UNESCO Meeting Sends Clear Message: Keep the Internet Free and Open

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer delivers remarks at the WSIS+10 Ministerial Panel in Paris, France, February 25, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: David Killion serves as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO.

The Internet is so much a part of our lives these days it can come as a surprise to learn how much Internet freedom is at threat around the world. Fortunately, Internet freedom received a major boost at UNESCO last week, thanks to the efforts of the United States and other likeminded participants at the first review meeting of the “World Summit on Information Society” (WSIS), called WSIS+10.

As U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, I joined Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer to lead the U.S. delegation at UNESCO’s WSIS+10. This review meeting brought together governments, private companies, civil society groups and individual experts to discuss a whole range of Internet-related issues, from cyber-security to e-learning, and press freedom to e-business. The United States… more »

Conversations With America: Addressing Global Challenges at the UN

Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, will moderate the

Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, will hold a conversation with Stewart Patrick, Senior Fellow and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Heather Hurlburt, Executive Director of the National Security Network, on Addressing Global Challenges at the UN. The discussion will be moderated by Cheryl Benton, Deputy… more »

Be the First-Ever, U.S. Youth Observer To Attend the United Nations General Assembly

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the United Nations General Assembly, June 7, 2012 at United Nations headquarters. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Ashli Ferguson serves as a Public Affairs Specialist in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

For the first time ever, young Americans are being offered an exciting opportunity to bring the voice of U.S. youth to the United Nations. This year, the U.S. Department of State is teaming up with the United Nations Association of the USA to send one young citizen to the UN General Assembly in New York as a pilot program entitled the U.S. Youth Observer Program.

That means, if you are age 18 to 25, and have an interest and passion for international affairs, civic engagement, and youth issues, you could qualify for this once in a lifetime chance to see the United Nations in action — in person. The U.S. Youth Observer will travel to New York, interact with the U.S. delegation and other youth representatives from around the world — and then report on their experiences… more »

Educating the Workforce of the Future

View of UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, Sept. 19, 2009. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Paul Kruchoski serves as the Senior Education Officer in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the Department of State.

On May 13-16, I joined Assistant Secretary of Education Brenda Dann-Messier at the Third International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), hosted by UNESCO and the government of China. Over the course of four days, we heard from participants around the world about how important technical and vocational education is and what it can do to change people’s lives and transform economies.

Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong said that technical and vocational education is a key part of creating green development and supporting emerging and high-tech industries. As new industries emerge, we will need to prepare the global… more »

Freedom of Expression: A Cornerstone of Democracy

Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, participates in an interview with a journalist in Tunis, Tunisia, May 3, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Dr. Esther Brimmer serves as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs.

Freedom of expression is a cornerstone to any thriving democracy.

This idea came to life while I spent three days at UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day in Tunisia, where I had the opportunity to listen to and engage with journalists, bloggers, and citizen activists from across the Middle East and North Africa and beyond.

I arrived May 3 in Tunis to deliver remarks at Tunisia’s Presidential Palace to a crowd of more than 400 in attendance, and thousands more watching virtually. The audience welcomed video… more »

Supporting Justice and the Rule of Law in Liberia

United Nation's peacekeeping policewomen, from India, arrive at the airport in Monrovia, Liberia, Jan. 30, 2007. [AP File Photo]

About the Authors: Victoria Holt serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, and Annie Pforzheimer serves as Director for UN Peacekeeping in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

In countries recovering from war, it is normal to see UN blue helmeted military units — they’re big, obvious, and a reassuring presence.

But in Liberia, where President Johnson-Sirleaf was re-elected to a second term, that reassuring presence should be the uniform of a Liberian police officer — with a blue helmet backing them up.

A long-term peace, I was reminded during my visit to Liberia in mid-March, doesn’t come from soldiers, but… more »