In Guatemala, we recently hosted the Secretary of State during his participation in the Organization of American States General Assembly in Antigua, Guatemala, a beautiful colonial city that was formerly the country’s capital. As Cultural Affairs Officer, I organized two cultural events for the Secretary in Antigua — a rare opportunity.
The two cultural events were different in nature, but both gave Secretary Kerry the opportunity to have meaningful and genuine interactions with Guatemalans of all ages. MORE
Secretary Kerry and I just returned from Antigua, Guatemala, which served for two centuries as the capital of Guatemala. It is a beautiful, historic place and truly illustrates why Guatemala is known as “the land of eternal spring.” We went to Antigua to bring the Obama administration’s spirit of partnership to the annual General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS is the region’s most inclusive and respected international organization. As Secretary Kerry said, “If the OAS didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it,” both because it embodies our remarkable community of shared interests and values and because it has played an essential role in forging norms and institutions that safeguard our hemisphere’s commitment to peace, democracy, and human dignity. MORE
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Antigua, Guatemala to participate in the General Assembly of the Organization of American States Plenary Session in Antigua, Guatemala, on June 5, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Guatemala for the Organization of American States General Assembly, June 4, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets a U.S. Air Force protocol officer as he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base to fly to an Organization of American States ministerial meeting in Antigua, Guatemala, on June 4, 2013. State Department photo/ Public Domain]
From the first time I visited with then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1998, Guatemala’s natural beauty and the warmth of its people, particularly the strength of its women despite many hardships, have left me with a special affinity for this Central American country. However, it has also long been a place rife with challenges. Even after the 1996 peace accords were signed to end the 36-year internal conflict, Guatemala has continued to struggle with malnutrition, poverty, corruption, organized crime, and high rates of violence against women.
Despite these challenges, my recent visit to the country has convinced me that Guatemala is beginning to address them, particularly gender-based violence (GBV) and other crimes. A big part of this change… more »
About the Author: Kathleen Guerra serves as Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.
As diplomats, one of our most important functions is to get to know the people of our host country. What do they think about what’s happening in the world? How do they view the critical issues of the day in their country? And what is their opinion on the United States?
Here in Guatemala, as Cultural Affairs Officer, I am lucky to have a job that allows me to do just that. I travel to many remote sites around the country, to check up on our English teaching programs or to visit an archaeological site we support with a grant from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. I meet a wide variety of people from all over Guatemala: young, old, rural, urban, rich, poor, male, female. I talk to them, and I learn a lot about their lives.
But some things, like gender-based violence, I will never understand. This issue was central in a visit last Friday by Ambassador-at-Large… more »
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 »
About the Author: Katie Dowd serves in the Office of the Secretary of State.
Last week, Guatemala City, Guatemala, played host to the first “Do It Yourself” (DIY) TechCamp. TechCamps are a signature program under Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative; they aim to build the digital literacy of civil society through two-day, interactive training events. To date, the State Department has coordinated 11 TechCamps around the world, convening more than 1,000 participants. So, how did Tech Camp Guatemala differ from past ones?
Civil society leaders and technologists in Guatemala used “TechCamp in a Box” to organize the event themselves. In the spirit of encouraging innovation and empowering civil society organizations to create change in their own community, we have made all of the planning materials for our TechCamp… more »