Poachers, Not Animals, Pose the ‘Real Danger’ in Victoria Falls National Park
“We’re going to fan out, like a ripple moving through the bush.” 

With those instructions, our group of American diplomats made a long line, carefully stepping through the long, yellow grass of the Victoria Falls National Park. We were less than five miles from the spectacular Falls, but in the park it was hot, dusty, and dangerous. MORE

How Diplomats Helped a U.S. Citizen Injured 8,000 Miles From Home

Every U.S. Embassy has a duty officer on call right now.  Any U.S. citizen facing a medical or legal emergency just about anywhere in the world can get immediate help from a U.S. diplomat 24/7.  Employees at the embassy rotate duty officer responsibility, and I remember one particular instance when I was serving in the role in 2011 and the duty phone rang during dinner.  I answered it with some trepidation, as we always do, hoping it would not be a terrible emergency. MORE

U.S. Ambassadors ‘Bike Across Borders’ in Zambia and Zimbabwe

Tourism is one of the great drivers of economic growth worldwide.  According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average international tourist in the United States spends $4,300, and those tourist dollars directly support 1.2 million jobs.  Tourism is also a big growth sector in sub-Saharan Africa.  Contributing 94.3 billion dollars to the region’s economy in 2012, travel and tourism as a part of the region’s GDP is expected to increase by 5.1 percent over the next 10 years through much needed economic expansion and job creation.  If managed with foresight and attention, travel and tourism will promote wildlife conservation, local handicraft skills, and cultural preservation. MORE

Observing a Constitutional Referendum in Zimbabwe

An election official holds one of the ballot papers for use during a referendum in Harare, Zimbabwe, March, 16, 2013. [AP Photo]

About the Author: Jean Phillipson serves as a Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe.

On Thursday, April 25, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto will hold a Facebook chat to discuss U.S. foreign policy and Africa. Support for democracy and the strengthening of democratic institutions — including free, fair, and transparent elections — are among the pillars that serve as the foundation of U.S. policy toward Africa.

Zimbabwe held a referendum on its new constitution on Saturday, March 16, paving the way for presidential elections later this year. Zimbabwe’s last elections in 2008 were marred by political violence and this referendum vote was the unity government’s first opportunity to signal whether Zimbabwe’s people will have the opportunity…more »

Economic Statecraft at Work: Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility in Zimbabwe

U.S. Ambassador Wharton and Bulawayo Mayor Thabani Moyo, center, pose for a photograph with participants at a corporate social responsibility conference in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, in December 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Jean Phillipson serves as Political and Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Shortly after arriving in Zimbabwe, I became involved in the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR). U.S. Embassy Harare’s Public Affairs Section partnered with the Regional Center for Social Responsibility (RCSR) to launch a comprehensive CSR outreach campaign supported by the State Department’s Fund for Economic Innovation in Public Diplomacy. As a Political and Economic Officer, I was grateful to have the opportunity to engage on a critical business issue and participate in this ground-breaking Zimbabwean initiative.

I learned quickly that many Zimbabwean companies do not traditionally engage in areas of public welfare. Neither business schools nor companies provide CSR training; companies that designate CSR responsibilities to employees view them as an extension of marketing. Most do not interact with public officials to outline shortfalls the private sector… more »

How To Build a ‘Happy Memory’—Volunteerism at Work in Zimbabwe

Ambassador Bruce Wharton shares a laugh with Zimkids Director Tinashe Basa in Zimbabwe, December 11, 2012.  [U.S. Embassy photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Sharon Hudson-Dean serves as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and interests come to Zimbabwe. They come to see the rhinos, elephants, and Victoria Falls; they come as part of church mission groups to build health clinics and schools; and they come to share their expertise and learn from Zimbabweans at all levels. Many American visitors end up doing a lot more than what they planned, motivated by the strong American sense of taking action when faced with a needy situation, as well as a personal desire to change situations for the better. At the U.S. Embassy in Harare, we often hear about these proactive, engaged Americans and are proud that they accomplish so much on their own. When possible, we support them with advice, publicity, and small grants.

"I wanted to make a happy memory," explains Dennis Gaboury, the founder… more »

Turning the Tide Against AIDS in Zimbabwe

Dan Rutz, former CNN senior medical reporter and current Associate Director of Communication Science Dan Rutz of National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), poses for a photograph with the Women Journalist Mentoring Program participants during a breakfast session he offered to them while in Zimbabwe on November 6, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Megan Petersen servers as the PEPAR Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe.

As we approach World AIDS Day, which we mark on December 1, I wanted to share a little bit about how we are carrying out the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Zimbabwe.

Every Tuesday morning, the Zimbabwe PEPFAR team gathers. Our meeting consists of colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the embassy’s public affairs section, the Global Fund, the Deputy Chief of Mission, and the PEPFAR Coordinator’s office. Our discussions are focused on the state of the world through the lens of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe.

I am always impressed every Tuesday by the passion and expertise each of my colleagues brings to the table, the variety of programs we are managing on… more »

From Iowa City to Masvingo: The Shared Power of the Pen

Iowa Writers hold a workshop at the Chiedza Childcare Center in a township of Harare, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Grace Chung serves as a Rangel Fellow at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Summer is a serious, hard-working time of year in southern Africa. Chilly mornings and bright, clear days define this hemisphere’s winter months when school is in session and young minds are focused. That made it a perfect time for U.S. Embassy Harare and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to bring five American writers from the University of Iowa’s prestigious International Writing Program to workshop and discuss the power of books with Zimbabwean youth.

The writers, representing a wide variety of literary styles, including poetry, journalism, novels, and short stories, started their program by speaking about their craft and inspirations at writing workshops and literary readings in the capital of Harare. To liven up one evening, they turned a reception at the Deputy… more »

Photo of the Week: Defending the Rights of LGBT People

Ambassador Norman L. Eisen and a group from the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic march in the second annual Pride Parade in Prague on Saturday, August 18th. [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 Prague, Czech Republic and shows Ambassador Norman L. Eisen and a group from the embassy marching in the second annual Pride Parade in Prague on Saturday, August 18, 2012. The parade participants walked from Wenceslas Square to Strelecky Island accompanied by floats with music and dancers.

The United States is working throughout the world to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of all races, religions, and nationalities as part of our comprehensive human rights policy… 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.