Last week, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined World Food Program USA in honoring Howard G. Buffett and Bill Gates for their contributions to reducing global hunger. Today, we starkly see the challenges of famine and malnutrition in the Horn of Africa, where 13.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. To raise awareness of this crisis, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched public awareness videos featuring Dr. Jill Biden, Uma Thurman, Josh Hartnett, Geena Davis, and Chanel Iman.
The United States is committed to advancing food security and finding sustainable, long-term solutions to global hunger through the Feed the Future Initiative. Food security, the availability of and access to food, contributes to national security and stability. As Vice President Biden explained, "Investments made to ward off food insecurity and prevent its recurrence can prevent the vicious cycles of rising extremism, armed conflict, and state failure that can require far larger commitments of resources down the road."
In other news, Secretary Clinton joined President Barack Obama in congratulating the people of Tunisia on their first-ever democratic elections, held on October 23, 2011. Secretary Clinton said that the vote was “a historic milestone on Tunisia's path from autocratic dictatorship to a government that respects the will of the people. We encourage the Constituent Assembly to operate in a transparent and inclusive manner as they undertake this new democratic responsibility and fulfill the Tunisian people's aspirations for accountability, wider economic opportunity and respect for universal human rights."
In Washington, Secretary Clinton spoke about Afghanistan and Pakistan before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and met with Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis. Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lambrinidis discussed a variety of bilateral and multilateral issues, including the European economic crisis.
Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer held a broad-ranging discussion with UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Forest Whitaker last week at the Department of State. Their conversation followed the UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris, where two U.S. representatives worked with 245 youths from over 100 countries to identify opportunities to empower young people.
Meanwhile, UN Disarmament Fellows -- young diplomats from member states -- completed their final workshop in New York, where they observed the United Nations General Assembly address the issue of nuclear disarmament. These were fitting activities for the week the world observes UN Day, celebrated every October 24 to mark the date the UN Charter entered into force in 1945.
U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles A. Ray spotlighted the importance of reaching out to young people while also demonstrating that social networking isn't just reserved for them. Ambassador Ray -- who has served in the U.S. government for nearly five decades -- engages in daily chats with young Zimbabweans on his Facebook page.
Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre is building relationships between the people of the United States and the Dominican Republic through the Global Diaspora Initiative, while Ambassador Nicole Avant is connecting Americans and Bahamians through The Bahamas' vibrant art scene.
"Vibrant" is an adjective one might use to describe the fireworks of Diwali, the festival of lights. This year, Diwali fell on October 26, and our colleagues at U.S. Embassy New Delhi joined with their Indian coworkers to celebrate the holiday and promote friendship.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the United States and China continued to strengthen people-to-people ties and sub-national economic cooperation through the Governors Forum. In Japan, Deputy Secretary William Burns reaffirmed the enduring value of the U.S.-Japan alliance and underscored the truly global partnership shared by our two countries.
On behalf of everyone here at DipNote, I thank our readers for their comments and feedback. We look forward to hearing from you in the week ahead!