On April 17, Secretary Clinton returned from her visit to Berlin, Seoul, and Tokyo. Assistant Secretary Gordon said the NATO Ministerial in Berlin was “an opportunity to consult with key allies and partners not just on Libya, but on a wide range of other bilateral and multilateral issues.”
This week, Secretary Clinton and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger participated in the first of a series called "Conversations on Diplomacy," moderated by Charlie Rose. The Secretaries reflected on their experiences as America's top diplomat and discussed the issues of the day.
Also this week, we honored 2011 as the International Year of Forests, and on April 22, we observed Earth Day. Embassies and consulates around the world, including those in Santo Domingo, Vientiane, Islamabad, and Sydney, shared stories of going green not only on Earth Day, but year round. Ambassador Verveer focused on the role of women as environmental leaders. She said, “Whether in promoting conservation, combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and vital ecosystems, securing water access, or reducing indoor air pollution, women are developing and effecting innovative solutions to critical environmental problems.”
William Strassberger described his experience on an embassy observer team, where the people of Nigeria elected Goodluck Jonathan as the next president. Secretary Clinton said, “This election represents a positive new beginning for Nigeria.”
In Washington, Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez spoke about the importance of making the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement a reality. He said, “The agreement will strengthen not only our economic relationship, not only our vital strategic alliance with Korea, but also our deep human bond with the Korean people, who already see us as one of their closest friends and most loyal partners.” If you want to join this discussion, submit your questions to DipNote to be answered in the upcoming “Conversations With America.”
Additionally, Ambassador Goosby highlighted how PEPFAR will provide $1.5 million to support global and regional civil society networks to provide technical support, strengthen collaborations, and build strong leadership and capacity in communities highly impacted by HIV; and Kristin Haworth discussed how United States is supporting life-saving programs, like the malaria eradication project, implemented by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Furthermore, USAID is helping to train women health workers and to improve health facilities in Pakistan.
Secretary Clinton repeatedly underscores the importance of student exchanges in building strong bonds of trust, friendship, and understanding. During the recent U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in Washington, the Secretary said that the United States and China would broaden U.S.-China exchanges. This week in Shanghai, Consul General Beatrice Camp commemorated the fortieth anniversary of a small U.S. delegation that visited China to help ease tensions between Washington and Beijing to usher in the age of "Ping Pong Diplomacy.” We also learned about efforts to empower women and girls through international exchanges, and a program where Pakistani students will exchange ideas, values, and experiences during their year abroad in the United States.
In other news, Assistant Secretary Robert Blake discussed his recent visit to Turkmenistan for the second annual bilateral consultations, and Consul General Niels Marquardt described his visit to Littleton, Colorado, where he celebrated the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship with Bega, Australia.
The clock continues to tick as the State Department prepares for World Press Freedom Day 2011. We will continue to share stories leading up to this year's commemoration from opening ceremony on May 1 until the closing ceremony on May 3.
We appreciate your feedback and comments, and we look forward to hearing you from you in the week ahead.