About the Author: Luke Forgerson serves as DipNote's Managing Editor.
Last week, colleagues throughout the foreign affairs community mourned the passing of Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, whom Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described as one of America's "fiercest champions and most dedicated public servants." The Secretary continued, "He served at every level of the Foreign Service and beyond, helping mentor generations of talented officers and future ambassadors. Few people have ever left larger mark on the State Department or our country. From Southeast Asia to post-Cold War Europe and around the world, people have a better chance of a peaceful future because of Richard's lifetime of service."
The Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development dedicated the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), released last week, to the memory of Ambassador Holbrooke. Secretary Clinton met with employees at the State Department and at USAID to address the QDDR, which provides a "blueprint for elevating American 'civilian power' to better advance our national interests and to be a better partner to the U.S. military." Leading through civilian power means "directing and coordinating the resources of all of America's civilian agencies to prevent and resolve conflicts; help countries lift themselves out of poverty into prosperous, stable, and democratic states; and build global coalitions to address global problems."
Ambassador Eric Goosby, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, demonstrated how the QDDR reminds us how important advancing global health is to our economic and national security. Ambassador Goosby attended the "European Development Days" conference to meet with donor and country partners to discuss our shared health and development goals. He also joined Secretary Clinton, South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane, and U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips for the signing of a landmark Partnership Framework that will guide future efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
In Pakistan, civilian efforts launched a project to help small farmers cultivate sunflowers -- part of ongoing U.S. efforts to assist with flood recovery in Pakistan. President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton Secretary of Defense Gates, and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman General Cartwright provided an update on broader efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Civilian efforts are playing a critical role in Sudan, where voter registration just concluded ahead of the January 9 vote for the Southern Sudan referendum. Meanwhile, the world's youngest democracy Kosovo held parliamentary elections, and leaders from Southeast Europe gathered to address reducing conventional weapons and munitions stockpiles in the region. This year, Iraq made great strides in overcoming threats from landmines and unexploded munitions dating back to the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Last week also saw an important milestone in the restoration of Iraq's normalized ties to the international community. During a special session chaired by Vice President Biden, the UN Security Council took steps to return Iraq to the legal and international standing it held prior to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Last week, the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and UNHCR marked a milestone of a different nature: the 40,000th Bhutanese refugee departed Nepal. To date, about 34,000 Bhutanese refugees have been resettled across the United States, the largest group currently being resettled under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. The United States also joined others around the world in recognizing International Migrants Day, a day to reaffirm commitments to tolerance and human rights.
Under Secretary Maria Otero spoke about human rights and civil society at the Organization of American States, and Secretary Clinton participated in the North American Foreign Ministers Meeting in Canada. The first TechCamp brought together 100 people from across the Americas to Chile, where they addressed ways to increase the digital capacity and literacy of civil society groups throughout the hemisphere.
Other public diplomacy efforts connected individuals through sports diplomacy in Vietnam and educational exchanges. Assistant Secretary Ann Stock shared about the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants' mid-year seminar, which brought together 418 individuals who hail from 49 countries and are teaching 31 languages at 230 colleges and universities in 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Business and trade represent another means to connect people across borders, and Ambassador David Adelman told us how U.S. Embassy Singapore is helping U.S. companies export their products to Asia. Secretary Clinton recognized U.S. businesses that are improving lives around the world. This year, the Secretary's Award for Corporate Excellence honored Denimatrix for its work in Guatemala, Mars, Inc. for its work in Ghana, and Cisco Systems for its work in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
In other news, President Obama urged the U.S. Senate to ratify the New START Treaty with Russia. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, every living Republican Secretary of State, NATO allies, and the leadership of the U.S. military have called for START's ratification, and our colleagues in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance provided answers to frequently asked questions about the New START.
Finally, as we approach the end of this year, the DipNote team asked readers, "What were the most significant international events of 2010, and why?" We look forward to seeing your responses, and wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.