Two Women, Two Countries, Two People: A Growing Partnership
About the Author: Tara Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
There is no more effective form of engagement than face-to-face communication. That’s a fundamental principle of our public diplomacy. And thanks to a strong friendship and understanding between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf , we have just signed an important agreement between the United States and Liberia.
One year ago, this month, Secretary Clinton traveled to Monrovia to attend the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf . At the time she said, “Democracy hasn’t just sprouted in Liberia, it has taken root.”
The relationship struck between Secretary Clinton and President Sirleaf — strengthened by their own personal narratives of empowerment and their mutual commitment to changing the lives of women and girls, peace-building,… more »
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to hold a U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue signing ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on January 15, 2012. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2013/01/202201.htm
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on June 8, 2012. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/06/192021.htm.
About the Author: Ambassador Ertharin Cousin serves as U.S. Representative to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.
As we continue to respond to the heartbreaking crisis in the Horn of Africa, it’s important to keep in mind that we are able to apply some lessons learned from our long term commitment to relief and development work elsewhere in Africa. The key, it seems to me, is to respond to the disaster while also building long term solutions to broader issues. Just before I visited refugee camps along the Somalia border last week, I traveled to Liberia to look into some of our longer term programs there. It was quite an amazing visit.
U.S. To Contribute an Additional $7.5 Million for Humanitarian Response to the Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire/Liberia
The United States is announcing an additional pledge of $7.5 million in humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia. With this latest funding, the U.S. is providing over $51 million in humanitarian assistance to refugees, IDPs, and other conflict-affected populations in the region. The Côte d’Ivoire political crisis turned violent after the run-off presidential election between victor Ouattara and incumbent Gbagbo in late November 2010 and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Ivoirians. More than 210,000 refugees fled from Côte d’Ivoire – most to Liberia; up to a million were displaced inside Côte d’Ivoire; and thousands of nationals of neighboring countries fled as well. The situation in Côte d’Ivoire is improving; but some continuing unrest is still generating new refugees, and fear among those who fled keeps a majority of refugees from returning home at present. Up to an estimated 500,000 remain internally displaced.
This latest U.S. contribution includes $6.5 million in support for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and $1 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This assistance will help provide basic life support such as food, health care, and essential household items; the construction and maintenance of camps where needed; increasing access to clean water; and will support efforts to restore family links severed as a result of displacement.
The United States, through the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, has provided more than $28 million for humanitarian response in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and other neighboring countries since March 2011. The U.S. Agency for International Development has also provided almost $23 million in funding and food aid to non-governmental organizations and UN agencies in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia.