Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Hungary, Lithuania, and Spain June 29-July 2, 2011. In Hungary, Secretary Clinton met with Prime Minister Viktor Orban and participated in the inauguration of the Lantos Institute. The Hungarian government has supported the establishment of the Lantos Institute to promote Hungarian-born, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos' commitment to democratic principles and the protection of human rights.
During the dedication of the Institute, Secretary Clinton said, "Tom's past served him...as a call to conscience, a permanent vigilance against anti-Semitism, discrimination, oppression, and genocide. In the bookmark that appears at each of our seats, there is one of his most memorable quotes: 'We must remember that the veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians, and we can never rest.' Tom not only tried to live by those words, he tried to hold other people's feet to the fire, when he didn't think they were."
Secretary Clinton continued, "...He had a full life that we honor and celebrate. But it would be a disservice to him if we did not look forward to what I am sure he expects from us. Democracy is struggling to be born around the world today. The nations of Central and Eastern Europe have so much to share from their own struggles and triumphs. So, the timing of this institute could not be more opportune. On Europe's doorstep -- across the Middle East and Northern Africa -- citizens are demanding what so many others have before. From the United States in the 18th century, to Chile and Tunisia, South Korea, East Timor, post-Soviet countries over the past 30 years.
"What are they demanding? That their voices be heard. That they have the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potentials with enough freedom to make responsible choices for themselves, their families, and communities, that government become more effective, more responsive, more transparent, more open."
Secretary Clinton then traveled to Lithuania, where she participated in the Community of Democracies' 6th Ministerial Meeting. Assistant Secretary Michael Posner described how this forum reflects "our deep commitment to promoting democracy worldwide and broadening a global coalition for the protections of universal freedoms." Ambassador Melanne Verveer shared how the forum presented an opportunity for prominent female leaders to come together to increase support for women's participation in the public sphere. Ambassador Verveer also underscored the importance of investing in women in agriculture, while Ambassador Ertharin Cousin explained the importance of secure access to and control of land and land-based resources to women's economic empowerment, food security, and agricultural development.
While in Lithuania, Secretary Clinton also met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, participated in the Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society and "TechCamp: Vilnius,"commemorated the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of Baltic independence, and joined representatives from twelve other nations to launch the Lifeline: Embattled NGOs Assistance Fund.
In Spain, Secretary Clinton met with Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez and underscored the enduring relationship between the United States and Spain. Secretary Clinton said, "...Spain can count on the unwavering friendship, not only of the United States Government, but of the American people. Spain is the second-fastest growing investor in the United States, and the United States is one of Spain's largest trading partners."
Secretary Clinton continued, "...Our interests and our values converge, and I thank [Foreign Minister Jimenez] again for your hospitality and friendship. And I thank also the Spanish people for their commitment to our very strong alliance."
In Washington, Secretary Clinton released the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the "Stop Human Trafficking App," an initiative that seeks to apply mobile technology toward efforts to end modern day slavery. In recognition of LGBT Pride Month, Secretary Clinton delivered remarks highlighting diplomatic efforts to stand up for the rights and well-being of LGBT people around the world. Throughout the month of June, we also highlighted refugee issues. Former refugee Sauth Lim described his remarkable journey from the killing fields of Cambodia to freedom.
In the South Pacific, Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell led a high-level delegation to Samoa, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea (PNG). During their visit, the delegation announced that USAID will open its Pacific headquarters in Port Moresby, PNG. Meanwhile, Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia Daniel Rosenblum described his travel to Central Asia, where he visited Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic to observe U.S. assistance programs in action.
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman traveled to Kabul to participate in the International Contact Group Meeting, where he echoed President Obama's June 22 speech and emphasized the U.S. commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. In other regional news, young Pakistanis prepared to depart for study in the United States under the auspices of the Fulbright Program.
Educational programs in Jamaica and El Salvador offered at-risk youths opportunities to become generators of positive change in their communities. Assistant Secretary Mike Hammer spotlighted broader U.S. foreign policy in the Caribbean during a Washington-based conference to engage the Caribbean diaspora.
Meanwhile, the "Egypt: Forward Forum" in Washington brought together representatives from Egypt's energy, information and communication technology, transportation, and agribusiness sectors to discuss trade, investment, and commercial opportunities with the public and private sector in the United States.
In Vienna, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) convened its Annual Security Review Conference, while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reached an agreement on Internet policymaking principles, highlighting commitments to promote and protect the global free flow of information. In a similar spirit, the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) launched its new portal on iTunes, making UNESCO's audio, video, and published content more accessible to people all over the world.
Under Secretary of State Maria Otero will address global efforts to promote open government and transparency during a "Conversations With America" webcast on Thursday, July 7. You can submit your questions to her in advance of the webcast here. Last week, Under Secretary of State Judith McHale responded to your questions -- on topics ranging from recent events in Sudan to the celebration of U.S. Independence Day -- in English, Arabic, Farsi, and Spanish during our first Global Twitter Q&A.
Last week, Canadians commemorated their country's birthday on July 1, and Americans will celebrate U.S. Independence Day this week on July 4. Our colleagues at the U.S. Embassies in Ottawa, Canada and San Jose, Costa Rica shared how these national holidays served as opportunities to share our respective cultures and open our doors to new friends and partners. In the week ahead, our embassy colleagues will share additional stories of how Americans marked the Fourth of July overseas.
In a video message for U.S. Independence Day, Secretary Clinton said, "Today is a time to celebrate the birth of our nation and the values that have sustained us for 235 years -- equality, opportunity and the rights enshrined in our founding documents. This year, we have been reminded again that these are not just American values, they are truly universal values. And as people across North Africa, the Middle East and around the world risk their lives to claim these universal human rights and freedoms, Americans are proud to stand with them. We are united by our common hopes and aspirations for a better world."
Happy Fourth of July!