U.S. Diplomats Promote National Bike Month Around the World
 

Do you enjoy biking on weekends, or do you bike to work?  Did you know that the U.S. Department of State has the second largest number of Federal government employees who bike to work each day?  Whether we’re in Washington, D.C. or serving at one of the 250 Foreign Service posts around the world, many of our colleagues are taking advantage of alternative options over driving to work. 

In May 2013, as U.S. diplomats did their part to promote National Bike Month, we asked our colleagues around the world to submit short videos of their daily bike commute to show not only how cool it is to ride a bike to work in London or Tokyo, but how we all have to play our part, however small, to protect the environment, promote healthy living, and prove how beautiful our neighborhoods can be when we experience it from a bike.  Check out these videos offering street views from our colleagues bicycling in the following cities:

U.S. and Thailand: 180 Years — Two Nations, One Friendship

In a video blog, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney offers thoughts on 180 years of friendship between the United States and Thailand.

Engaging the Public in the Fight Against Wildlife Trafficking

An Olive Ridley turtle enters the sea at the Bay of Bengal at the Rushikulya river mouth beach in Ganjam district, India, March 1, 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Tara D. Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

March has been a good month for wildlife. 

At its annual meeting, held in Bangkok, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) voted to place new trade limits on sharks, mantas, and turtles for the first time in nearly a decade. 

This is an important step in countering a fishing trade that claims the lives of 100 million sharks a year. There is also widespread fishing of mantas, in response to strong demand in Asia — where many believe mantas’ gill plates have invigorating medicinal qualities. Turtles have existed for 300 million years but are now in serious trouble around the world as they are frequently used as food and in traditional medicines in Asia, and their use in the pet trade… more »

CITES Begins in Bangkok To Protect At-Risk Plants and Wildlife

About the Author: Kristie A. Kenney serves as U.S. Ambassador to Thailand.

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is now meeting in Bangkok, and we are thrilled to be part of the 177 member governments for these important discussions. CITES is one of the largest international conservation agreements, and helps ensure that the international trade of wild plants and animals does not threaten their survival. 

This trade — both legal and illegal — is worth billions of dollars each year. Because the trade crosses borders, regulation requires international cooperation. CITES facilitates this cooperation… more »

In Bhutan, Conserving the Natural Environment and Biodiversity

About the Author: Timothy Neely serves as Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.

Do you know which country’s constitution promises that a minimum of 60 percent its land area will be maintained as forest for all time? Which country’s government pledges to protect, conserve, and improve the pristine environment and safeguard the biodiversity of the country; prevent pollution and ecological degradation; secure ecologically balanced sustainable development while promoting justifiable economic and social development; and ensure a safe and healthy environment? The answer is the Kingdom of Bhutan, a small Himalayan country located between China and India. Bhutan’s use of a “Gross National Happiness” index to measure progress, rather than GDP, is well-known, but fewer people know of the importance that Bhutan attaches to conserving its natural environment and biodiversity.

The Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation held in Thimphu, Bhutan… more »

Photo of the Week: The Spirit of Thanksgiving

U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Thai-American celebrity chef Tommy Tang serve a Thanksgiving feast to the children at the Duang Pratheep Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand on November 21, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Hannah Johnson serves as an Assistant Editor for DipNote.

This week’s “Photo of the Week” comes to us from the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, and shows U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney serving a Thanksgiving feast to children at the Duang Pratheep Foundation in Bangkok.

This type of outreach exemplifies the spirit that President Barack Obama described during his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, in which he said, “As we reflect on our proud heritage, let us also give thanks to those who honor it by giving back. This Thanksgiving, thousands of our men and women in uniform will sit down for a meal far from their loved ones and the comforts of home. We honor their service and sacrifice. We also show our appreciation to Americans who are serving in their communities, ensuring their neighbors have… more »

President Obama’s First Stop in Asia Is in Thailand
The first nation on the itinerary for President Obama’s Asia trip is Thailand — America’s oldest friend on the continent, with diplomatic ties stretching back nearly 180 years.Though his stop to the country lasted for less than one full day, the President visited a Buddhist temple at the Wat Pho monastery, met with Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, held a joint press conference with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and enjoyed a dinner hosted by the prime minister at the Government House in Bangkok.Before the dinner, President Obama toasted the character and strength of the Thai people."Everything that I’ve felt — your dignity, your resilience, your friendship, your warmth — that is the foundation of our alliance," he said. "It’s why you were the first Asian nation to reach out to America after we won our independence. It’s why in… more »

President Obama’s First Stop in Asia Is in Thailand

The first nation on the itinerary for President Obama’s Asia trip is Thailand — America’s oldest friend on the continent, with diplomatic ties stretching back nearly 180 years.

Though his stop to the country lasted for less than one full day, the President visited a Buddhist temple at the Wat Pho monastery, met with Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, held a joint press conference with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and enjoyed a dinner hosted by the prime minister at the Government House in Bangkok.

Before the dinner, President Obama toasted the character and strength of the Thai people.

"Everything that I’ve felt — your dignity, your resilience, your friendship, your warmth — that is the foundation of our alliance," he said. "It’s why you were the first Asian nation to reach out to America after we won our independence. It’s why in… more »

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Shinawatra at an Official Dinner

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
November 18, 2012
Government House
Bangkok, Thailand


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, good evening, everyone. Madam Prime Minister, distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen, my visit to Thailand is far too brief, but even in my short stay I’ve already felt the extraordinary warmth and kindness and hospitality of the people of Thailand. Everyone knows that this is the “Land of Smiles,” and I have felt it everywhere that I’ve gone.

I’ve also felt the dignity and strength of this country and its people — the tranquility and peace that I felt as I had the privilege of walking around the sacred grounds of Wat Pho and gazing up at the reclining Buddha; the compassion and wisdom that you felt in the presence of His Majesty the King, who has devoted his reign to the welfare and development of his people. We’ve seen it in the resilience that has pushed this nation forward, most recently in the face of devastating floods.

And most of all, I think we all feel here tonight the unique friendship between our peoples. His Majesty once said that since he was born in America, the United States is “half my motherland.” And we are just as proud of all the Thai Americans who enrich our country. In fact, I was mentioning to His Majesty that my friend, Ladda Tammy Duckworth, just became the first Thai American woman ever to be elected to our Congress, and she’s from my home state of Illinois so I’m especially proud of her.

Everything that I’ve felt — your dignity, your resilience, your friendship, your warmth — that is the foundation of our alliance. It’s why you were the first Asian nation to reach out to America after we won our independence. It’s why in Asia, to this day, we can say Thailand is our oldest friend. And we are extraordinarily proud of that friendship, and we are especially pleased to see the excellent leadership that, Madam Prime Minister, you are providing as you continue this country’s path of democracy, freedom and development.

So I want to propose a toast: To the friendship between our peoples, to the strength of our alliance, to the peace and prosperity that we seek, and to Their Majesties the King and the Queen. MORE.

Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Travels to Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia

Secretary Clinton boards plane in Beirut, Lebanon, April 26, 2009. [State Department Photo]

More: Trip Page | Interactive Travel Map

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Perth and Adelaide, Australia; Singapore; Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon, Burma; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 11-20, 2012.

On November 11, Secretary Clinton will travel to Perth, Australia to join U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, and Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) to discuss security cooperation and other regional and global issues. In Perth, Secretary Clinton will meet with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr. She will also visit the… more »

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Travel to Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia

Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 9, 2012


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Perth and Adelaide, Australia; Singapore; Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon, Burma; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 11-20, 2012.

On November 11, Secretary Clinton will travel to Perth, Australia to join U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, and Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) to discuss security cooperation and other regional and global issues. In Perth, Secretary Clinton will meet with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr. She will also visit the new Western Australia – United States & Asia Centre (USAC). She will then travel to Adelaide where she will meet with Australian business leaders as well as visit Techport Australia, Australia’s largest and most advanced shipbuilding facility.

Secretary Clinton will travel to Singapore on November 16-17 to meet with senior government officials, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, on a wide range of issues.

On November 17, Secretary Clinton will travel to Bangkok, Thailand. She will join President Obama and his delegation on November 18 for meetings with Prime Minister Yingluck and other senior Thai officials to underscore our strong alliance and discuss shared priorities and regional issues in advance of the ASEAN East Asia Summit.

Secretary Clinton will accompany President Obama to Burma on November 19, and join his meetings with Burmese President Thein Sein and Chair of the National League for Democracy and Member of Parliament Aung San Suu Kyi.

Secretary Clinton will also accompany President Obama on his travel to Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 19-20 to attend the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting and the East Asia Summit.