Today's photo of the week comes to us from the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, where on Valentine's Day, crew members from the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), the flagship of the United States Seventh Fleet, were greeted by pupils of the Sto. Nino Elementary School in Marikina. Members from the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marines were joined by their Filipino counterparts from the Philippine Navy for a community relations project at Sto. Nino Elementary School. The USS Blue Ridge is in Manila for a routine port call and a four-day goodwill visit that highlights the strong historic, community, and military connections between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.
The United States sponsors a multitude of activities meant to form closer bonds and create better understanding between Americans and the people in the Asia-Pacific region. For example, working with the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and partner governments, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) supports some of the longest running Fulbright exchange programs in the world, such as Thailand and the Philippines with more than 60 years of involvement. Read more about the U.S. a deep commitment to public diplomacy efforts within East Asia and the Pacific over the last century, as EAP celebrates its 100th anniversary.
It was a week of anniversaries. At a reception honoring both the 50th anniversary of the National Council of International Visitors and the 70th year of the International Visitor Leadership Program, Secretary Clinton highlighted the importance of exchange programs saying, “By helping people engage in people-to-people diplomacy, they help us deepen the fundamental goal of American public diplomacy, which is to promote mutual understanding between Americans and the people of other nations."
Secretary Clinton also said, "Now, this is all part of our larger effort to broaden the reach of our diplomacy. I believe very strongly that in the 21st century, statecraft cannot just be government-to-government. It has to be government-to-people, and most importantly, people-to-people. So we are always looking for opportunities to engage civil society, women, youth, and everyone else."