This week's "Photo of the Week" comes to us from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's official photographer Michael Gross and shows Secretary Clinton and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine hosting a Global Town Hall with Civil Society Representatives on May 16, 2012. Present in the audience were civil society representatives from more than 40 countries and senior leaders from the State Department and throughout the U.S. Government. Individuals also participated online through embassy viewing parties held around the world.
Secretary Clinton said, "...As we see the explosion of civil society groups around the world, we want to support you. I think that in the United States, civil society does the work that touches on every part of our life. It really reflects what Alexis de Tocqueville called the habits of the heart that America has been forming and practicing from our very founding, because we early on understood that there had to be a role for government and a role for the economy, but everything else was a role for us-- individuals charting our own course, making our own contributions.
"And we turn to you to help us support civil society around the world. Now this initiative is a striking example of how government and civil society, often supported by the private sector, can work together."
Secretary Clinton launched the Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society in February 2011 to elevate U.S. engagement with civil society and underscore our commitment to supporting and protecting civil society around the world. The Dialogue fulfills a promise in the Department's Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) to create a framework for involving civil society in policymaking. At the town hall, Secretary Clinton announced action on the policy recommendations from the working groups of the Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society, demonstrating how the SDCS has resulted in concrete action. You can learn more here.