Today is World Food Day, a day we commemorate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization and re-commit ourselves to ending global hunger. Secretary Clinton said, "Food security is a foreign policy priority for the United States. We must continue to find new and innovative ways to get food into the hands of more people."USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said this year's World Food Day is especially important, because "...the Horn of Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, placing 13.3 million people -- predominately women and children -- in need of assistance." Acting Special Representative Jonathan Shrier and Ambassador Ertharin Cousin reminded us that with our partners, we are making progress, and Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez expressed how we can meet the challenges of maintaining and expanding our economic growth in the agricultural sector.
On October 14, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton emphasized the role of economics in our foreign policy at the Economic Club of New York, where she said:
"...America's economic strength and our global leadership are a package deal. A strong economy has been a pillar of American power in the world. It gives us the leverage we need to exert influence and advance our interests. It gives other countries the confidence in our leadership and a greater stake in partnering with us. And over time, it underwrites all the elements of smart power: robust diplomacy and development and the strongest military the world has ever seen.
"Right now, the challenges of a changing world and the needs of the American people demand that our foreign policy community, as the late Steve Jobs put it, 'think different.' Our problems have never respected dividing lines between global economics and international diplomacy. And neither can our solutions. That is why I have put what I call economic statecraft at the heart of our foreign policy agenda. Economic statecraft has two parts: first, how we harness the forces and use the tools of global economics to strengthen our diplomacy and presence abroad; and second, how we put that diplomacy and presence to work to strengthen our economy at home."
In her speech, Secretary Clinton called attention to the U.S.-Korea, U.S.-Colombia, and U.S.-Panama trade agreements that Congress passed on October 12. She said, "...The Free Trade Agreements passed by Congress tonight will make it easier for American companies to sell their products to South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which will create jobs here at home."
Secretary Clinton and Vice President Joseph Biden hosted South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Washington, D.C. on October 13 during an official Republic of Korea State Visit. In honor of President Lee's State Visit, the White House held a Tweetup, and the United States announced participation in the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea. Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell said that U.S. participation in the Expo demonstrates U.S. commitment to strengthening U.S.-Republic of Korea relations and engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, and deepens our friendly ties with the people of the Republic of Korea and other nations.
Emphasizing the importance of the Asia-Pacific region, Secretary Clinton authored an opinion piece on "America's Pacific Century" in Foreign Policy. She said, "At a time when the region is building a more mature security and economic architecture to promote stability and prosperity, U.S. commitment there is essential. It will help build that architecture and pay dividends for continued American leadership well into this century, just as our post-World War II commitment to building a comprehensive and lasting transatlantic network of institutions and relationships has paid off many times over -- and continues to do so. The time has come for the United States to make similar investments as a Pacific power, a strategic course set by President Barack Obama from the outset of his administration and one that is already yielding benefits."
Foreign Service Liaison Officer Tom Weinz discussed the preparations for Pacific Partnership 2012, the U.S. Navy's dedicated humanitarian and civic assistance mission. Brian Asmus highlighted how Embassy Port Moresby is advancing U.S. engagement in the South Pacific, while embassy staff celebrated the U.S.-Brunei partnership at the opening of the new U.S. Embassy building in Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei Darussalam.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Ann Stock joined Secretary Clinton in launching the first-ever U.S.-India Higher Education Summit, which explored how government, universities, and the private sector can work together to create innovative and sustainable partnerships. In other education news, alumni of U.S. exchange programs held a three-day conference to discuss their role in promoting the socio-economic development of Pakistan across a range of issues including child welfare, women's empowerment, sustainable development, health reforms, and regional stability.
In the Western Hemisphere, Preeti Shah highlighted how U.S. congressional legislation, the Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP), has helped the textile industry in Haiti improve by providing jobs and strengthening the country's economy. Meanwhile, in Peru, the U.S. government and Peru Mine Action Center (CONTRAMINAS) are making progress in safely disposing abandoned or forgotten landmines that are remnants of the 1995 border conflict between Peru and Ecuador.
In other news, the White House released a statement on the violence in Egypt on October 11. The Press Secretary said, "The President is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt that has led to a tragic loss of life among demonstrators and security forces. The United States expresses our condolences to the families and loved ones of all who were killed or injured, and stands with the Egyptian people in this painful and difficult time."
Ambassador Glyn Davies highlighted progress made at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including the adoption of IAEA Director General Amano's Nuclear Safety Action Plan.
At the Center for American Progress on October 12, Secretary Clinton discussed the important role of America's global leadership. She said, "...[O]ur global leadership holds the key not only to our prosperity and security at home but to the kind of world that is increasingly interconnected and complex. Whether it's opening new markets for American businesses or breaking up terrorist plots or bringing the wars of the last decade to a successful close, we have to be guided by both the responsibilities of leadership and the values that undergird us."
Deputy Secretary Thomas Nides reinforced Secretary Clinton's message about smart investments when he spoke with bloggers in an online event about how investment in global leadership advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity.
You can learn more about America's global leadership on the U.S. Diplomacy Center's new interactive website, which provides an introduction into the world of diplomacy and the work of the Department of State. And, in case you missed it, be sure to read about Sergeant Major Karen Bolden, who served in the Army Chaplain Corps for 27 years before working at the State Department.
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!