In his first major foreign policy address as Secretary of State, John Kerry spoke at the University of Virginia on February 20, 2013 and emphasized that: "In today’s global world, there is no longer anything foreign about foreign policy."
Secretary Kerry believes that the everyday lives of the American people are now more intertwined with the lives of citizens in countries throughout the world than ever before. He stressed that: "In the global challenges of diplomacy, development, economic security, environmental security, you will feel our success or failure just as strongly as those people in those other countries that you’ll never meet."
The Secretary’s Office of the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs (S/SRGIA) enacts Secretary Kerry’s view by building ties between states and territories, cities and counties, and tribal communities. In April 2013, S/SRGIA, in collaboration with our Brazilian partners, celebrated the one year anniversary of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of the United States and the Federal Republic of Brazil to Support State and Local Cooperation.
In November 2012, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa led a delegation of business and city leaders to Brazil to showcase Los Angeles business opportunities. This trade mission resulted in AECOM, a multinational company headquartered in Los Angeles, winning the competition to build a new Olympic Park in Brazil.
S/SRGIA has also worked closely with the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) to engage cities and establish subnational linkages between U.S. mayors and their counterparts around the world.
In April 2013, S/SRGIA co-convened a meeting with International Organization Affairs, (IO) and USCM to develop a nationwide campaign in cities to combat discrimination and promote tolerance.
Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, (IO) participated in this meeting at the U.S. Department of State which was also attended by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Environmental, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) David Killion, and Tom Cochran, Executive Director of the U.S. Conferences of Mayors (USCM).
They agreed to facilitate a partnership as well as launch this initiative led by Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell during the USCM’s "Coalition of Cities against Racism" event to be held in Birmingham, AL in September 2013.
In March 2013, Special Representative Lewis led a U.S. delegation to Brazil to advance the U.S.–Brazil Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation to Support the Organization of Major Global Sporting Events that was signed in 2011. The delegation included, Michelle Kwan, a decorated Olympian, who currently serves as senior advisor for public diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State, and Ed Foster-Simeon, president, U.S. Soccer Foundation.
While in Brasilia, the delegation members met Brasilia Governor Agnelo Queiroz and his ministers as well as the Federal Minister of Sports Aldo Rebelo. These meetings expanded opportunities for partnerships between the United States and Brazilian state and local officials and the private sector. It was a great opportunity to talk about the U.S. commitment to assist Brazil in a wide range of areas, which include collaboration on youth development and training; women in sports; social and racial inclusion, accessibility; English language training; cultural exchanges; and security. Additionally, the delegation met with Senators Paulo Paim and Ana Amelia of Rio Grande do Sul and Cyro Miranda of Goias.
During a Symposium on Security held in New Orleans in May 2013, our office, in collaboration with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Mission Brazil, and the Embassy of Brazil in Washington, convened officials from the Brazilian states which will host 2014 FIFA World Cup Games and U.S. law enforcement leaders who organized and supported Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
The symposium coincided with the Seventh Annual World Cultural Economic Forum in New Orleans that convenes leaders from around the world to shape the international discussion on culture. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, announced that Frente Nacional de Prefeitos (FNP), the Brazilian Mayor’s association, will develop a partnership with U.S. mayors while in Las Vegas later this year.
During the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP-18) held in Doha, Qatar in December 2012, the U.S. Department of State hosted a panel discussion at the U.S. Center. Special Representative Lewis led the dialogue entitled, "Actions at the Local Level: Integrating Energy, Climate, and Economic Development," which focused on the nexus between economic security and climate change at the subnational level.
The panel was comprised of representatives from the Office of California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Center for Climate Strategies. The state and local panelists provided unique perspectives on the role of cities in combating climate change while ensuring economic security at the local level.
While at COP-18, Special Representative Lewis also participated in an ICLEI event entitled, "Cities Hold the Key to Doha Climate Gateway." She discussed the integral role that state and local officials play in bringing about lasting and sustainable policies to combat climate change in our increasingly urban world. Subnational representatives from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, and Japan also participated in the ICLEI event.
In December 2012, Special Representative Lewis participated in the Ambassador’s Investment Forum in Beijing, China. Ambassador Gary Locke brought together 150 of China’s top investors with representatives from 25 U.S. cities and states. American law firms, consultancies, investment banks, and public relations firms also participated to provide Chinese partners information about investment opportunities in their respective cities and states. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, delivered remarks at the forum and underscored that local communities in the United States are eager to attract investments from China.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick met with Secretary Kerry and other officials at the U.S. Department of State in preparation for his trade mission to the Republic of Colombia, February 16-19, 2013.
The Governor’s trade mission promoted job creation and the desire to expand the economic engagement and opportunities between Massachusetts and Colombia. The mission also highlighted the partnership between the United States and Colombia on issues such as innovation, life sciences, and clean energy economy. The Governor’s delegation included Massachusetts business executives and government leaders. Governor Patrick and his delegation met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, leaders from the Colombian business community and Captain Alfonso Salas Trujillo, the President of Port Society of Cartagena.
During their meeting, Governor Patrick and President Calderon signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize collaboration between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Republic of Colombia focused on science, technology, and innovation. This agreement will enhance scientific and technological development and economic activity, while promoting collaboration and partnership among private and public institutions and universities. Furthermore, the agreement will encourage mutual cooperation around clean energy issues, including nonconventional renewable energy, energy efficiency, and demand and response to water innovation technology.
"It is essential for governing bodies around the globe to be inclusive and representative and that we must meet this challenge at the state and local levels so that women will be a voice for their communities, states, and nations."
- Special Representative Reta Jo Lewis
In January 2013, Special Representative Lewis joined more than 300 women in Paris, France for the Global Conference of Local Elected Women. Deputy Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, Chair of UCLG Standing Committee on Gender Equality, convened elected women leaders from Europe, Chile, China, India, Ivory Coast, the Philippines, and Senegal, around the theme, "Gender Equality (UCLG), a Priority for Global Development."
During the round table discussion entitled, "Participation of Women in Local Decision-Making," Special Representative Lewis underscored that the mission of increasing women’s participation in decision-making at the local level is vital to achieving development goals.
The Conference passed a resolution that stressed the important step undertaken by UCLG to transform the Gender Equality Committee into a permanent body of the organization. Conference delegates applauded the crucial role played by the African network, Réseau des Femmes Elues Locales d’Afrique (REFELA), who also championed the resolution and the immediate support received by the UCLG President.
Additionally, Special Representative Lewis also met with Michele Sabban, President of the Assembly of European Regions, while in Paris to discuss further collaboration of European cities and with their counterparts in the United States.
Special Representative Lewis with representatives of the Bureau of European Affairs, met with Deputy Prime Minister Ilshat Taz-hitdinov and his delegation from the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan in February 14, 2013, to discuss trade, education exchange, and continued relations with the Republic.
Special Representative Lewis met with a visiting delegation from Hungary who were participating in ECA’s International Visiting Leadership Program on February 6, 2013 to discuss collaborating with U.S. state and local leaders.
S/SRGIA, in partnership with the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, hosted Governor Agnelo Queiroz of the Federal Distrcit of Basilia and his delegation at the Department of State on March 18, 2013. This dialogue provided six U.S. agencies the opportunity to discuss with him how to leverage economic development opportunities surrounding Brasilia’s mega-sporting opportunities, including the 2014 World Cup Game to be hosted in Brasilia, and how the U.S. might support him in these efforts.
The FIFA World Cup in Brazil will run from Thursday June 12, 2014 to Sunday July 13, 2014. The games will be held in 12 cities across Brazil.
From Wednesday, May 1, 2013 there are 403 days until kick off!
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Office of the S/Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs