Recently, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) launched its Smart Traveler Day campaign, designed to support CA's ongoing efforts to keep U.S. citizens informed and connected to the latest travel information, and to emphasize the assistance CA provides to U.S. citizens traveling overseas.
On February 20, 2013, CA kicked off the campaign with the first-ever roundtable discussion engaging lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. The roundtable focused on the unique challenges facing LGBT travelers, and how CA provides information and resources to help U.S. citizen travelers stay well-informed and safe. The event was organized in partnership with the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), and featured panelists from CA's Office of Overseas Citizens Services, The White House, DRL, and IGLTA.
Janice L. Jacobs, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, delivered welcoming remarks, stating, "I am proud that we are here to build bridges between the Department and our LGBT partners. This event is an important initiative to everyone represented here today, and for all those we represent." Gautam Raghavan, the White House's Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement, also participated and noted the State Department's efforts in “advancing equality in every place we find, and making a real impact on the lives of LGBT persons."
The panelists and participants engaged in a robust discussion on the State Department's travel safety program and the country-specific information sheets. The roundtable also highlighted the debut of the newly created LGBT Travel Information page, which can be found on the Department's official travel information website, www.travel.state.gov. This page provides important country-specific information about certain issues and concerns specific to LGBT travelers.
This event underscored one of the U.S. Department of State's highest priorities -- the welfare of U.S. citizens abroad. On Monday, March 4, CA will host another outreach event; this one will be a Twitter Q&A from @TravelGov about passports. Deputy Assistant Secretary Brenda Sprague will answer questions related to passports that are tweeted using #AskState.