Across the eastern Horn of Africa, more than 11 million people -- a number greater than the populations of Houston and New York City combined -- are currently in need of emergency assistance to survive. On July 20, 2011, the United Nations declared a state of famine in southern Somalia. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said:
"The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa and today's announcement by the United Nations that a famine is underway in parts of Somalia. The United States is the largest bilateral donor of emergency assistance to the eastern Horn of Africa. We have already responded with over $431 million in food and non-food emergency assistance this year alone. But it is not enough -- the need is only expected to increase and more must be done by the United States and the international community. That is why today the United States government is providing an additional $28 million in aid for people in Somalia and for Somali refugees in Kenya."
Following the UN announcement, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah traveled to the Wajir and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. Administrator Shah said, "I saw child after child weary from their long journey to the camps, eager for their first meal in days if not weeks. Seeing a child in such a fragile state -- witnessing just one child face such difficult circumstances -- is heartbreaking. Knowing that millions of children face a similar fate in the coming months unleashes a sense of profound sorrow."
In other news from the continent, U.S. Special Advisor for Conflict Diamonds Brad Brooks-Rubin provided an update on the impact of the Kimberly Process in the Central African Republic, and Ambassador Earl Irving described the U.S. partnership with Swaziland to combat HIV/AIDS. The Department of State's Coordinator for Cyber Issues Chris Painter will join representatives from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda for the East Africa Cyber Workshop July 25-27 in Nairobi, Kenya.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama recognized Nelson Mandela Day. In a statement, President and Mrs. Obama said, "As the people of the world celebrate Nelson Mandela's 93rd birthday on July 18, Madiba continues to be a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation. On behalf of the people of the United States, we congratulate Nelson Mandela, and honor his vision for a better world."
Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States, led the U.S. Presidential Delegation to Women's World Cup Soccer Final in Germany. While the outcome of the game was not the one we had hoped for, Dr. Biden reminded us that Team USA remains a "source of pride, unity, and inspiration for millions around the globe -- especially girls and other young athletes who know the power that sports have to change lives."
Last week, young men and women from 14 countries completed training sponsored by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement that will help them change lives by equipping them to lead efforts to make local communities safer. Meanwhile, Mexican high schools students traveled to the United States to participate in the Jovenes en Accion exchange program, an initiative that helps develop leadership skills and fosters civic engagement. Finalists from the global competition "Sustainable Urban Housing: Collaborating for Livable and Inclusive Cities" joined practitioners from the public and private sectors to exchange ideas in Washington, D.C. about the challenges of urbanization.
Special Representative Reta Jo Lewis underscored the important role cities and states play in international affairs, as the U.S.-China Governors Forum marked historic steps in subnational engagement -- including the launch of the Utah-Qinghai EcoPartnership. In other regional news, Pacific Partnership concluded its 2011 humanitarian mission in the Federated States of Micronesia. Special thanks to Tom Weinz, Pacific Partnership's dedicated Foreign Service Liaison Officer, who provided us updates throughout the duration of the mission.
Secretary Clinton was also in the Asia-Pacific region last week, as she continued her travel to Turkey, Greece, India, Hong Kong, and China. In New Delhi, the Secretary opened the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue and met with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. In Chennai, she celebrated the accomplishments of the Working Women's Forum and delivered remarks on U.S.-India relations in the 21st century. Secretary Clinton said, "...We understand that much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia, and that much of the future of Asia will be shaped by decisions not only of the Indian Government in New Delhi, but of governments across India, and perhaps, most importantly, by the 1.3 billion people who live in this country."
Following her visit to India, Secretary Clinton traveled to Indonesia, where the Secretary participated in the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the U.S.-Lower Mekong Ministerial Meeting, and the first ASEAN Regional Entrepreneurship Summit. The Secretary also met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
While in Indonesia, Secretary Clinton also addressed the horrific attacks in Norway. The Secretary said, "...I want just to express my heartfelt sympathy and solidarity with the people of Norway. The United States strongly condemns any kind of terrorism no matter where it comes from or who perpetuates it, and this tragedy strikes right at the heart of the soul of a peaceful people. Norway is well known for its efforts to resolve conflicts, bring people together, it sets a high example for social entrepreneurship. And this terrible event is especially heartbreaking because so many of the victims were young people under the age of 25, and our hearts go out to their families and to the Norwegian people and government. And this just reminds us what a precious gift we all have of our lives, and I think we are called to make the most of it for ourselves, but also for our communities, our countries and humanity."
Tonight, Secretary Clinton will deliver remarks in Hong Kong, where she will address "Principles for Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific." You can watch a live webcast of her remarks on www.state.gov and DipNote at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time/ 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time. We hope you will be able to join us for this event!