Secretary Kerry meets with group of disabled law enforcement and military veterans who are now cyclists during a visit to the Coldeportes Center in Bogota, Colombia, on August 12, 2013. Read more about his trip here

Colombian Sports Visitors: On the Fast Track to Empowering Girls
 

Despite the early hour, 12 female athletes and two coaches, bright-eyed and dressed in matching blue and yellow track suits, visited us at the Department of State last week. They were eager to listen, ask questions, and share their experiences as teenage female athletes and Afro-Colombian students. Although the athletes had just met and came from three different cities, they already acted like teammates. Sports have a unique way of bringing people together.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs developed this fast-paced program as part of our Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, to inspire and empower more women and girls to become involved in all aspects of sports. During their exchange, the track and field athletes ran side by side with their American counterparts in Washington, D.C., at Woodrow Wilson High School, and then traveled to Portland, Oregon, to work with other female athletes at the 2013 NCAA Track and Field National Championships. MORE

Photo of the Week: Increasing Women’s Economic Participation in the Americas

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Colombian Vice Foreign Minister Patti Londono sign a memorandum of understanding on the Small Business Network of the Americas on the sidelines of the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas ministerial in Cali, Colombia, October 23, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Hannah Johnson serves as an Assistant Editor for DipNote.

Our “Photo of the Week” shows Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Colombian Vice Foreign Minister Patti Londono signing a memorandum of understanding on the Small Business Network of the Americas in Cali, Colombia, October 23, 2012.

Deputy Secretary Burns and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere AffairsRoberta Jacobson traveled to Cali for the fifth Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas ministerial. The government of Colombia hosted the event, attended by high-level government officials, policy makers, business leaders, academics, and representatives from international organizations throughout the… more »

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Colombian Vice Foreign Minister Patti Londono sign a memorandum of understanding on the Small Business Network of the Americas on the sidelines of the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas ministerial in Cali, Colombia, October 23, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Colombian Vice Foreign Minister Patti Londono sign a memorandum of understanding on the Small Business Network of the Americas on the sidelines of the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas ministerial in Cali, Colombia, October 23, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

It Starts With One: Alumni, Youth Empowerment, and a Vision for a Better Future

Regional Alumni Enrichment Workshop on Youth Empowerment and Citizen Security in Costa Rica [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Jeff Weinshenker serves as a Public Diplomacy Officer in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

It all starts with one. One idea. One individual. One community. And one vision for a better future.

It starts with Juan Pablo in Bolivia teaching at-risk youth how to express themselves through sports and culture, developing their own identity so others won’t define it for them.

It starts with Martha in Costa Rica or Yelitza in Panama, who found ways to reach the “unreachable” — gang members, drug users, and school dropouts in whom others had given up hope.

Sometimes it begins with an idea — teaching robotics to 10-year-olds in a drug-ravaged community in Costa Rica. Piece by piece, with the support of dedicated adults, these boys and girls learn to construct something bigger — engines, cars, complex systems — and along the way, they rebuild themselves and their neighborhoods.

These moments of inspiration exist across… more »

Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta S. Jacobson, State Department Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan, and U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall discuss their work at the UN General Assembly in New York. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]

Increasing Access to Affordable Electricity Across the Hemisphere

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, alongside Columbian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Cuellarmeets, center left, addresses the Connecting the Americas meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 27, 2012 in New York. [AP Photo]

About the Author: Roberta S. Jacobson serves as Assistant Secretary of State forWestern Hemisphere Affairs.

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of participating in a meeting with Secretary Clinton that she co-hosted with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Ángela Holguin to advanceConnecting the Americas 2022 (Connect 2022), the newest initiative under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. The meeting included many foreign ministers from the Western Hemisphere and focused on how Connect 2022 aims to increase energy access to citizens across our hemisphere.

More than 31 million people in the Western Hemisphere lack access to affordable, reliable energy services. Compared to the rest of the world, the Americas has high rates of electricity access, but far too many… more »

Security and Partnership in the Americas: All in a Day’s Work

Twenty-one special operations forces teams stand ready on the parade field displaying their nations colors during the opening ceremony at the Colombian National Training Center at Fort Tolemaida on June 6, 2012. [Photo by 107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment]

About the Author: Ambassador Carmen Martinez serves in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs as a Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) and Civilian Deputy to the Commander at U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM).

A few weeks back, I had the privilege of attending a remarkable event where I witnessed teams from many nations come together to put their bodies and minds to the test, competing against one another in a series of athletic events to see who would emerge as the true champion. I wasn’t at the London Olympics; I was in the middle of Tolemaida, Colombia at the Ninth Annual Fuerzas Comando exercise, a competition featuring special operations forces from 21 countries, and came to face-off with elite military forces from across the Western Hemisphere.

Around the world, Foreign Policy Advisors (POLADs) — diplomats assigned to serve as advisors to U.S. military commanders in the United States and overseas — have become a key element in forging “whole of government” solutions and approaches that combine diplomacy, development and defense in pursuing our nation’s foreign policy…more »

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns Delivers Remarks With Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maria Angela Holguin in Bogota, Colombia on July 31, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]

Trade Is Not Just for the Coasts, It’s for the Heartland Too

The snow capped Rocky Mountains are pictured over the Denver skyline on March 17, 2007. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Jose W. Fernandez serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

When most Americans think of states that export, the ones on the coasts or those bordering Mexico or Canada are usually the first to come to mind. We tend to think of computer chips from California or beef from Texas. What most Americans are missing, however, are the export powerhouses that exist in the middle of our country, at America’s heart. Colorado is a perfect example. While it is a landlocked state in the middle of the country, it also sits between Canada and Mexico, and at the midpoint between Tokyo and Frankfurt. Last year, Colorado exported over $7 billion worth of goods and services to countries around the world.

The United States was born a trading nation in 1776, and commerce has been the essential life blood of the United States and our entrepreneurial spirit. In observance of the annual World Trade Week, the World Trade Center Denver hosted a World… more »