DipNote: The Week in Review

November 20, 2011
U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Pose for a Photo in Indonesia

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton concluded their travel to the Asia Pacific region to improve economic cooperation and renew relationships with a final stop in Indonesia. There, President Obama -- the first American president to attend the East Asia Summit -- worked with other leaders to expand trade opportunities. In addition, President Obama announced that Secretary Clinton will visit Burma to discuss that country's efforts to institute important democratic reforms.

Also in Indonesia, Secretary Clinton attended the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting. She said, "[B]y strengthening the diplomacy and presence abroad, we can strengthen our economies back home, and actually, vice versa. And the United States recognizes that, so we are making a pivot, a pivot toward the Asia Pacific region, where we intend to be a diplomatic, economic, and strategic force for the 21st century.”

Before traveling to Indonesia, President Obama visited Australia to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Australia alliance. During his visit, the President addressed the Australian Parliament and spoke to Australian troops and U.S. Marines. In addition, President Obama and his counterpart, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, announced plans to expand military ties in Australia.

Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton visited the Philippines and Thailand to underscore the Administration's ongoing broader efforts to reaffirm and broaden our alliances, as well as demonstrate and U.S. support for Thailand's recovery efforts following severe flooding.

Also in the region, Director of the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers Vangala Ram discussed participating in the Security and Defense Cooperation Forum (SDCF), a trilateral discussion among the United States, Australia, and Japan that provides an opportunity to discuss the evolving security environment and the prospects for trilateral cooperation.

Addressing multilateral cooperation in the South and Central Asia region, Assistant Secretary Robert Blake provided a readout of his visit to the Maldives, where he observed the 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, a yearly gathering of the Heads of State from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In Ankara, Economic Counselor Laird Treiber described the international response -- including assistance from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Sweden, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and the Ukraine, among others -- following the 7.3 earthquake struck Van and several towns in eastern Turkey.

In other news, November 14-20 marked Global Entrepreneurship Week, a worldwide celebration of entrepreneurial innovators and risk-takers who drive job creation and economic growth and inspire others to follow their lead. In Pakistan, Ambassador Cameron Munter noted how the textile industry offers an opportunity for the next generation of budding Pakistani entrepreneurs to acquire training and expertise to start their own companies, while in the Maghreb region, Special Representative Lorraine Hariton promoted global entrepreneurship through the U.S.-North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO).

In the United States, the LAUNCH: Energy Forum finalists -- demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit -- presented their ideas for the provision of more sustainable energy sources and improved access to energy for both developed and developing world populations. Special Representative Reta Jo Lewis consulted with Silicon Valley technology experts to search for low-cost, innovative solutions that can improve growing global networks between elected state and local officials in the United States and their foreign counterparts, while Senior Outreach Coordinator for Commercial and Business Affairs Nancy Smith-Nissley participated in the 2011 Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Conference, where public and private sector international executives met to exchange information, ideas, and best practices.

At Unleashing IdEA, Secretary Clinton announced via video message an initiative with the IDB, Univision Networks, m-Via, and others to engage entrepreneurs from Central America and Mexico to support the development of diaspora-centered partnerships that promote trade, investment, and innovation in the region.

Several other important partnerships and initiatives launched this week. The Department of State hosted the first ever Tunisia Partnerships Forum, an effort to engage the Tunisian diaspora and promote opportunities for Tunisian and American businesses looking to invest in Tunisia. Under Secretary Robert Hormats highlighted the announcement of a public-private partnership to create the world's first Global Food Safety Fund, and he joined Under Secretary Mario Otero in launching the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Mineral Trade, which seeks to help break the links between conflict and minerals, including gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum. Furthermore, the Bureau of Energy Resources began operations with the mission of promoting U.S. international energy engagement, influence how nations move to a cleaner energy future, and protect our energy infrastructure and transit routes.

This past week also marked International Education Week, during which the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced the grand prize winners of this year's Dance With Us: Motion Across Cultures photo contest. During the week, we also saw how filmmaking and sports translate across cultures and help unite us. Earlier in the month, ECA launched the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship, which will allow fellows to serve in professional placements in foreign government ministries or institutions to gain hands-on public sector experience while carrying out academic research or a study project in participating foreign countries.

We hope you will join us in the week ahead as we mark the beginning of the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, a campaign which starts on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 and runs through International Human Rights Day on December 10.

In the meantime, I'd like to thank all of you for your feedback and comments this past week, and we look forward to hearing from you in the week ahead.

Comments

Comments

DrG
|
West Virginia, USA
November 21, 2011

Dr. G. in West Virginia writes:

Great summary. Way to go, Hillary.

Zharkov
|
United States
November 21, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

"Way to go" indeed. There won't be a single private sector job left in America if this continues. The big question is how much more "economic cooperation" with Asia will it take to completely annihilate America's private sector?

Scott
|
District Of Columbia, USA
November 21, 2011

Scott in Washington, D.C. writes:

This is a great article that highlights almost every aspect of 21st Century Diplomacy.

time47
November 30, 2011

W.W. writes:

clock is ticking

Jonny U.
|
Utah, USA
November 21, 2011

Jonny in Utah writes:

Great WIR. I'm glad to learn about the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. I hadn't even heard about that until reading it here in the WIR.

pam
|
West Virginia, USA
November 22, 2011

Pam in West Virginia writes:

Asia will be front and center in our turnaround of our economy. Thank you Aussies for always being with us hope we can do the same.Please keep gender equality in forefront. I think the US shows the world women can do it with Hillary at the helm and with so many other great women diplomats.

Jen
|
Virginia, USA
November 22, 2011

Jen in Virginia writes:

Kudos to Hillary and the State Department team for their work on Asia-Pacific trade and gender issues.

Ashim C.
|
India
November 23, 2011

Ashim C. in India writes:

US contribution to ASEAN 2011 summit has contributed enormously to the cause of peace ans stability for development in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. This was made possible by firmness with which President Obama expressed US resolve to stay engaged in the region in trade and business and strategically. This has led China to soften it's stance on South China sea within days. The position of international law on maritime boundary and rights and duties of coastal states are well established and quite equitable. USA , in my opinion. shall do well to follow this ASEAN summit up with a ASEAN SAARC joint conference,of experts and leaders to specially focus on relevence of international maritime laws of peace, laws related to international rivers and land etc. so that the spirit of cooperation and acommodation is invigorated in the entire South and South East Asia with such modifications as may be necessary. Bilateral approach in seeking resolution of disputes in a time bound manner among states in the region has not yielded the decided results. Diplomacy has to be at it's best to make this happen and economic benefits of resolution of disputes among states, needless to say, ought to be highlighted.

A new system of strategic alliance among SAARC and ASEAN countries for creating a regional strategic response mechanism against erring states in future can be a good option. All the ASEAN and SAARC members can conbtribute their men and might to such mechanism according to their capacity to share the cost with USA, which is a pacific power too for historical reasons. This cannot be denied just as it cannot be denied that sovereign equality of states/nations, which is likely to obstruct such efforts, is a concept and an ideal to be followed not a ground reality. It makes, therefore, sense to lot of states in the region to accept their limitations and make up for them by a new architecture of alliance and this should not be difficult if benefits that such economic and strategic alliances have reaped for smaller and big partners have reaped are projected effectively. What has proved to be good for Australia, Japan and South Korea for example has to be good for India too and what has been good for Thailand and Phillipines has to be good for Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan to give few examples. While efforts for all this is on Russia can get more and more integrated with European Union.

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
November 26, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

Merry Christmas and Happy New years for 2011. I hope everyone can enjoy these holidays around the world! Peace and Goodwill that everyone can share a commonground foundation for Peace!

John P.
|
Greece
November 27, 2011

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Donald M. in Virginia

Merry Christmas and Happy New years for 2011-12

I anticipate to have you as a web-friend here for another year to come...

2012 will be better than any other year!

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
November 27, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

@ John P. in Greece and Eric in New Mexico

Lets hope we all can be around to share more interesting comments, friends on the State Department is a good thing, Merry X-Mas and lets all have a wonderful 2012 year ahead! Full Speed ahead!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
November 28, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Donald,

Same to you bro..., very suprised I'm still on-line to post this bein' as economicly challenged as circumstance beyond my control won't allow me to be so past today. Must have been the holiday and no one was working at the phone company, or they just forgot to turn my phone off due to non-payment.

So, one can always hope they have a permanent case of Alzhiemers (chuckle), but maybe I can get to a library and check in once in awhile.

Situation F.U.B.A.R.

Semper Fi,

EJ

Victor U.
|
West Virginia, USA
November 30, 2011

Victor U. in West Virginia writes:

These are excellent! Very informative and well done! Thanks

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