretary Blake will also meet with civil society representatives, youth groups, and political leaders.
Following her visit to Sri Lanka, Under Secretary Otero will travel to New Delhi, India February 14-15 to meet with senior government officials, civil society representatives and youth leaders. She will engage on a range of issues including trafficking in persons, refugees, and regional security. Under Secretary Otero will then travel to Nepal February 15-16. In Kathmandu, she will meet with government and civil society leaders to discuss a number of bilateral and regional issues, including the peace process in Nepal and rule of law, steps to combat trafficking in persons, and youth engagement.
Assistant Secretary Blake will depart Colombo for Bangladesh, where he will stay February 14-16 and participate in a series of education and university events. On February 14, Assistant Secretary Blake will attend the Edward M. Kennedy Commemoration at Dhaka University. This commemoration will bring together eminent members of Bangladeshi society along with State Department alumni and youth leaders to celebrate American-Bangladeshi friendship and the 40 year anniversary of Senator Kennedy’s visit to Dhaka in 1972. While in Dhaka, Assistant Secretary Blake will also meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and other senior government officials and representatives of civil society. Assistant Secretary Blake will also travel to Chittagong, where he will attend events at the Independent University Bangladesh and Asian University for Women, and participate in a Certificate of Completion Ceremony for madrassa students who have held English language scholarships. Assistant Secretary Blake will also visit a Grameen Bank Borrower’s Group site in Bangladesh.