About the Author: Ruth Bennett serves as an Editor and Community Manager at DipNote.
People across the United States -- as well as Americans overseas -- celebrated Thanksgiving this week, and DipNote featured stories from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe that reminded us of some of the things for which we are thankful. In Afghanistan, we learned about progress in the district of Marjah, in Helmand Province. We saw how an upgrade to the Kabul National Cricket Stadium can bring together Afghan young people -- boys and girls alike -- from different backgrounds and unite them in pride. And we heard directly from some of these young adults as they addressed audiences in Italy, outlining progress in their country, acknowledging the work that remains, and explaining the need for continuing international support.
News of hope continued with this important step forward in HIV prevention. In Haiti, we looked forward to free, fair, and transparent presidential and legislative elections -- taking place today -- and in Sudan, we discussed preparations for "a peaceful, on-time referendum that reflects the will of the Southern Sudanese people." Frequent DipNote blogger Sharon Hudson-Dean described the visit of an expert on constitutional issues to Zimbabwe, as well as all that's at stake -- and could be gained -- as that country considers adopting a new constitution.
Over Thanksgiving, we brought you President Obama's holiday proclamation, as well as stories of celebration far from home: trivia contests in Iceland, anyone? How about turkey and mashed potatoes in Kolkata? Finally, our "Photo of the Week," from the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay, summed up in one beautiful image the connection between service and gratitude.
November 25th isn't just Thanksgiving, it's also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Over the next two weeks -- the "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence" -- we'll be bringing you more stories of what embassies and consulates around the world are doing to help address this entrenched and endemic global problem that impedes human rights, economic progress, and political stability around the world. We began with Pakistan, where the United States is sponsoring training for female police officers. We also asked for your thoughts in our "Question of the Week": How can men and boys work to prevent and address gender-based violence? Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer will be moderating a discussion panel on that very topic tomorrow (Monday) morning at 10:30 a.m. EST. Please tune in to the live webcast on state.gov, and then join us on DipNote to share your reactions and ideas. We look forward to hearing from you.