At the U.S. Department of State, we believe the best ideas are never bound by borders, relegated to singular institutions or time-limited. They are the start of a conversation rather than the end. And they have the capacity to transform our greatest challenges into opportunity.
The premise behind the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships is that uncovering the best ideas requires coordination and collaboration across industries, communities, and ideologies. We embrace holistic problem-solving approaches and believe that cautious risk-taking can help us create better solutions.
Under the leadership of Secretary of State John Kerry, the Office is expanding its efforts to support partnership building across the State Department and around the world in new and interesting ways. This first report aims to provide a glimpse at what the Department has been working on, including new and ongoing partnerships, and how we hope to grow in the future.
I hope you will be encouraged and inspired by what you see in the next few pages. And if you are, we want to know. Keep in touch with us on Twitter at @GPIAtState and Facebook to tell us about your partnership successes and ideas!
Special Representative for Global Partnerships,
The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships
A collaborative working relationship with non-governmental partners in which the goals, structure, and governance, as well as roles and responsibilities, are mutually determined and decision-making is shared.
Partnerships are characterized by:
The world is changing, and so is diplomacy and development. The challenges we face as a global community are unprecedented. Climate change, poverty, terrorism, disease, insecurity, and inequality rank among the most pressing global issues today. These challenges are often too expansive and complex to be met by any one government or organization. Creating solutions requires innovation, ingenuity, and collaboration across diverse sectors.
That’s why Secretary Kerry has prioritized partnerships as a foreign policy tool. Through public-private partnerships, we leverage the best of public and private sector resources to create practical solutions that promote shared prosperity and value, strengthen well-being and security, and uphold governance and the rule of law. These partnerships engage companies, start-ups, non-governmental organizations, foundations, faith-based organizations, universities, research centers, and civil society groups as full partners in the process of problem solving.
The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships is the entry point for collaboration at the U.S. Department of State, and serves as a:
The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships leveraged approximately $829 million in public and private resources for diplomacy and development since 2009, and worked with over 1,600 partners from around the world.
Globally, countless partnerships have been launched. In this report, we’ve selected a few standout partnerships to illustrate the impact these efforts have had, or will have, in the future. These partnerships focus on 10 central themes:
Developing Community Connections
Engaging Diaspora Communities
Expanding Opportunities for Veterans
Managing Natural Resources Sustainably
Maximizing Human Potential
Promoting & Protecting the Human Rights of LGBT Persons
Supporting Communities Post-Disaster
Embassy to Watch
In emerging markets, entrepreneurship unlocks economic potential to lift local populations out of poverty. The impact of entrepreneurship is strongest in areas where the creativity and drive of populations form the foundation for entrepreneurial activities that create sustainable economic growth. Under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships facilitates new partnerships to create, educate, and inspire entrepreneurs globally.
Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA):
LIONS@FRICA is a partnership program that mobilizes the knowledge, expertise, and resources of leading public and private institutions to encourage and enhance Africa’s technology and innovation ecosystem by investing in startup capacity building, providing access to capital, promoting connectivity with global markets, and raising credibility of the startup culture.
How it works:
Launched in 2012, LIONS@FRICA leverages the financial and in-kind resources of leading IT companies, international development organizations, technology associations, and startup accelerators and incubators across the African continent to develop flagship programs and initiatives that deliver widespread results.
“The LIONS@FRICA trip to Silicon Valley changed the way I think about my role in Nigeria’s emerging tech scene. From broadening my presentation skills to near-Jedi levels; to listening to managerial ideas by off-beat thought-leaders, I’ve learned how to dream bigger.” - Oluseye Soyode-Johnson, co-founder Maliyo Games
Promoting freedom and democracy around the world is central to U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. Department of State is committed to expanding democracy until all world citizens have the fundamental right to choose those who govern them through an on-going civil process that includes free, fair, and transparent elections. As part of this effort, the Department aims to teach youth the importance and value of the electoral process.
U.S. Embassy Election Project:
During the 2012 U.S. Presidential elections, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin rolled out a sophisticated social media project to train teachers and engage youth in an intensive three-week learning program about the American election process and culture.
How it works:
Working in partnership with local and regional universities, telecommunication firms, media companies, and foundations, the U.S. Embassy Election Project developed teacher training sessions, an intensive e-learning course, and online tutorials. Schools participating in the project adopted individual U.S. states, explored economic, cultural and political frameworks, researched past voting behavior in respective states, and were asked to make a presentation that predicted how their adopted state would vote in the election. Classes with the most dynamic presentations were recognized at an event with the U.S. Ambassador.
“At the end of the project, I’d like to thank everybody who was involved in setting up this great e-learning platform. My students and I found this to be a VERY good learning experience. When I develop my teaching materials, I usually focus on Great Britain, but because of this project I have learned a lot about U.S. politics.” - Eva Erdmann-Schwarze, teacher from Tuebingen, Germany
Some of the most innovative ideas are created when different combinations of people are placed in new surroundings and given the opportunity to meet, share experiences, and collaborate on projects of mutual interest. When an entrepreneur and an investor from two distant parts of the world connect face-to-face, or when a philanthropist discovers the work of a local organization first-hand, opportunities for collaboration are created to generate economic value, accelerate development, and deliver social benefits to communities.
Partnership Opportunity Delegations (POD):
PODs bring together diverse groups of stakeholders to cultivate new partnership opportunities, and deepen or expand ties across areas of mutual interest. The pilot POD delegation took place in November 2013 in Colombia and the inaugural delegation to Northern Ireland took place in January 2014.
How it works:
While each POD looks and feels a little different, the delegation to Colombia worked to advance the Small Business Network of the Americas–a program launched by President Obama to promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and small business growth in the Western Hemisphere. The delegation built connections to expand access to capital for small businesses in the country. The POD to Northern Ireland aimed to increase investment linkages and partnerships that promote educational, professional, and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people particularly in areas of science and technology.
“We’re going to create an environment where people can easily form personal relationships and broad networks with people from every background and every expertise. We’re also going to help them with the training and support that they need to turn their ideas into businesses, and then to bring them to scale.” -Secretary of State John Kerry, October 11, 2013
The United States is home to the largest number of global diaspora members of any country in the world. Indeed, virtually all Americans have immigrant roots—and these roots are a quintessential part of our national narrative. As informal ambassadors for the United States in their countries of origin, the diplomatic and developmental influence of global diaspora communities has been largely overlooked.
International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA):
IdEA is a unique platform for promoting diaspora-centered initiatives in countries and regions of diaspora origin, heritage, or affinity. Launched by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the partnership engages global diaspora communities, the private sector, civil society, and public institutions in collaborative efforts to support economic and social development.
How it works:
IdEA connects diaspora communities with opportunities to give back to their countries of origin or ancestry. IdEA’s activities are organized around three principal pillars: investment and entrepreneurship; innovation; and philanthropy and volunteerism. IdEA, together with its partners, designs initiatives that reflect the goals of the partnership and allow diasporas to give back to countries of affinity.
“It should be no surprise that our diaspora communities are one of our most important resources. They are our people-to-people ambassadors to far-away places and uniquely help bridge both geographic and cultural divides. They are changing the way governments and non-governmental organizations approach international development.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, May 14, 2013
Secretary Kerry has been a passionate advocate for the men and women that have answered their country's call to service. As a decorated Navy veteran, he has worked tirelessly to create opportunities for those that have sacrificed so much for the good of so many. Recognizing that veterans have a tremendous amount of relevant experience in the field of international relations, the Secretary has championed and prioritized the training and employment of U.S. veterans in foreign affairs-related positions.
Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP):
Under Secretary Kerry’s leadership, the Secretary’s Office of the Global Partnerships launched VIP to expand opportunities for military veterans. This innovative public-private partnership assists American veterans in reaching their career goals, and prepares them for careers in diplomacy and development by providing education, training, and employment resources and expertise.
How it works:
VIP creates and deploys strategic partnerships between the U.S. government and the U.S. private sector to mobilize resources and build networks that create foreign affairs-related education, training, and employment opportunities for veterans. The VIP Fellowship provides qualified veterans a one-year paid fellowship within one of four U.S. government international affairs agencies.
“The Veterans Innovation Partnership – VIP, as we are calling it – is not about just what the State Department can do for veterans. It’s really based on the notion that veterans can do a lot for the State Department, and that we would be foolish not to try to reach out and harness the talent that exists.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, October 31, 2013
For the last half-century, the U.S. Department of State has cultivated mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by fostering international exchanges. Over 170 countries participate in these exchange programs that break down cultural barriers, address U.S. foreign policy priorities, and generate synergistic opportunities around the globe.
An exciting new exchange model has emerged in Japan.
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Japan’s northeastern Tohoku coast. It triggered a devastating tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead, destroyed coastal communities, and activated a nuclear crisis. The emergency situation prompted a massive U.S. military emergency response called “Operation TOMODACHI.” After the immediate crisis had passed, the U.S. Embassy in Japan launched the TOMODACHI Initiative in coordination with the U.S.-Japan Council. The Initiative is a public-private partnership that invests in the next generation of Japanese leaders by fostering educational and cultural exchanges, and by facilitating leadership programs for youth impacted by the disaster.
How it works:
The TOMODACHI Initiative builds partnerships with businesses, organizations, communities, and individuals passionate about fostering people-to-people exchanges for rising leaders under the age of 35. TOMODACHI’s objectives are to increase the number of U.S. and Japanese students studying in each other’s countries; promote cultural awareness and exposure between the U.S. and Japan; support programs in academics, language, sports, and culture; and expand opportunities and support for future leaders. Partners support this goal directly through financial, human, and in-kind resources.
“I had lost many, important things in the Great East Japan Earthquake, and I wanted to not let it stop me but rather to go to America to gain what I had lost. TOMODACHI gave me that chance to study abroad.” - Atsuko Arimoto, an exchange student from Okuma City, Fukushima prefecture in Baltimore, MD
Growing populations, expanding economies, and climate change put natural resources, and the environment, under increasing pressure. Environmental challenges cross borders and impact the health, safety and livelihoods of communities around the world. Water-energy-food nexus issues underpin a few of the greatest development and diplomatic challenges of our time. Water scarcity and global water security is quickly becoming a key development challenge and an issue requiring a whole-of-U.S. solution. By adopting a partnership approach to these challenges we can leverage the expertise and resources needed to design solutions to sustainably manage water resources.
U.S. Water Partnership (USWP):
U.S. expertise in water resources management is widely recognized around the world. Launched by the U.S. Department of State in 2012, the USWP unites and mobilizes the best of U.S. expertise, resources, and ingenuity to address global water challenges, especially where needs are greatest.
How it works:
The USWP has eight signature initiatives to streamline access to America’s water knowledge and resources.
“Access to safe water is essential for our company and our world. The sustainability of water resources is a top priority… We are honored to support the U.S. Water Partnership while being a catalyst for sustainable water access solutions in Africa.” - Bea Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
Too often ideas with the greatest potential to make a sustainable, tangible impact on society and our environment go overlooked. And yet these ideas and solutions, with a bit of guidance from experts and entrepreneurs, have the ability to contribute to solving critical challenges in areas such as health, waste, energy, materials, and sustainable production.
LAUNCH aims to identify and support innovative work that is poised to contribute to a sustainable future and accelerate solutions to meet urgent challenges facing our society. The partnership leverages linkages with government, corporations, investment, sustainability and global development organizations to identify, source, and accelerate business and technological innovations that maximize human potential and transform problems into solutions and opportunity.
How it works:
The U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and NASA have partnered with NIKE to form LAUNCH. Part crowd-sourced intelligence, part technology mentorship, and part business accelerator, LAUNCH was created in 2010 to seek out visionaries, whose world-class ideas, technologies, or programs show great promise for making tangible impacts on some of our greatest sustainability challenges. Each year LAUNCH selects 10 innovators to help bring to market solutions that address a major sustainability "challenge.”
"We recognize that to bring truly meaningful change, we need to focus on innovation at a system-wide level, not only on incremental changes. That is why through 2020 LAUNCH, we will identify and scale innovations that have the potential to transform the system of materials and manufacturing." - Santiago Gowland, General Manager, Sustainable Business and Innovation, Nike
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face serious and acute human rights abuses globally. Around the world, members of the LGBT community continue to face violence and persecution because of who they are and who they love. In some countries the “crime” of being LGBT carries a penalty of death. In 78 countries, same-sex relations by consenting adults are considered a crime.
Global Equality Fund:
In 2011, the U.S. Department of State launched the Global Equality Fund to protect and advance the human rights of LGBT persons by supporting civil society organizations to protect human rights defenders, challenge discriminatory legislation, undertake advocacy campaigns, and document human rights violations that target the LGBT community.
How it works:
The Global Equality Fund connects governments, the private sector and international organizations with a shared goal to provide emergency assistance, skills and capacity through programs that provide technical assistance, and promote tolerance and acceptance within communities.
“We have a moral obligation to stand in pride with LGBT individuals and advocates. We have a moral obligation to decry the marginalization and persecution of LGBT persons. And we have a moral obligation to promote societies that are more just, more fair, and tolerant.” - Secretary of State John Kerry, June 19, 2013
Natural disasters, humanitarian disasters, and conflict can occur at any time. While the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships continuously seeks ways to better prepare and plan for disasters, public-private partnerships are one way in which we create rapid response to disasters, and ensure that the good will of private sector partners is directed to areas where there is the greatest need.
American Community CSR Forum:
In early 2013, the U.S. Embassy in Manila launched a new partnership with American companies operating locally, and investing in corporate social responsibility (CSR). The Embassy brought greater cohesion to its CSR activities by mapping them out. As part of these activities, the Embassy developed a "Playbook for Disaster Relief." This playbook includes a set of principles detailing how the Embassy and the business community can best communicate in a disaster scenario, with the Embassy providing the best information it has on government relief efforts, and providing private sector companies with vital information on what they can contribute during a disaster.
How it works:
The American Community CSR Forum is a partnership between the U.S. Embassy, the American Chamber of Commerce, and American companies investing in CSR in the Philippines. While the Forum has had a number of successes, its most important accomplishment to date has been in the wake of a disaster.
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan—known as Yolanda in the Philippines—made landfall in the central Philippines, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that resulted in flooding, landslides, and widespread damage. The storm affected an estimated 9.7 million people and damaged or destroyed an estimated 1.1 million homes across affected areas. The U.S. Embassy in Manila was prepared to act. The Embassy immediately approached the Philippines Government, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. military, and international organizations with a list of resources companies had available to offer.
"Thanks again for your partnership and leadership during these dark hours. Count on Coca-Cola and me personally to continue driving and influencing others to continue this positive efforts to help so many Filipinos that lost everything." - Name withheld
Our U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development colleagues around the world never cease to amaze with their ingenuity and creativity in building public-private partnerships that amplify the impact of traditional diplomacy and development programming. The breadth and scope of partnerships being built around the world is nothing short of amazing. But one Embassy stood out from the rest: the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.
Under the leadership of U.S. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne, Embassy Mexico engages in a wide range of partnerships that deepen and strengthen the U.S.-Mexico relationship. These include partnerships that enhance regional competitiveness, improve environmental sustainability, protect natural resources, promote youth leadership among at-risk youth, develop indigenous leadership opportunities, advance science and technology education, and promote cultural exchange through music and pop culture.
Given its tremendous successes in partnership building, the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships designates the U.S. Embassy in Mexico as an “Embassy to Watch.”
Congratulations and keep up the good work.
Some Partnership Successes:
We’d like to thank our partners for their commitment and dedication to promoting and strengthening diplomacy and development outcomes through their affiliation with the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships: