Do you know which country’s constitution promises that a minimum of 60 percent its land area will be maintained as forest for all time? Which country’s government pledges to protect, conserve, and improve the pristine environment and safeguard the biodiversity of the country; prevent pollution and ecological degradation; secure ecologically balanced sustainable development while promoting justifiable economic and social development; and ensure a safe and healthy environment? The answer is the Kingdom of Bhutan, a small Himalayan country located between China and India. Bhutan’s use of a “Gross National Happiness” index to measure progress, rather than GDP, is well-known, but fewer people know of the importance that Bhutan attaches to conserving its natural environment and biodiversity.
The Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation held in Thimphu, Bhutan… more »
About the Author: David Shear serves as U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam.
Just like many other places around the world, here in Vietnam, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) team is commemorating World AIDS Day on December 1. As a tradition over the past several years, PEPFAR’s public diplomacy outreach takes place through multiple events across Vietnam, ranging from HIV/AIDS awareness concerts, photo exhibits and television shows, to drama performances and movie screenings.
PEPFAR continues to be the cornerstone of the U.S. Mission’s health diplomacy effort to strengthen diplomatic relations with the host government and the Vietnamese people since formal relations resumed in 1995. In Vietnam, people living with HIV/AIDS routinely face significant stigma and discrimination. Injecting drug use is the leading… more »
Photo of the Week: Raising the Status of Girls Worldwide
About the Author: Alison Bauerlein serves as an editor for DipNote and a Foreign Service Officer in the Office of Digital Engagement.
This week’s “Photo of the Week” comes to us from USAID/Vietnam’s Richard Nyberg, who took this photo in the central highlands of Vietnam on October 9, 2010. The young girl pictured is one of the many ethnic minority girls benefiting from the support of USAID, the East Meets West Foundation, and the people and authorities in Kon Tum, Vietnam.
On Thursday, October 11, 2012, the world marked the first-ever celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child. As USAID noted on its web page devoted to the day, the occasion provides an opportunity for “reaching out… more »
Press Statement Victoria Nuland Department Spokesperson Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC September 24, 2012
We are deeply troubled by the convictions of three Vietnamese bloggers who appear to have done nothing more than exercise their right to freedom of expression. Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay) was sentenced to twelve years, Ta Phong Tan received ten years, and Phan Thanh Hai, four years. All face house arrest following completion of their sentences.
Punishing activists for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression is inconsistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These convictions are the latest in a series of moves by Vietnamese authorities to restrict freedom of expression. The Vietnamese government should release these three bloggers, all prisoners of conscience, and adhere to its international obligations immediately.
A free media is essential to an open and just society. As Secretary Clinton has noted, protection of human rights is a necessary step in developing a closer, more mature bilateral relationship.
On the Fourth of July, I wrote an entry celebrating the “American Brand.” I feel even more strongly about the importance and value of the “American Brand” after a recent trip to South East Asia and the Middle East.
I traveled throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, and Burma with businessmen and women from over 50 of America’s best companies seeking opportunities to increase trade and investment in the region. The delegations — which were organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council — met with Secretary Clinton and senior foreign business leaders and government officials, including several heads of state.
Our delegations were enthusiastically greeted in every country we visited. Business and government leaders there recognized… more »
About the Author: Tom Weinz serves as the dedicated Foreign Service Officer for Pacific Partnership 2012.
Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12)/USNS Mercy arrived in Vinh, Vietnam, on July 10. On that same day, Secretary Clinton arrived in Hanoi, just two hundred miles north of Vinh, to meet with Vietnamese leaders. During the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the return of the Fulbright Program to Vietnam, she commented that the 15,000 Vietnamese students currently studying in the United States benefit as much from the relationships and perspectives they acquire as the education and skills from their studies. Her remarks are equally applicable to Pacific Partnership; the relationships and interactions from this experience clearly affect everyone involved, from all nations.
This year, the 17 participants represented 13 different countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Vietnam. These “Senior Managers” are each leaders in their respective national mine action and ERW programs. This diversity the students bring in terms of background and experience is one of the main reasons… more »
On July 10, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, where she met with senior Vietnamese leaders. The Secretary also witnessed the signing of several agreements covering education exchanges and commercial contracts, as well as met with representatives of U.S. and Vietnamese business communities.
Secretary Clinton and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh discussed a number of issues, including maritime security, nonproliferation, public health, disaster relief, and promoting trade and economic growth, as well as shared interest in deepening cultural, educational, and economic ties. In a joint press… more »
Remarks at American Chamber of Commerce Reception and Commercial Signings
Remarks Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State Hilton Opera Hotel Hanoi, Vietnam July 10, 2012
Well, I am delighted to be here with all of you. It’s great being in Hanoi, a pretty cool place, I think – (laughter) – and to be part of this event, which furthers our important relationships. And thank you very much for the award. I am delighted that I had a chance to receive it in front of such a distinguished audience, and I think it is a great reminder of how important it is that we have the public and the private sector working together on behalf of greater prosperity and progress and opportunity for all of us.
I was delighted to visit with Chamber representatives all over the world at our Global Business Conference in Washington this year, and I’d like to thank Hank Tomlinson for your leadership here in Vietnam. I want to thank Fred Burke for your very kind words and the presentation of the award. I want to thank Madam Nga for being here with us and, of course, recognize our excellent Ambassador David Shear, who has a great team working on behalf of American interests and American businesses.
We are very committed to this relationship between the United States and Vietnam, just as we are to the reenergizing of America’s relationship throughout the Asia Pacific. It’s one of the top priorities of the Obama Administration. The United States is, after all, an enduring Pacific power with Pacific interests, and we intend to be a presence in the Pacific region for the foreseeable future. MORE.