"State in 60 Seconds" Video — Global Diaspora Forum

In a “State in 60 Seconds” video blog, Acting Special Representative for Global Partnerships Thomas Debass discusses the 2013 Global Diaspora Forum, which brings together diaspora leaders from around the world.  The theme for the 2013 Global Diaspora Forum is “Where Ideas Meet Action.”  The 2013 Forum will demonstrate exemplary initiatives undertaken by diaspora communities in the fields of development and diplomacy and will showcase methods of cultural bridge-building that encourage young diasporans to connect with their countries of heritage.

Caribbean Entrepreneurs Compete in Diaspora Marketplace in Jamaica

Winners of the inaugural Caribbean IdEA Marketplace pose  for a photograph with State Department and USAID employees in Kingston, Jamaica on February 26, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Authors: Connie Tzioumis serves as Senior Adviser with the U.S. Secretary of State’s Global Partnerships Initiative, and Romi Bhatia serves as a Program Analyst at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

In Kingston, Jamaica on February 25-26, 12 finalists of the inaugural Caribbean IdEA Marketplace (CIM) showcased innovative business plans to policymakers, business leaders, investors and media and competed for $400,000 in grant funding. During the two-day event, entrepreneurs had the chance to participate in high-level policy roundtables,… more »

Women Light the Way for Future Generations

Children study under a solar lamp, undated. [Photograph courtesy of Solar Sister/ Used by Permission]

About the Authors: Rachel Kastenberg serves as a Senior Advisor for the Secretary of State’s Global Partnerships Initiative, and Justin Sosne serves as a Senior Advisor in the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

Most of us in the United States don’t think twice when we turn on a light to work late into the night or cook dinner without inhaling dangerous smoke. Yet, these everyday tasks are still out of reach for the estimated 1.3 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity, and the estimated 2.7 billion people without access to clean cooking facilities — 95 percent of whom are in either sub-Saharan Africa or Asia.

During Women’s… more »

The Power of Partnerships

Participants pose for a photograph at the DEMO Africa Forum in the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, October 25, 2012. From left to right: Tom Genton, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of State Bureau of African Affairs; Jon Gosier, CEO of Appfrica; Bahiyah Robinson, Appfrica; Barbara Birungi, Appfrica; Emmanuel Owusu Addai, Farmerline (Ghana), Apps4Africa 2011 West Africa regional winner; Marieme Jamme, Appfrica; Eric Mutta, Mini Shop Tanzania, Apps4Africa 2011 East Africa regional winner; and Thomas DeBass, Director of the Secretary of State's Office of Global Partnership Initiatives. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Thomas Debass serves as Deputy Special Representative for Global Partnerships.

On our final day of this multi-blog series on partnerships, I’d like to highlight other ways in which the Global Partnership Initiative helped advance a number of other meaningful partnership activities. These partnership “wins” include:

Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA): In May, I helped launch the LIONS@FRICA partnership at the World Economic Forum on Africa along with key public and private sector partners to strengthen… more »

Global Partnerships Enhance Diplomacy and Development

Infographic on 2012 diaspora engagement by the Secretary's Office of Global Partnerships Initiative, January 2013 [State Department image]

About the Author: Connie Tzioumis and Robert Haynie serve as Senior Advisors in the Office of the Secretary’s Global Partnerships Initiative.

Continuing our series on global partnerships, today’s entry highlights major achievements for diaspora engagement in 2012. We also spotlight a brand-new flagship — the culmination of three years of work — that is now being piloted in Brazil. Check out our infographic highlighting these partnerships, read more about our efforts, and share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

International Diaspora Engagement Alliance

In July, we co-hosted with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the second annual Secretary’s Global Diaspora Forum,… more »

The Year in Global Partnerships

Special Representative for Global Partnerships Kris Balderston introduces U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the first-ever Global Impact Economy Forum at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on April 26, 2012. [State Department photo by Ben Chang/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Kris M. Balderston serves as the Special Representative for Global Partnerships within the Office of the Secretary of State.

Throughout 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton continuously emphasized the importance of partnering and cross-sectoral collaboration as a means to improve diplomacy and development outcomes around the world. At the Global Partnership Initiative, we have worked hard to achieve the Secretary’s vision around partnerships by breaking down barriers to collaboration within and across the Department and with the private sector and civil society organizations. To say it’s been a tremendously successful year for partnerships would be an understatement.

In 2012, we saw each of our four flagship partnerships grow and flourish beyond expectations and the focus on building partnerships… more »

Celebrating Partnerships Around the World

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J. Sanchez introduces President Barack Obamas video message at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 11, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Kris M. Balderston serves as the Special Representative for Global Partnerships within the Office of the Secretary of State.

We can achieve more together than we can alone.

That simple statement underscored the premise of the first Global Partnerships Week, which we marked December 9-15, 2012. I saw the power of partnerships firsthand in Dubai, where I participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and our Partners for a New Beginning initiative, while our embassies and missions around the world, from Japan to Brazil, spotlighted the value of partnering with the private sector.

Through educational and media events, competitions, and challenges, we’ve seen the State Department recognize the importance of collaborating with the private sector. In Honduras, for example, the Embassy launched a partnership with a local telecommunications company to provide Internet, cable, and phone access at youth outreach centers. In Haiti, Ambassador Pamela White hosted a reception for businesses… more »

Cooking Shouldn’t Kill

A woman cooks over a fire in Vietnam, Aug. 3, 2007. [AP File Photo]

About the Authors: Kris Balderston serves as Special Representative for the Secretary of State’s Global Partnerships Initiative, and Jacob Moss serves as U.S. Coordinator for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

On Wednesday, the world’s leading general medical journal The Lancet released a major new report which estimates that household air pollution attributed to cooking over open fires or basic cookstoves causes the premature… more »

Promoting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Africa

Director of Global Partnerships Thomas Debass participates in a panel discussion at the DEMO Africa Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, October 24, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Thomas Debass serves as Director for Global Partnerships in the Secretary’s Office of the Global Partnership Initiative.

Last night I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya to attend and participate in the first-ever DEMO Africa event. As the plane was landing, I was struck by how history has a way of turning one on his head. While I was a graduate student in the late 1990s at Virginia Tech, I launched an African-focused web portal start-up with a friends. We had a good business plan, solid team, and the hunger to succeed, but we struggled to gain traction and credibility in an ecosystem that viewed innovation and Africa as an oxymoron. Ultimately, the venture failed but the experience… more »

Partnering To Promote Equality for LGBT Communities

A hand holds a rainbow flag during a Pride march in Panama City, Panama, June 24, 2006. [AP File]

About the Author: Kris M. Balderston serves as the Special Representative forGlobal Partnerships within the Office of the Secretary of State.

In five countries around the world, consensual sex between same-gender partners is considered a crime punishable by death. In 76 countries, it is a crime with a prison sentence if convicted. And for millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, verbal abuse and physical violence — ranging from psychological torture to beatings and murder — are the status quo and often go unprosecuted by local and national authorities in many countries. These continued human rights abuses are unacceptable, and the Obama Administration is committed to combating them, but we also need your help.

Last December, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the Global Equality Fund — a new initiative to defend the human rights of LGBT persons in communities around the… more »