“Societies where women and girls are empowered are more prosperous and stable - not occasionally, but always.”—Secretary Kerry at an Equal Futures Partnership event on the margins of UNGA, September 22, 2014
69th United Nations General Assembly High-Level Week
Today marks the opening of the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Week in New York. World leaders and representatives from 193 countries will come together to work on an agenda packed with burning issues: foreign terrorist fighters, Ebola, climate change, and much more.
International Coastal Cleanup Day: Cleaning Up the Ocean, One Piece of Debris at a Time
Picture yourself walking along a stretch of coastline. Maybe you’re on a tranquil island in the South Pacific, or a busy beach along the Atlantic Ocean, or even a remote, icy shore near the Arctic. No matter which location you’re imagining, all of these places can share an unfortunate feature: marine debris.
While soda cans, disposable diapers, or fishing lines may seem harmless, marine debris is one of the greatest threats to the ocean. Plastic bags, for example, look like food to turtles and other marine wildlife – but instead of a good meal, a gulp of marine debris can lead to injury, starvation, and even death. Beachgoers can step on broken glass, cans, needles or other items. Marine debris can also damage or entangle boats, potentially creating safety hazards for passengers and having a serious impact on economic livelihoods.
That’s the problem — now here’s what you can do to be part of the solution. Roll up your sleeves and help clean-up trash on or near shorelines where you live whenever you can, but especially on Saturday, September 20 as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, an annual global effort to clean-up marine debris. You won’t be alone; during last year’s coastal cleanup, 648,015 volunteers in 92 countries picked up more than 12.3 million pounds of trash. U.S. diplomats from Tokyo to Tijuana to Benin teamed up with local communities to clean up their local waterways and beaches as part of the International Coastal Cleanup effort. Visit this website to find a cleanup near you.
September 22 marks the opening of sixty-ninth United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Week in New York. World leaders and representatives from 194 countries will come together to work on an agenda packed with burning issues: foreign terrorist fighters, Ebola, climate change, and much more.
Incredible things can happen at UNGA — diplomacy often breaks out in uncommon and unanticipated ways, and the convening gravity of the United Nations gives Manhattan a decidedly multilateral tilt every September. In his speech earlier this year at West Point, the President discussed at some length his vision of American foreign policy leadership — leadership that would not shrink from challenges to U.S. interests, but would also seek to seize and employ opportunities for collective action when such a path offered the best chance for realizing U.S. goals.
U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Syria Crisis
Secretary of State John Kerry announced today the United States is providing nearly $500 million in additional humanitarian aid to help those affected by the war in Syria. This is the largest funding announcement made by the United States in response to the largest appeal the United Nations has ever issued. The UN’s revised Syria appeals, issued in July, requested $6 billion in contributions to mitigate the impacts of a tragedy of historic proportions.
Beheadings are not the only horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL. Over the past two months, there has been a tragic stream of reports about thousands of women and girls abducted from their families and sold in markets. These violent extremists are attacking their own women and girls.
While captive, these women and children have been tortured, raped, given to ISIL thugs as “brides,” or kept as sex slaves. Some have committed suicide to avoid sexual enslavement. Others have been forced to watch as ISIL beat their children to coerce the women into converting to Islam. Some have simply been executed. Hundreds of women and girls have been taken from Iraq to ISIL camps in Syria and never heard from again.
“Now is the time for Iraq’s leaders to govern their nation with the same vision and sense of purpose that helped to bring this new government together in the first place. And in that effort, they should know the U.S. will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iraqis.”—Secretary Kerry on the formation of the Iraqi government, September 8, 2014
The Germans neared Paris by early September 1914 and the sense of crisis grew. On September 2, U.S. Ambassador to France Myron T. Herrick visited French President Raymond Poincaré at the Elysée Palace as the Government of France prepared to remove its seat to the safety of Bordeaux. Poincaré…
Joint Op-Ed by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron: 'We Will Not Be Cowed by Barbaric Killers'
In a joint Op-Ed in the Times of London, U.S. President Barack Obama and United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the importance of the NATO alliance in confronting evolving challenges in the world today. The text of their Op-Ed appears below.
"When Nato last met in Britain in 1990 the Cold War was ending. As Margaret Thatcher and President Bush, Sr. pledged to continue to stand together, many might have thought that a new era of peace and prosperity would make this great security alliance less relevant. But today Nato is as vital to our future as it has ever been.
NATO Wales Summit: A Family of Nations Committed to Peace and Freedom
With only six days remaining until President Obama and other world leaders gather in Wales, final preparations are in full gear for the NATO Summit. In this two-day event, President Obama and other world leaders will focus on a diverse range of challenges: the Ukraine crisis and the impact of Russia’s actions on transatlantic security; NATO’s evolving mission in Afghanistan; the readiness of Alliance capabilities; and the deepening and broadening of NATO’s partnerships.
Going back to school? Ever thought about traveling abroad? Check out our Google+ Hangout to learn more!
Study abroad connects American high school students with future leaders around the world, enabling them to collaborate on today’s global challenges such as human rights, community development, workforce development, climate change, and global health. Scholarship opportunities are open to all American high school students who meet program eligibility criteria.
One of the many ways war impacted daily life for all in Paris, including those within the U.S. diplomatic community, was transportation—or lack of it. The Paris Métro closed at 7:30pm to comply with the 8pm curfew imposed in the first days of August 1914. Taxis, much in demand, became scarce and…
On the Frontlines of the Ebola Response: An Inside Look at a Program to Help the Grieving
In Liberia, a country gripped by Ebola, the outbreak has not only taken its toll on health care workers but also on the professionals who comfort the grieving.
“The outbreak of Ebola was very shocking and overwhelming to our country,” said Jestina Hoff, a counselor with the Liberian Red Cross. “It brought a lot fear.”
The outbreak has also hampered Hoff’s ability to do her job.” As a counselor, I talk to parents who lost a child or to someone who has gotten sick with the virus,” said Hoff. “They are feeling so discouraged, and I have to help them accept the situation and comfort them, but without touching them.”
Landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) are scattered throughout Somalia as a result of years of civil war and internal conflicts.
Al-Shabaab’s access to poorly secured weapons stockpiles aggravates violence, fuels crime, and poses a threat to security in Somalia and throughout the Horn of Africa.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is working with the Somali National Army to successfully curb the control and influence of al-Shabaab.
The international community, with the strong leadership of the United States, has made great strides in countering piracy off the Horn of Africa, and pirate attacks off the coast Somalia are at the lowest levels since 2006.
The U.S. is committed to supporting Somalia, providing over $1.5 billion in assistance since 2009 and over $300 million in FY2013 alone.
In January 2013, the United States recognized the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS).
Read more about the U.S.-Somalia relationship on DipNote!
“We pay tribute today to the world’s humanitarians – those unsung heroes who, despite the risks, work to save lives on the front lines of conflict and help victims of natural disasters pick up the pieces and rebuild their communities.”—Secretary Kerry on World Humanitarian Day, August 19, 2014
“We continue to see important progress across different parts of our strategy to support the Iraqi government and combat…ISIL.”—President Obama as he provided an update on the situation in Iraq on August 18, 2014
The Republic of South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011 following a 2005 peace agreement that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war. South Sudan, the world’s 195th country and the 193rd member state of the United Nations, is also Africa’s first newly independent country since Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993.
2. As a former part of Sudan, South Sudan has experienced the adverse effects of conflict since 1956, with more than two decades of internal strife.
These conflicts displaced millions of South Sudanese and left the country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, a weak economy, contamination from landmines and other explosive remnants of war, and an abundance of unsecured small arms and light weapons (SA/LW). The violence that reignited in December 2013 forced more than 1.5 million people from their homes, increasing their vulnerability to cholera outbreaks, widespread famine, landmines, and other unexploded munitions.
“Today, Iraqis took another major step forward in uniting their country.”—Ambassador Susan Rice on Prime Minister Maliki’s decision to step aside and support Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi, August 14, 2014
The rise of Asia — the world’s fastest growing economic zone, with a burgeoning middle class — is changing the world. Growing people-to-people links and technological advances are expanding the region’s influence.
We meet today in Sydney for the 29th annual AUSMIN to sign a landmark agreement between our governments which will provide a policy and legal framework, as well as cost-sharing principles, to support the continued implementation of U.S. force posture initiatives and to discuss new opportunities for cooperation.