Last week, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides addressed how diplomacy and development enhance national security and the economy. In an opinion piece for Politico.com, Deputy Secretary Nides wrote:
“The State and USAID budget -- all personnel, operations and programs -- is only one percent of the entire federal budget. One percent. That tiny share of the federal budget includes everything from protecting U.S. citizens overseas; to curbing violent extremism and nuclear proliferation; to helping U.S. businesses connect with new customers; to rolling back HIV/AIDS, malaria and child malnutrition; to maintaining our embassies. It funds everything we do to make the rest of the world safe for Americans to live, travel and conduct business -- and everything we do to keep our homeland secure.”
These efforts include the work of 1,000 economic officers and 400 locally employed economic staff at embassies and consulates around the world, where they play a vital role in attracting foreign direct investment to the United States. Foreign direct investment supports more than five million American jobs, including two million in manufacturing.
On October 7, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the Department of State to discuss the importance of further strengthening foreign direct investment in the United States. During the meeting, Secretary Clinton also addressed the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, which President Barack Obama submitted to the U.S. Congress earlier in the week. Secretary Clinton said:
"The Free Trade Agreements that President Obama submitted to Congress...demonstrate our commitment to strengthen our economic leadership around the world. They are critical to building open, free, transparent, and fair economic platforms in the Asia Pacific and South America. Our foreign policy must deliver results for the American people. These agreements will make it easier for American companies to sell their products in South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, and that will create jobs here at home.
"The stakes are not just economic. These are three important partners in strategically vital regions. Countries everywhere are watching. Passing these deals proves that America can deliver for our friends and allies. It strengthens our leadership around the world."
Secretary Clinton also traveled to the Dominican Republic to participate in the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial, a high-level policy dialogue among Western Hemisphere countries committed to democracy and open markets. During the meeting, government officials, business leaders, academics, and representatives from international organizations shared best practices that promote inclusive economic growth. Through Pathways initiatives, the United States is partnering with interested governments and the private sector to expand small business development centers, provide technical assistance for infrastructure projects, and build a network of women entrepreneurs. In the above video player, watch some of the Secretary's remarks during her meeting with Pathways women entrepreneurs.
The Department of State has made women's economic advancement a foreign policy priority. Last week, Secretary Clinton honored 40 women entrepreneurs from 36 African nations. The Secretary said, "...Women hold the key to economic growth in Africa, just as they hold the key to economic growth around the world."
The next generation of entrepreneurs gathered last week in Malaysia for the SIFE World Cup, a competition in which students on university campuses around the world apply business concepts to develop projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Youth leaders also gathered recently in Gaza for athletic and cultural competitions and in Ghana for a robotics challenge.
Meanwhile, U.S. exchange program alumni from the Western Hemisphere met in Argentina to build partnerships among the countries of the Americas. In Washington, U.S. and Turkish officials signed a Sister Cities Agreement that advances connections between our two countries, while U.S. and Japanese leaders met to strengthen ties between our two peoples -- efforts that are creating a "Tomodachi Generation."
Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia are among key Asia-Pacific partners in developing a new generation of leaders for peacekeeping missions, including support for UN efforts in Haiti.
In New York, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice addressed the veto of a UN Security Council Resolution on Syria. Ambassador Rice said, "...This has been quite a sad day, most especially for the people of Syria, but also for this Security Council. The people of Syria, who seek nothing more than the opportunity to achieve their universal human rights and to see their aspirations for freedom and liberty achieved, have been slapped in the face by several members of this Security Council today."
In Washington, President Obama met with Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi at the White House. Following their meeting, President Obama said:
"...Tunisia is one of our oldest friends in the world. Tunisia was one of the first countries to recognize the United States of America over 200 years ago. One of the first trade agreements that we had as a country was with Tunisia. And so I told the Prime Minister that thanks to his leadership, thanks to the extraordinary transformation that's taking place in Tunisia and the courage of its people, I'm confident that we will have at least another two centuries of friendship between our two countries. And the American people will stand by the people of Tunisia in any way that we can during this remarkable period in Tunisian history."
In other news, Secretary Clinton underscored U.S. commitment to the complete elimination of chemical weapons stockpiles in the United States and around the world. Secretary Clinton said, "To date, we have already destroyed 89 percent of our original chemical weapons stockpile. We reaffirm our commitment to finish the job as quickly as possible in accordance with national and treaty requirements."
The Department of State's Office of eDiplomacy hosted a Tech@State: Data Visualization conference, and the Bureau of Consular Affairs opened registration for the diversity visa program. Entries for the program may be submitted electronically through 12:00 p.m. ET November 5, 2011.
The Department of State also hosted a discussion on the response to the crisis in the Horn of Africa, where more than 13 million people -- a number greater than the populations of Houston and New York City combined -- are in need of emergency assistance. You can learn more about the current crisis, and how you can help, at www.usaid.gov/fwd.