Looking Beyond Kiir and Machar for Solutions in South Sudan

South Sudan marked its third year of independence on July 9, but this year there seemed little for the people of South Sudan to celebrate.  I was just in South Sudan, from June 30 to July 2, and saw firsthand the destruction, dislocation and death wrought by several months of pointless conflict between forces aligned with President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.  I remember a particularly vivid moment in the trip — at a UN displaced persons camp on the outskirts of Juba — where I sat face to face with ten camp leaders, all representatives of a burgeoning South Sudanese population seeking refuge from war, violence, hunger, and insecurity.  

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with senior Iraqi government officials and civil society leaders, who are participating in a U.S. program to support Iraqi widows and female heads of household, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 14, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Discussing the Forum for the Future With Moroccan Civil Society

Held annually since 2004, the G-8 Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative’s Forum for the Future brings together G-8 and BMENA governments, the private sector, and civil society leaders to work toward political, social, and economic progress. The 2012 Forum was the first year that government, civil society, and private sector representatives actively participated in the Forum as equals — reflecting the goals of the U.S. and Tunisian co-chairs to generate reform-oriented discussions and promote greater citizen-government dialogue. MORE

TechCamp Inspires Young People in North Africa

Young people participate in a workshop during TechCamp in Morocco, November 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Rebecca Wainess serves in the Office of the Secretary of State’s Senior Advisor for Innovation.

Three years ago at the Forum for the Future, Secretary Clinton announced the Civil Society 2.0 initiative, in Marrakech, Morocco. The program was created to help grassroots organizations around the world increase their digital literacy to share their stories, build their memberships and connect to their community of peers around the world. Today, the TechCamp program has become the cornerstone of this initiative by providing hands-on training to more than 1,200 organizations from 84 countries to date.

Three years after the launch of the Civil Society 2.0 Initiative, we returned to Morocco to host TechCamp Morocco. Focused on youths and employment, this TechCamp brought together… more »

Civil Society, Democracy, and America’s Commitment to Asia and the Pacific

Dr. Tomicah Tillemann speaks with The Voice, Inc., a youth development NGO based in Papua New Guinea, November 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Tomicah Tillemann serves as the Secretary of State’s Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies.

Our work to rebalance U.S. diplomacy in Asia goes beyond economic and security considerations. We are also committed to standing up for America’s values.

In mid-November, I was in the city of Hangzhou, China participating in a groundbreaking conference on the role of civil society in U.S. foreign policy. The meeting was organized by the Institute for American Studies at Zhejiang University, and it marked the first time scholars in China have ever come together to discuss why organizations outside of government are such an important feature of America’s global engagement.

Participants in the meeting included experts from Chinese universities, the Academy of Sciences, and leaders from American civil society organizations. Our Chinese colleagues arrived with a wide range of assumptions about how American civil society groups operate and the degree to which… more »

TechCamp Kyiv Equips Tomorrow’s Global Citizens with Technology

Educators, youth advocates, and community organizers from Ukraine and Belarus to work together and examine how social challenges can be addressed using effective, low cost, easy-to-implement technology solutions during TechCamp Kyiv at the at the Master Klass Cultural center in Ukraine, September 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Jamie Findlater serves as New Media Advsior in the Office of eDiplomacy.

On September 12 and 13 in Kyiv, Ukraine, the U.S. Department of State hosted the 13th TechCamp, a program initiated to build the digital literacy of civil society organizations around the world. TechCamp Kyiv, themed “Creating a Global Citizen: Building Schools without Walls,” brought together over 80 civil society organizations comprised of educators, youth advocates, and community organizers from Ukraine and Belarus to work together and examine how social challenges can be addressed using effective, low cost, easy-to-implement technology solutions. TechCamps raise the digital literacy for civil society organizations by bringing in local and regional technology experts to educate, train, and work with civil society groups over the course of two days. The core of Secretary Clinton’s Civil… more »

Secretary Clinton Highlights Civil Society Contributions To End Global Hunger

Dairy farmer Margaret Chinkwende explains her work to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Martin Banda of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Lilongwe, Malawi, August 5, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Jonathan Shrier serves as Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security.

Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton co-hosted an event with President Joyce Banda of Malawi, to highlight both the progress made in the last three years under Feed the Future and the contributions of civil society organizations to advance our food security goals.

The highlight of the event was an extraordinary commitment by civil society organizations.

As Secretary Clinton said, “Today, I am pleased to announce a new commitment by civil society groups…InterAction, an alliance of 198 U.S.-based organizations, is pledging more than one billion dollars of private, non-government funds over the next three years to… more »

Arrest and Harassment of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Activists in Zimbabwe

Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 23, 2012

The United States condemns the Government of Zimbabwe’s violent arrest and detention of 44 members of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe on August 11 and a second raid by police on August 20. Several of these members sustained serious medical injuries from the attacks and were detained without charges. The Government of Zimbabwe has also targeted these same members’ homes and singled out their families for interrogation and harassment.

The United States stands in solidarity with Zimbabwe’s civil society, including LGBT activists. We are deeply concerned when security forces become an instrument of political violence used against citizens exercising their democratic rights. We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to end this pattern of abuse and to eradicate the culture of impunity that allows members of the security sector to continue to violate the rights of the Zimbabwean people.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks at a meeting with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and Civil Society in Nairobi, Kenya on August 4, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]

Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton in Kenya

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, meets with meets with Somali Roadmap Signatories at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 4, 2012. Across the table from Clinton is Somalia President Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. [AP Photo]

More: Trip Page | Interactive Travel Map

On August 4, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Kenya, where she met President Kibaki, Prime Minister Odinga, Chief Justice Mutunga, and other government officials to emphasize her support for transparent, credible, nonviolent national elections in 2013. The Secretary also met with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and civil society leaders.

In remarks at a meeting with U.S. Embassy Nairobi staff and families, Secretary Clinton said, “These will be critical elections. Because of the violence in 2007, Kenya lost more than a billion dollars in investment. The GDP dropped significantly. And when government leaders ask me to help them do more to bring business and investment to this country, my quick response is then you do your part to make sure this election is free, fair, and transparent and that all Kenyans accept the results, and do your part to speak out against divisiveness, against anything that would undermine the unity of this country. Because ultimately these elections are totally within the control of the Kenyans themselves, but the United States, as your friend and your partner, want to do all we can to make sure that they are successful.”

While in Nairobi, Secretary Clinton met with President Sheikh Sharif and other signatories to the Roadmap to End the Transition and underscored U.S. support for completing the political transition in Somalia by August.

Secretary Clinton is on travel to Senegal, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa July 31 through August 10. You can follow her trip to Africa onwww.state.gov.