Maintaining an Open, Consumer-Driven, and Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Telecommunications

In this Nov. 8, 2011, file photo, a man holds a mobile phone in Berlin. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Ambassador Terry Kramer serves as U.S. Head of Delegation, World Conference on International Telecommunications.

As never before in human history, we take for granted the ability to communicate across borders, oceans, and continents. Mobile technology and Internet connectivity are woven into the daily life of most Americans, and have created new avenues for connection, interaction, sharing, and understanding. Meanwhile, the pace of evolution and innovation in mobile and Internet technology ensures an ever-changing, ever-expanding communications landscape.

That landscape extends across the globe, and while not all corners of the world have come to enjoy the full benefits of the Internet age yet, the global expansion of those benefits is gaining speed. The number of Internet users in Africa, for example, is growing by more than 30 percent per year, and mobile broadband services in developing countries grew by nearly 80 percent in 2011 alone.

Consider for just a moment… more »

International Tolerance Day 2012: Laying the Foundation for Lasting Peace


People hold hands as they play at a school near Kathmandu, Nepal, August 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Dr. Esther Brimmer serves as Assistant Secretary of State forInternational Organization Affairs.

Difference must not be a source of division, but of strength. That’s the core message of this year’s International Day for Tolerance. Tolerance is a way to disarm fear and to lay the foundations for lasting peace, and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is promoting tolerance through innovative education programs about the Holocaust and genocides throughout history. The United States is a strong supporter of this effort. 

On the occasion of International Day for Tolerance, I would like to share with you a recent UNESCO report entitled, “Why Teach About Genocide? The Example of the Holocaust.” This report stems… more »

United States Reelection to the Human Rights Council

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC
November 12, 2012

The United States is pleased to have been elected by the United Nations General Assembly to a second term on the Human Rights Council. We thank the countries that voted for us in what was a highly competitive race among several qualified Western candidates that are all strong champions of human rights. We pledge to continue to work closely with the international community to address urgent and serious human rights concerns worldwide and to strengthen the Council. While much hard work remains to be done, especially ending the Council’s disproportionate and biased focus on Israel, we look forward to cooperating with other Council members to continue to address human rights concerns and to ensure that the Council fully realizes its promise. MORE.

Agricultural Development Empowers Women in Africa

Marketplace in Mozambique, June 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Karen Johnson is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Rome, Italy, where she works with FAO and other UN agencies in Rome to support innovative and effective development projects.

It’s normal to think that food assistance is simply about keeping stomachs full. But, in fact, it’s far more complex than that. It’s also about empowering and enabling people to support themselves and their communities on a sustainable basis. A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Zimbabwe and Mozambique to visit development projects supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with local authorities. It was there that I saw what a difference agricultural development efforts can make in people’s lives.

Women Take the Lead

It was clear to me that women play the key role in providing food and income to their families in both these countries. In the areas I visited, small-scale farmers are almost exclusively female. Many of the local men have moved to South Africa to work in mines, therefore women are the community leaders… more »

Living in Limbo

Life in close proximity to animals, coupled with poor basic amenities, means there is a high likelihood of disease, especially for the elderly, June 2006. [UNHCR/G.M.B.Akash photo]

About the Author: Elizabeth Campbell serves as the Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

Imagine if you did not have a country to call home. Imagine, not being able to legally get a job, marry, or own land. Forget about trying to travel. And if you had children, what legacy would you leave for them?

Statelessness impacts as many as 12 million people around the globe. Often, this under-recognized human right, the right to a nationality, can increase the risk of exploitation and abuse, including forced migration and trafficking in persons. Women and children are particularly vulnerable.

That’s why the U.S. led resolution, along with Botswana, Colombia, Mexico, Iraq, Turkey, and Slovakia, passed at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva today is so important. “The Right to a Nationality: Women and Children,” is… more »

Op-Ed: ‘Are Open Educational Resources the Key to Global Economic Growth?’

Women work on computers in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, April 2012. [AP File Photo]

Ambassador David T. Killion, U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO, and Sir John Daniel, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning from 2004 to 2012 and UNESCO’s assistant director-general for education from 2001 to 2004, co-authored anopinion piece that appeared yesterday in The Guardian. In the piece, Ambassador Killion and Sir Daniel underscore why open educational resources are the key to global economic growth. The text of their article follows below.

As economic leaders gathered in Los Cabos in June to debate fiscal strategies for restoring global growth, educational leaders were meeting at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to discuss a different kind of solution.

Discussed… more »

Internet Freedom Fellows Program Emphasizes Defense of Fundamental Freedoms Online

Ambassador Eileen Donahoe introduces the 2012 Internet Freedom Fellows during a press conference at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, June 20, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe serves as the U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

At the Human Rights Council (HRC), the United States has consistently placed special emphasis on the protection and promotion of the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, because we understand that these fundamental freedoms are essential to facilitating the exercise of other universal rights.

As activity in the economic, social, and the political realms gravitates from the offline world to the online world, we have an additional responsibility to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms are not eroded simply because they are being exercised in the digital realm. The United States is committed to the principle that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected in the online world.

Last week, I had the chance to spend time with the Internet Freedom Fellows, six young human rights activists, each of whom is… more »

UNESCO’s Role in Advancing and Promoting Peace
Ambassador David T. Killion, U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO, speaks with students about UNESCO's role in advancing and promoting peace, at the Montgomery Community College Takoma Park Campus in Maryland, in celebration of their International Peace Week on September 14, 2011. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: David Killion serves as the U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, France.

On my most recent trip to the States, I had the pleasure of speaking to students and faculty on two campuses at Montgomery Community College in celebration of their International Peace Week. Montgomery College, with campuses in Takoma Park, Rockville, and Germantown, Maryland, serves nearly 60,000 students from more than 170 countries. It is certainly one of the most diverse community colleges in the nation —practically a mini-United Nations. I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with students about UNESCO’s role in advancing and promoting peace.

Through UNESCO’s cultural development programs, which strengthen cultural understanding through preservation and development activities, UNESCO is able to help promote pride in cultural heritage and respect of other cultures. The United States is a strong supporter of UNESCO, including these efforts.

The students… more »

Liberian Women Lead a Revolution in Agriculture
Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, U.S. Representative to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, meets with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia in August 2011. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Ambassador Ertharin Cousin serves as U.S. Representative to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

As we continue to respond to the heartbreaking crisis in the Horn of Africa, it’s important to keep in mind that we are able to apply some lessons learned from our long term commitment to relief and development work elsewhere in Africa. The key, it seems to me, is to respond to the disaster while also building long term solutions to broader issues. Just before I visited refugee camps along the Somalia border last week, I traveled to Liberia to look into some of our longer term programs there. It was quite an amazing visit.

I was able to view firsthand the synergies between World Food Programmore »

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer describes the benefits of career opportunities with the United Nations on July 22, 2011.