Today is World Population Day. 
Did you know that about 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year and another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions?
This year the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is raising awareness of the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Via united-nations

Today is World Population Day. 

Did you know that about 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year and another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions?

This year the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is raising awareness of the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Via united-nations

Celebrating the Spirit of America on the Fourth of July
 

This Fourth of July, thousands of Foreign Service officers will spend the holiday overseas, representing the United States in countries all over the world.  We sometimes forget, however, that these diplomats are not the only ones celebrating Independence Day far away from home — their families are right there with them. MORE. 

Even as this continent faces great challenges — and they are great, and we can’t paper over them or pretend that those challenges don’t exist — even as too many Africans still endure tremendous hardship and great injustice, there is, as the song says — a “new Africa” — more prosperous, more confident, taking its place on the world stage.
President Obama on Africa during the Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall, June 29, 2013
Young Inventors Learn the Importance of Intellectual Property Protection at LEGO Competition
 
Read more about the State Department’s FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Innovation Ambassadors event, which celebrated and showcased young innovators from around the world.
A Message to American International Exchange Host Families: Thank You
 
“The map of the world is more than just a big poster on the wall. It represents people our children have come to love in countries they may have never heard of otherwise,” according to the Strain family of San Antonio, Texas when we asked what being a host family meant to them.

As summer begins for families around the United States, we would like to say thank you to the volunteer American host families who generously provided a home-away-from-home for one of nearly 2,000 high school exchange students from over 50 countries that are on State Department-sponsored exchange programs this year. MORE

Change a Life, Change the Future: Recommitting To End Undernutriton Through the 1,000 Days Partnership
 

One thousand days ago, the governments of the United States and Ireland came together to commit to promote nutrition for mothers and young children through the 1,000 Days partnership.   Why 1,000 days?  During the critical 1,000 days from pregnancy to age 2, better nutrition can have a lifelong impact on a child’s future and help break the cycle of poverty. MORE

Secretary Kerry Meets With Students in Guatemala

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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

Colombian Sports Visitors: On the Fast Track to Empowering Girls
 

Despite the early hour, 12 female athletes and two coaches, bright-eyed and dressed in matching blue and yellow track suits, visited us at the Department of State last week. They were eager to listen, ask questions, and share their experiences as teenage female athletes and Afro-Colombian students. Although the athletes had just met and came from three different cities, they already acted like teammates. Sports have a unique way of bringing people together.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs developed this fast-paced program as part of our Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, to inspire and empower more women and girls to become involved in all aspects of sports. During their exchange, the track and field athletes ran side by side with their American counterparts in Washington, D.C., at Woodrow Wilson High School, and then traveled to Portland, Oregon, to work with other female athletes at the 2013 NCAA Track and Field National Championships. MORE

Delegation to India Promotes Women and Girls in Technology
 

Last week, the Department of State led a delegation of technology executives from U.S.-based companies to India to explore the challenges we face in fully engaging the potential of women in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to meet the demands of our global economy.  Headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alyssa Ayres, the delegation visited government offices, universities, local and multinational companies, and industry groups in New Delhi and Bangalore. MORE

The Power of English Learning
 

Throughout my travels as an Under Secretary, I have been constantly reminded of the magnetism of English language learning.

From Ethiopia to Istanbul, from Lahore to Tokyo, the young people I have met who study English have been eager to demonstrate their skills. High school students in Ukraine sang songs to me in English. College students in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, asked me to read their English essays.  In the Dominican Republic, young people proudly showed their handiness at playing “Trace Effects,” our online English-learning videogame. And in these upturned faces, I also saw growing self-belief and excitement about new possibilities ahead. MORE