If we work together, the Western Hemisphere can become literally the most stable and prosperous region in the world.
Secretary Kerry at the Council of the Americas’ 44th Conference on the Americas, May 7, 2014
Small Grants: Huge Impact

Three WEAmericas Small Grants awardees (from left) -- Founder and President of Comunidades de la Tierra Maria Pachecho (Guatemala), Board Member of Women Entrepreneurs Network Caribbean Yaneek Page (Caribbean), D.C. Director of Fundación Paraguaya Mary Liz Kehler (Paraguay) -- pose for a photograph at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., February 4, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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

Small grants: huge impact. That was the recurring theme of an inspiring event Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer hosted earlier this week at the Department of State. As part of the WEAmericas initiative to support economic empowerment for women-owned businesses in the Western Hemisphere, we announced 25 small grants for organizations in 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as two regional projects. The Walmart Foundation and the Secretary of State’s International Fund for Women and Girls sponsored the grants.

We… more »

‘English Can Open Doors for Me’

English-language students present at the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano in Chepen, Peru, December 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Kay Webb Mayfield is the Director of the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

As the school year draws to a close in South America, hundreds of students are celebrating completion of their two-year English Access program, and recognizing how much Access has done for them beyond developing proficiency in a new language. During a visit last week, I had the chance to visit some of these students in Peru and Paraguay. They expressed themselves with confidence when we spoke English together, and reflected thoughtfully on their experience in essays on “What English Access Means to Me.”

At the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano in the northwest Peruvian city of Chepen, the Access graduates-to-be talk knowledgeably about important figures in U.S. history such as Benjamin Franklin (for whom the Institute’s school is named), celebrate U.S. holidays, develop an awareness of civic responsibility, and dream about their future. The Centro Cultural Paraguayo… more »

Addressing Our Shared Security Challenges in the Caribbean

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Liliana Ayalde addresses the third Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, December 5, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Juan A. Alsace serves as the Director of the Office of the Caribbean in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

With such close proximity to the United States, many Americans have Caribbean roots. Like many others who feel the pull of the region, my own Caribbean heritage — my parents are from the Dominican Republic — inspired me to serve as a U.S. diplomat there and led to my current position as Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs. More than 6 million U.S. citizens and residents visit the Caribbean every year and leave with wonderful memories: idyllic beaches, crystal blue waters, and inviting hosts. Relaxation at its best, some would argue.

The reality is that the challenges many Caribbean citizens face in their daily lives are far from relaxing. Poverty, social stigmas, and above all, crime and insecurity deeply impact the people of… more »

Partnering With Central America To Combat Crime
Secretary Clinton, Central American Leaders Pose for a Photo, Guatemala, March 2010. [AP]

About the Author: About the Author: Julissa Reynoso serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Early tomorrow morning, Secretary Clinton will lead the U.S. delegation to the International Conference of Support for Central American Security Strategy, in Guatemala City. The conference will bring together many of the presidents from Central America, as well as President Santos of Colombia and President Calderon of Mexico, and senior leaders from Spain, Canada, Italy, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Chile, the European Union, the United States, and international organizations to discuss strategies for overcoming security concerns in Central America.

As a neighbor and a partner in the hemisphere, the United States is one of many countries concerned about the growing violence and insecurity that transnational crime has… more »

Celebrating the Deep Ties Between the United States and Caribbean
A customs officer works at Port Caucedo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 26, 2006 [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Makila James serves as Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Earlier this week, Roberta Jacobson, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, met with Caribbean countries’ ambassadors to the United States. Their meeting, which coincided with the celebration of National Caribbean-American Heritage Month in the United States, reflected the deep ties of shared heritage, shared interests, and shared aspirations between the United States and countries of the Caribbean.

With more than 34 million people and 16 independent nations sharing a rich and diverse cultural and ethnic heritage, the Caribbean is a diverse region that includes some… more »