About the Author: Williams S. Martin serves as Deputy Director for Peace Operations in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.
After a trip to Beijing to support U.S.-Chinese talks on UN peacekeeping, I recently made my way via Guangzhou, China and Perth and Darwin, Australia to Dili, Timor-Leste. I went to Timor-Leste to see if this tiny country — roughly the size of Connecticut with a population of approximately one million — is on track to say goodbye to its UN peacekeeping mission at the end of this year.
I was the first person from the Department of State’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs to visit Timor-Leste in over a decade. That is largely because it is so far from Washington, D.C. — about 10,000 miles (16,000 km). As I flew in, I could see below me a tropical country with lush, wooded hills covered in low clouds and the small capital of Dili nestled between the hills and a… more »
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
May 31, 2012
SECRETARY CLINTON: It is indeed a pleasure to be back here in Copenhagen. This is my first stop on a trip that will take me to several European countries over the next week to underscore America’s commitment to our transatlantic allies and our shared values. You are, after all, our partners of first resort. And together, we are facing the challenges of a complex, dangerous, and fast-moving world. And I’m particularly grateful for Denmark’s leadership in the area of humanitarian and development assistance as well as the staunch contributions to our shared security.
The friendship between our two countries dates back more than two centuries and the bonds between our people have endured over that time. Our commitment to democracy, to human rights, to human dignity is core to all of us. And this morning I had the great privilege of speaking with a group of Danish young people about the kind of future that we hope awaits them.
We had a very productive lunch, talked through a range of issues as the minister has said, because after all we are working together on matters ranging from nuclear proliferation in Iran to global food security. MORE
About the Author: David Huebner serves as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa.
Tomorrow will be a great day. I am in Apia, and will be participating in celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the former Western Samoa’s independence from foreign rule. I feel a particular connection to the event because New Zealand was Samoa’s former administrator, and I am officially accredited to both nations.
Also, as an American, I have an affinity for independence days. Americans, like Samoans, instinctively understand the importance of empowering citizens to direct their own destiny, to speak freely, to assemble as they wish, and to pray to their Creator as they see fit, without government interference. Independence is not about nationalist rhetoric, it is about personal liberty.
The first of the island territories to regain independence after World War II, Western Samoa — officially renamed in 1997 as the Independent State of Samoa — has been… more »
About the Author: Ivo Daalder serves as U.S. Ambassador to NATO.
At the just-concluded NATO Summit in Chicago, the largest gathering of NATO nations and partners since the Alliance was founded, we delivered on the promises we made at our historic Lisbon Summit 18 months earlier.
First of all, we added details to the Lisbon roadmap for how we will gradually and responsibly wind down the NATO mission in Afghanistan. By the middle of 2013, every district and province in Afghanistan will have Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the lead for security, with NATO forces in a supporting role. By the end of 2014, the Afghans will be fully responsible for their own security, and the NATO-led combat mission will come to an end. But our engagement in Afghanistan will continue after 2014, with a new mission focused on training and advising the Afghan forces.
Second, even in this fiscally austere time, NATO leaders agreed to… more »
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
May 30, 2012
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here today with all of you representing civil society, as well as colleagues from across the U.S. government. I am, as you’ve heard, Maria Otero, and I have the pleasure of representing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today.
For Secretary Clinton, and indeed for the Obama Administration, the word “inclusion” has taken on a new focus in our foreign policy. From women’s rights, to LGBT rights, to the rights of individuals with disabilities, we recognize one vital truth: we cannot fully honor our commitment to human rights so long as any one group is left in the shadows of society. As Secretary Clinton has said, “All people everywhere have the right to live productive lives, free from discrimination and with equal access to opportunities.” MORE
More: Trip Page | Interactive Travel Map
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey from May 31-June 7. In Denmark, Secretary Clinton will hold bilateral meetings with senior Danish officials in Copenhagen. She will also participate in the kick-off event for Green Partnerships for Growth, a bilateral initiative to promote green technology through public and private sector partnerships.
On June 1, Secretary Clinton will travel to Oslo, Norway, to meet with senior Norwegian officials and give keynote remarks at a global health conference hosted by the Norwegian government titled, “A World in Transition… more »
About the Author: Kristin M. Kane serves as Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
There is something special about seeing American jazz played in Africa: The audience responds in a unique way — as do the musicians performing the music.
Such was the case at the recent St. Louis Jazz Festival: St. Louis, Senegal, that is. The former capital of French Africa and a UNESCO world heritage site, the city is known for its crumbling but still-captivating architecture on the mile-long island on the border of Mauritania. The festival, the most important of its kind in Africa, celebrated its 20th year last week. The brand-new Minister of Culture, Youssou Ndour, otherwise known as one of Africa’s leading artists, declared for the first time that the festival’s tickets would be free.
During the opening ceremony, Ndour handed the U.S. Embassy an award to show the appreciation of our contributions to jazz over the years. In years past, jazz greats,…more »
Office of the Spokesperson
May 30, 2012
Deputy Secretary Burns will depart May 30 for a trip to Singapore, arriving May 31. On June 1, he will meet with government counterparts and senior officials to discuss a broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues, underscoring the continued growth in our strategic partnership with Singapore.
June 2, the Deputy will join Secretary Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey, and other senior U.S. officials and members of Congress to participate in the annual Shangri-la Dialogue. On the margins of the Dialogue, he will meet with senior officials from other delegations to discuss regional and global security concerns.
As May 29 is International Day of UN Peacekeepers, it is an optimal moment to reflect on the work we support by peacekeeping missions, perhaps the best known symbol of the international community’s efforts for peace. As the UN has noted today, since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, more than 2,990 military, police, and civilian personnel have lost their lives serving in these missions. Certainly we see the challenge today, as missions try to address fresh violence in Syria, Sudan, and the eastern Congo. What is this about?
Like anyone who has visited some of the more than 100,000 people worldwide who serve in UN missions, I am struck by the effort involved. Civilians, police, and military personnel wake up every morning to… more »
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
May 29, 2012
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the men and women who serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world and to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. I would also like to recognize the many American personnel who have participated in UN peacekeeping operations, including most recently, U.S. Army Brigadier General Hugh Van Roosen who will be the new Chief of Staff of the UN Mission in Liberia.
Since the first UN peacekeeping mission which was created on this day sixty-four years ago, civilian and military personnel have served under the UN flag in 67 operations around the world. Because of their work, the world is safer and more secure. The United States is committed to UN peacekeeping operations, and to a more peaceful world.
About the Author: Mark Thornburg serves as Assistant Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
U.S. Embassy Kabul commemorated Memorial Day with a ceremony held in the flag-lined courtyard in front of the main chancery. The Kabul Marine Security Guard detachment lowered the flag to the “retreat” bugle call and then re-raised it, as tradition dictates, to the National Anthem.
Charge d’Affaires David Pearce gave the keynote address, recognizing the sacrifices of both men and women in uniform as well as those of us who choose to willingly serve beside them in areas of active combat. He called attention to the plaques at the base of the embassy that commemorate fallen Chief of Mission personnel, including Ambassador Adolphe “Spike” Dubs, who was abducted by terrorists and killed in 1979; Tom Stefani, who was killed in a roadside bombing in Ghazni Province in 2007; three DEA agents killed in a helicopter crash in Badghis Province in 2009; and seven mission employees… more »
Office of the Spokesperson
May 29, 2012
On Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 2:00 p.m., EDT, the U.S. Department of State will host a Spanish-language Twitter Briefing. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer will take questions submitted to the Department’s official Spanish-language Twitter feed @USAenEspanol. Questions can be submitted starting today to@USAenEspanol using the hashtag #AskState.
Assistant Secretary Hammer will answer questions in Spanish from the podium in the Department’s press briefing room. Video clips of his responses will be made available on the Department’s YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/statevideo.
@USAenEspanol is one of the Department’s 11 official Twitter accounts, which include @StateDept (English), @USAbilAraby (Arabic), @USA_Zhongwen (Chinese), @USAdarFarsi (Farsi), @USAenFrancais (French), @USAHindiMein (Hindi), @USAemPortugues (Portuguese), @USApoRusski (Russian), @ABDTurk (Turkish), and @USAUrdu (Urdu). These social media accounts serve as a conduit for the U.S. Department of State to inform and engage publics around the world on foreign policy issues. They also support the Department’s 21st Century Statecraft efforts, complementing traditional foreign policy by harnessing the digital networks and technologies of an interconnected world.
This press release is also available in Spanish.
On May 28, 2012, President Barack Obama delivered remarks at Arlington National Cemetery and at the Vietnam War Memorial to commemorate Memorial Day. In recognition of this day, President Obama also authored an op-ed, which appeared in the Military… more »
About the Author: Adrian Pratt serves as a Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand.
Today Frank Zalot Jr. came back for the first time to the place he saw 10 of his shipmates drown on a dreadful day in 1943.
This Memorial Day the people of Kapiti Coast on the North Island of New Zealand unveiled a memorial to the 10 U.S. sailors who died during a training exercise while trying to come ashore on June 20, 1943. About 350 people, including Charge d’Affaires Marie Damour and a U.S. Marine Color guard, were there for the dedication of the memorial, sculptured into the shape of a landing craft, close to the waters where the tragedy occurred.
The story of the drowning only recently came to light. At last year’s Memorial Service, Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowland read out the names of the dead for the first time. A world away, in Massachusetts, that reading had a profound effect on Zalot.
“For 68 years I had this nightmare,” the still spritely… more »
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 25, 2012
This Memorial Day, we honor the men and women who have defended our nation, and mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. On Memorial Day, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in an event at Arlington National Cemetery. The President, Vice President, First Lady and Dr. Biden will also attend an event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Prior to these events, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama will meet with Gold Star Families. On Friday, the Vice President and Dr. Biden attended an event to honor the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp.
Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War
“This month, we’ll begin to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, a time when, to our shame, our veterans did not always receive the respect and the thanks they deserved — a mistake that must never be repeated.” — President Obama, May 16, 2012
The Memorial Day gathering at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall marks the beginning of the national commemoration of the Vietnam War’s 50th anniversary program and is a joint effort between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the National Park Service and the Department of Defense.
The Federal Government will partner with State and local governments, private organizations, and communities across America to launch the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War—a 13-year program to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced and pay tribute to the more than 3 million men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor. The events and activities that are a part of this commemoration will:
- Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
- Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the armed forces.
- Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.
- Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War.
- Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.
About the Author: Maura O’Neill serves as Chief Innovation Officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Kat Townsend serves as Special Assistant for Engagement at USAID.
Recently, President Obama announced the G-8’s commitment to the “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition,” the next phase of the G-8’s shared commitment to achieving global food security and nutrition goals. One of the elements of this New Alliance is a focus on science, technology, and innovation including the importance of open and available food security data. The group also committed to convene an international conference on food security and open data for G-8 members and stakeholders to determine how to increase openness and access to data. Seizing on the commitment… more »