During the last week, many people around the world focused on three global issues that affect the daily lives of millions. Today, individuals from more than 100 countries gathered at the Newseum in Washington, DC to kick-off a series of events that continue through May 3 for World Press Freedom Day. Earlier this week, Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats addressed protecting American innovation on World Intellectual Property Day, and Admiral Timothy Ziemer marked international progress in the fight against a preventable and curable disease on World Malaria Day.
In Africa, Ambassador Eric Goosby addressed preventing HIV infections and advancing maternal health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Ambassador Melanne Verveer addressed sexual and gender-based violence in the DRC. Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson discussed recent elections in Nigeria.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz spoke about recent political developments in Libya, and U.S. officials provided an update on current humanitarian assistance efforts in North Africa. At the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice addressed the situation in Syria and condemned the violence used by the Syrian government against its own people. She also joined Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in welcoming the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Syria. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) David T. Killion participated in a high-level forum in New York, where UN officials, members of civil society, and others addressed ways to engage youth to combat violence and build peace.
Senior Advisor Mitul Desai highlighted efforts to build bridges between Bangladeshi Americans and Dhaka's business and civil society sectors. Elsewhere in the South and Central Asian region, U.S. programs are supporting the completion of the Gomal Zam Dam in Pakistan, ensuring the harvest in Kyrgyzstan, and proving school supplies to students in Afghanistan. In Washington, the United States hosted a delegation from Nepal to discuss a broad-range of issues.
The United States also hosted the U.S.-Mexico Merida High-Level Consultative Group, which has become the principal mechanism through which our governments collaborate on security issues. Cultural experts from the Western Hemisphere came to the United States to participate in an International Visitor Leadership Program exchange program and explore the heritage of the African diaspora in the Americas. Under Secretary Judith McHale spoke at the Exchanges 2.0 Summit to discuss how connection technologies afford us incredible opportunities to scale exchanges around the world. During March and April 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Peru used connection technologies to involve thousands in a digital photography contest to raise awareness of global water issues. In Washington, DC, nearly 300 people joined Under Secretary of State Maria Otero for the State Department's first six-kilometer "Walk for Water." Six kilometers represents the typical distance a woman in the developing world walks every day to collect water -- and many walk even greater distances. Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez outlined the benefits of the Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.
Assistant Secretary Fernandez also addressed the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement during a "Conversations With America" webcast, and Foreign Service Officer Tom Weinz provided an update from Tonga on U.S. efforts to foster strong multi-country relationships in the South Pacific. Secretary Clinton met with Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto in Washington, where they discussed Japan's ongoing efforts to rebuild following the devastating earthquakes and tsunami that struck the country. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those who has been affected by the recent natural disasters overseas and in the United States. USAID's Rebecca Gustafson shared the best ways U.S. citizens can help those in disaster-affected areas.