DipNote: The Week in Review

June 20, 2011
Secretary Clinton Meets With Patients and Health Workers

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton returned from her trip to Africa. In Ethiopia, Secretary Clinton became the first United States Secretary of State to address the African Union. She discussed democracy, economic growth, and peace and security. Secretary Clinton said, “All three are critical for a thriving region. All three must be the work both of individual nations and communities of nations. And all three present challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities we must address together."

On her stops in Zambia and Tanzania, Secretary Clinton visited sites supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), where she reaffirmed America's commitment to fighting AIDS and advancing global health. With Tanzanian Prime Minister Pinda, Secretary Clinton launched Feed the Future and highlighted the connections between agriculture and nutrition, with special attention to the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child's second birthday. USAID's Paul Weisenfeld addressed U.S. efforts during this critical time period for mothers and children.

NBA Star Samuel Dalembert and WNBA All-Star Nykesha Sales highlighted the importance of children's nutrition during UNICEF's annual Haitian Children's Week. Serving as Sports Envoys, the two visited the University Hospital of Haiti, where they toured the rebuilt nutrition center and visited with children and premature infants.

In other global health news, USAID's Chris Thomas and Ryan Cherlin described how the United States, which has long recognized the moral imperative and the inherent economic value of vaccines and immunization, played a lead role in founding and supporting the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). Similarly, Deputy Assistant Secretary Cook recently spoke at a conference of the Global Health Council emphasizing the importance of collaborative engagement among and between the United Nations, member states, and other stakeholders to tackle the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes) around the world.

Special Representative Lewis shared how the United States is gearing up for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, while the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) is preparing for the UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris. Our colleagues in the IO Bureau wanted to share some of the impressive video submissions that young Americans sent as part of application process to represent the United States at the Youth Forum.

In Pakistan, Deputy Secretary Nides met with young alumni of U.S.-sponsored academic exchange programs. Meanwhile, the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board held its 251st quarterly meeting, and Board Chair Anita McBride described how the Fulbright Program is uniquely positioned to address the major challenges of this century, including in the areas of research and science.

Last week, the Department of State hosted over 100 representatives of the private sector, science organizations, governments, educators, and academia to ponder how to encourage women and girls to engage in science, technology, engineering, and math careers (STEM), and how to keep them in those careers.

The State Department also hosted some of the world's most influential bloggers, including the Middle East and Africa. One blogger from the Middle East said, "Our blogs are our voice, and our voices are finally being heard.” In an op-ed on Friday, Secretary Clinton condemned the violent crackdown in Syria and called for a transition to democracy.

In other news, Assistant Secretary Blake highlighted progress on the U.S.-Kyrgyzstan relationship following the inaugural session of U.S.-Kyrgyz Annual Bilateral Consultations (ABC). And our dedicated Foreign Service Liaison Officer for Pacific Partnership Tom Weinz shared with us Lieutenant Commander Casey Mahon's perspective on this annual humanitarian mission.

In the week ahead, Secretary Clinton will travel to Guatemala and Jamaica to participate in the International Conference of Support for the Central American Security Strategy and to meet with her Caribbean counterparts following her recent meeting with Jamaican Prime Minister Golding and last year's Caribbean Ministerial Meeting in Barbados. Fittingly, Secretary Clinton's travel to the region coincides with National Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

In anticipation of World Refugee Day on June 20, Assistant Secretary Schwartz held a conversation with George Rupp, President and CEO of the International Refugee Committee, on helping the world's refugees. For the past two weeks, we have featured stories of State Department employees who were once refugee themselves, including Anya Yakhedts Brunson, Azadeh Mansouri, Konstantin Dubrovsky, Shamim Kazemi, Stacey Somsichack, and Andy Pham. I sincerely hope you will take the time to read these inspirational stories.

And in case you missed it, check out the State Department's new iPhone app for travelers that provides easy access to frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more.

I'd like to thank all of our readers for their feedback and comments from this past week. We look forward to hearing from you in the week ahead.

Comments

Comments

Jen
|
Virginia, USA
June 20, 2011

Jen in Virginia writes:

Kudos to Secretary Clinton and all of the State Department for their engagement in Africa and other key regions. Great to see that Secretary Clinton will travel to Guatemala and Jamaica this coming week.

Laura
|
West Virginia, USA
June 20, 2011

Laura in West Virginia writes:

I would like to hear more about how the United States is playing a role in the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).

John
|
Canada
June 20, 2011

John in Canada writes:

This week in review reminds me that it is not just Africa in need but every country.

I can’t help but look at the various groups and the challenges that they each face in their quest for success. Challenges that require a far greater breadth and depth of interconnected parties working together.

We cannot help women without addressing so many other issues –education, financial, legal, social, and poverty etc...

These issues alone require even more groups working together in a cohesive fashion.

I find that we as a society everywhere approach problems like we are playing whack a mole and are not receiving the best bang for the buck.

If pathways are not forged for people to achieve their goals; the goals will forever remain over the next hill and considerable resources wasted.

For example some nations in Africa have plenty of rainfall, but no or little ability to collect, store and distribute the water when they need it. Some nations because of this repeatedly find themselves in need of assistance or they will have starving populations.

Events like this will destroy any advancement for women and require significant amounts of costly aid – over and over.

Does it not make more sense in helping countries with source problems first and work aid more intelligently to achieve the best bang for the buck and greater success for the overall goal?

Globally we all have a vested interest in seeing Africa not only succeed but thrive.

Instead of people fleeing from war, disaster and arriving as people desperate for a better life. We could have people come to visit, share, trade, go home and we could visit there doing much the same.

A win for every nation.

The same can be said for South America. Make a plan; work the plan.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 21, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Week in , week out,... after awhile you get a sense of progress as it is being shaped.

Some weeks are better than others.

Karzai opines we be "occupiers"...; Nato is running out of ammo...; and our soon to be retired Sec of Defense, Mr. Gates is said to be ""..growing tired of "wars of choice"."

Well folks, ain't we all by now, ten years on the warpath now by neccesity, or reason of insanity, take your pick.

Don't tell me bin Laden wasn't a couple sandwiches shy of a picnic...and if the taliban were real men , they'd go home and take care of their mothers, like Mohammed instructed a young man who wanted to join his father in jihad.

We are not the Soviets, Mr. Karzai, but I remember the day after 9/11 about a third of the population of America wanted to nuke bin laden's training camps in Afghanistan and "forgettabout it".

Instead we engaged in a humanitarian intervention and millions of Afghans have returned home to rebuild their lives as well as their nation.

It really is Afghan's "war of choice" as to whether they get their act together enough to live in peace with each other.

( I surely would appreciate it if the good Amb. Eikenberry would be so kind to pass all that along to President Karzai as a matter of "constituent services" , being a US citizen with a vested personal interest in the outcome of this. Thanks in advance.)

And now that I'm just on the verge of making Dick Cheney look like a bleeding heart liberal....,

It remains unclear to me as to why the Obama administration would seek to start a distracting debate within congress on the nature of the war powers act; rather than simply working with Congress to get their authorization for humanitarian intervention when the whole of the international community is on board with it and taking part.

I mean we got bugets to balance, debt to erase, and a lot of other teeny-weenie domestic issues (one less after a resignation, but...) and I'm wondering why the President wants to pick a fight with Congress over something so stupid...let's just drop a rock on Ghaddafi's head and be done with the S.O.B. already!

( that's "Sentient Omnipotent Being" in Ghaddafi's mind's eye, but the rest of the world knows what the letters stand for, right? Right. Well then, carry on...)

America always eventually manages to get things right and/or do the right thing, but why , oh why, do we try everything else first?

Thanks for considering this quandry.

Some 50+ years after Churchill asked this , we're still stumbling over the truth.

Stands to reason I guess; every step one takes is a controlled fall.

EJ

DrG
|
West Virginia, USA
June 21, 2011

Dr. G. in West Virginia writes:

As always it's a good summary of Hilary's week. I also like the iPhone app

Zharkov
|
United States
June 22, 2011

Zharkov in the USA writes:

I expected to read on this blog about Secretary Clinton's diplomatic failures in Libya.

If you omit the bad news and publish only the good news, your blog will never be considered an alternative to mainstream news media.

Looking back to the beginning of the Libyan War, a primary justification for our military intervention was something Gadaffi said, not something he did - something about exterminating the rebels - which news media reported them to be led by Al Qaeda.

Gadaffi merely made a threat, a form of psyops against his enemy, Al Qaeda, which he said was behind the revolt.

That threat became a pretext for NATO to intervene, aid Al Qaeda, and help them overthrow Libya's government.

From media reports, it seems that Gadaffi did nothing wrong other than resist the violent overthrow of his government and assume his words would discourage a rebellion rather than trigger a foreign invasion of his country.

Imagine if the Warsaw Pact military had invaded Texas after President Clinton vowed to win the conflict at Waco?

With the new Libyan precedent set by NATO and the UN, is any nation safe once its leader declares he will destroy those who seek the violent overthrow of his government?

So why was Clinton's diplomacy a failure in Libya?

What efforts were made by Secretary Clinton to avoid NATO bombing of that country and why did they fail?

Why is NATO helping Al Qaeda in Libya in a violent overthrow of Gadaffi's government, a government reportedly supported by about half of Libya's citizens?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 24, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

TGIF folks! @ for the blog authors ;

I'd just thought I'd mention how much I enjoyed reading about all you FSO's from far flung places that sought refuge in America, and were willing to be sent to all kinds of far flung places in service to the rest of us.

I consider the the traditional notion of being "America's face to the world." that the Sec. of State plays in her role; but it's all of you who are holding up the mirror for the rest of the world to take a look at itself as being representitive of us.

There's no subtle nuance in the conceptualization, for it impacts on how we percieve the scope of our vital national security interests as that becomes one with the international community's basic common interest in having a safe and sane environment to prosper in.

Keep up the good work,

EJ

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