Supporting Culture and Better Futures in Afghanistan
About the Author: Tara Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
This past month I had the opportunity to meet two incredible groups of young artists from Afghanistan — and to see firsthand evidence of how our public diplomacy efforts for young people in that country are bearing fruit. It was also a chance to underscore our commitment to support the strengthening and preservation of national cultures around the world.
The first artists were students of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), who began a State Department-funded tour in the United States with a concert of traditional Afghan music. I had the pleasure of introducing them, and we were joined by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who shared his own love for music with the audience. Over the course of their… more »
Berlin: Secretary Kerry Hits the Summit From Basecamp
About the Author: Leyla Ones serves as Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General Munich.
Hundreds of smart devices and laptops weren’t the only things buzzing this morning at Berlin’s Basecamp! Over 100 German and American students and young professionals gathered at this trendy part coffee shop, part high-tech store to join Secretary John Kerry in kicking off the first “Youth Connect” event. U.S. Embassy Berlin and Facebook co-hosted this exchange of ideas with Germany’s next generation of leaders and innovators. Popular German host Cherno Jobatey got the crowd excited before the Secretary arrived and moderated the event.
To underscore Secretary Kerry’s point that we live in a world more interconnected than ever, during the one-hour event, #youthconnect tweets were flying, Facebook postings were stacking up on… more »
#SecKerry To Hold First #YouthConnect Event on Inaugural Trip to Europe and the Middle East
About the Author: Richard Buangan serves as Director of Digital Engagement at the U.S. Department of State.
Earlier today, Secretary of State John Kerry departed on his inaugural overseas trip as Secretary of State. From February 24 to March 6, he will travel to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
The Secretary will begin his trip in London, the United Kingdom, where he will meet with senior British officials to discuss the range of bilateral and global issues on which we are closely coordinating. British Foreign Secretary William Hague already tweeted his delight to be hosting Secretary Kerry’s first overseas stop. Tweet us your thoughts…more »
American Athletes Promote Life Skills for Indian Youth
Office of the Spokesperson
February 12, 2013
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Barry Larkin and Olympian Natasha Watley will travel as sports envoys to India from February 12-18. Working with Major League Baseball and USA Softball, this trip marks the Department’s first joint baseball and softball program to encourage youth participation in sports.
In New Delhi and Imphal, Larkin and Whatley will lead baseball and softball clinics for underserved youth and their coaches, as well as engage in dialogue on sports and diversity. In both cities, the sports envoys will meet with officials from the Indian Baseball and Softball Associations as well as representatives from NGOs that promote youth sports opportunities. Throughout the exchange, they will speak with local media about how sports encourage in the development of good sportsmanship, leadership, and teamwork skills. MORE
Afghan Music Students Begin U.S. Tour
About the Author: James B. Cunningham serves as Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Winter Academy Gala Concert of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). Students ranging in age from 10 to 20 played Chopin and Ravel, as well as Afghan traditional songs and collaborative fusion pieces.
In a historic tour that began February 3, 2013, ANIM students are traveling in the United States to perform at venues ranging from the world-famous Carnegie Hall andKennedy Center to the headquarters of the World Bank and Fordham High School for the Arts. Even more… more »
Secretary Clinton To Hold Global Town Hall
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On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will hold a Global Townterview at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. A “Townterview” is a mix of a town hall and a television interview. The concept was first introduced by the Secretary when she entered office as a way to broaden people-to-people engagement.
This will be her 59th town hall and an opportunity to engage with young people around the world in advance of her last day as Secretary of State on Friday, February 1.
In partnership with media outlets from… more »
Disappearance of Lao Civil Society Leader Sombath Somphone
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
January 16, 2013
We are deeply concerned about the well-being of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, who disappeared one month ago. Reports indicate that Mr. Sombath went missing on December 15, 2012 after being stopped at a police checkpoint in the capital city of Vientiane. We call upon the Lao government to pursue a transparent investigation of this incident and to do everything in its power to bring about an immediate and safe return home to his family.
Since receiving his education in the United States, Mr. Sombath has worked tirelessly to promote sustainable development in Laos and he inspired a new generation of young leaders. He founded the Participatory Development Training Center, which trains Lao youth and local government leaders in community development and poverty reduction. His disappearance has generated a tremendous amount of concern from his family, friends and colleagues around the world. We urge his immediate return home and send our thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones.
U.S. Department of State Announces Basketball Sports Visitor Program with Youth from Burma
Office of the Spokesperson
January 4, 2013
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces that 12 Burmese youth—six boys and six girls—and two coaches will travel to the United States January 7-20. The basketball exchange program, with support from the National Basketball Association (NBA), marks the first State Department Sports Visitor program with Burma. Throughout the program, the group will learn about sports in the United States by participating in basketball clinics with their American peers and engage in educational sessions on nutrition, conflict resolution, and disability sports.
The program builds on the first-ever Sports Envoy program in Burma, that sent Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rich Cho, former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player Allison Feaster, current Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham, and former NBA player Marty Conlon to Burma as Sports Envoys in August 2012.
The basketball exchange participants, ages 15-17, will visit North Carolina to attend a Charlotte Bobcats game and take part in a clinic with Cho, who was born in Burma, and Bobcats players. In Washington, D.C., the group will attend a Washington Wizards game and meet team members.
SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ division devoted to sports diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State. Athletes and coaches from a range of sports are chosen to conduct clinics, visit schools, and engage with youth abroad in a dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices, and respect for diversity. The NBA has partnered with SportsUnited since 2005, helping to host Sports Visitors from 20 countries and sending nearly 60 current and former NBA and WNBA players and coaches to travel to more than 30 countries as Sports Envoys.
For more information, contact Anna Griffin of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fulbright Alum Helps Islamabad Street Kids Find a Better Future
About the Author: Jennifer McAndrew serves at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Jawaid is a four-year-old trash picker. He wants to be a tree when he grows up.
At least, that’s what he tells his teacher during an art class sponsored by the LettuceBee Kids project in Islamabad, Pakistan.
“But you are not a tree,” the teacher tells him. “If you don’t like where you are, you can move.”
That’s the idea behind the LettuceBee initiative, which helps street kids like Jawaid move beyond a life of begging and trash picking, and re-integrate back into society through art, music, and mentorship.
The brainchild of Sarah Adeel, a Fulbright alumna and graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the idea for LettuceBee Kids came about when she was in Pakistan in 2008 conducting research for her master’s thesis on child welfare in South Asia.
“I was doing a comparative analysis between orphanages and foster-care… more »