The United States hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week in Hawaii November 8-13, 2011. APEC comprises 21 member economies, accounting for 43 percent of world trade and 55 percent of global GDP.
In remarks at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton underscored the significance of the Asia-Pacific region. The Secretary said, "...Just as the United States played a central role in shaping the architecture across the Atlantic -- to ensure that it worked, for us and for everyone else -- we are now doing the same across the Pacific. The 21st century will be America's Pacific century, a period of unprecedented outreach and partnership in this dynamic, complex, and consequential region."
During APEC, President Barack Obama met with Trans-Pacific Partnership leaders and held a series of bilateral meetings. Secretary Clinton met with foreign and economic ministers, participated in a press conference, and delivered remarks on women and the economy. Following APEC, Secretary Clinton will travel to the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Earlier in the week, Secretary Clinton outlined a vision for an AIDS-free generation. The Secretary said, "From its earliest days, the fight against HIV/AIDS has been a global effort. But in the story of this fight, America's name comes up time and again. In the past few weeks, I've spoken about various aspects of American leadership, from creating economic opportunity to preserving peace and standing up for democracy and freedom. Well, our efforts in global health are another strong pillar in our leadership. Our efforts advance our national interests. They help make other countries more stable and the United States more secure. And they are an expression of our values -- of who we are as a people."
In other global health news, Dr. Mary Jean Brown of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) participated in a series of briefings to raise awareness of lead poisoning in Nigeria, while Julia Roberts, representing the Global Ambassador for the Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, called attention to World Pneumonia Day. Roberts said, "Of the two million people killed each year from diseases caused by toxic smoke from dirty stoves and open cooking fires, about half are young children who die from acute lower respiratory infections, most commonly pneumonia. The deployment of clean cookstoves and fuels can significantly reduce worldwide childhood death from pneumonia."
Cookstoves technology was one of the innovations on display during the LAUNCH: Energy Forum, a conference to examine provisions for more sustainable energy sources and improved access to energy. The LAUNCH forum, convened at Kennedy Space Center, represented a public-private partnership among the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, NASA, and Nike, Inc.
Collaboration between governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is a component of many international efforts, from humanitarian demining in Azerbaijan and Mozambique to advancing labor rights and fighting anti-Semitism.
Secretary Clinton spotlighted the importance of NGOs in remarks at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). In her remarks at NDI, the Secretary also addressed recent events in the Middle East and North Africa. Meanwhile, at the Brookings Institution, Ambassador Eileen Donahue outlined how the UN Human Rights Council has responded to the Arab Awakening. In a historic stance aimed at protecting Syrian civilians, the Arab League suspended Syria on November 12.
In other news, Ambassador Ivo Daalder accompanied his fellow NATO permanent representatives on a visit to Georgia, while U.S. civilian and military officials joined their Filipino and Japanese counterparts to prepare for humanitarian mission Pacific Partnership 2012.
This weekend, Americans observe Veterans Day, an opportunity to salute all who serve, have served, and their families. Here at the Department, we pay special tribute to the more than 1,300 officers and enlisted Marines who help protect our diplomatic facilities abroad.
In the week ahead, we will mark International Education Week, an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchanges worldwide. You can find out how you can become involved by visiting iew.state.gov.
On behalf of everyone here at DipNote, I thank our readers for their time and participation on the blog, and we look forward to continuing to hear from you.