Saturday, April 28, 2012
US Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
April 27, 2012
On Monday, April 30, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will kick-off the seventh annual Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership at the U.S. Department of State, which brings 25 emerging women leaders from Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe to the United States from April 29 – May 25, 2012. This public-private partnership, which is conducted in coordination with the Vital Voices Global Partnership, connects emerging international women leaders with one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Leaders to encourage the next generation of women leaders to bring positive change to their companies and communities.
The program opens with a three-day orientation in Washington, D.C. where participants will meet with senior women in government, academia, and business. The second phase of the program pairs each of the international participants with one or more of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women leaders for a three-week mentoring program, where they will share skills and experiences. The program will conclude with a two-day debriefing in New York City, where participants attend workshops on media and communications strategies and meet with senior executives from New York-based companies.
During this program, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Leaders will share their time, talent, and expertise in business and leadership with the international emerging women leaders.
This year’s mentors include: Linda Addison of Fulbright & Jaworksi, LLP; Ellen Alemany of Citizens Financial Group, Inc.; Molly Ashby of Solera Capital; Tory Burch of Tory Burch LLC/Tory Burch Foundation; Antoinette “Toni” Cook Bush of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Kathy Bushkin Calvin of the United Nations Foundation; Christa Carone of Xerox Corporation; Susan Chambers of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Pamela Craig of Accenture; Weili Dai of Marvell Technology Group Ltd.; Shelley Diamond of Young & Rubicam, Inc.; Gerri Elliott of Juniper Networks, Inc.; Lauren Flaherty of Juniper Networks, Inc.; Stephanie George of Time Inc.; Anna Griffin of Juniper Networks, Inc.; Kimberly Kadlec of Johnson & Johnson; Jacki Kelley of Universal McCann; Phyllis Korff of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Laura Lang of Time Inc.; Marissa Mayer of Google, Inc.; Ashley McEvoy of Johnson & Johnson; Martha McGarry of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Deborah McWhinney of Citigroup Inc.; Donna M. Milrod of Deutsche Bank AG (DB); Pat Mitchell of The Paley Center for Media; Kathleen Murphy of Fidelity Investments; Karen Peetz of BNY Mellon; Kim Perdikou of Juniper Networks, Inc.; Dina Habib Powell of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; Liz Robbins of Liz Robbins Associates; ; Jennifer Taubert of Johnson & Johnson; Roxanne Taylor of Accenture; Bridget Van Kralingen of IBM Corp.; Sherrie Rollins Westin of Sesame Workshop; Susan D. Whiting of The Nielsen Company; and Pontish Yeramyan of Gap International.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Source: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
April 16, 2012
Assistant United States Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East L. Daniel Mullaney recently led a delegation of USTR, Commerce and State Department officials to meet with the Government of Tunisia under the auspices of the U.S.-Tunisia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council, relaunched last fall. Tunisia is charting a path towards greater economic openness, transparency, and deepening bilateral trade and investment ties with the United States, and with partners in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
USTR officials Mullaney, Deputy Assistant USTR for Eurasia and the Middle East Mark Mowrey, Deputy Assistant USTR for Small Business Market Access Christina Sevilla, Department of Commerce North Africa desk officer Christopher Wilken, and U.S. Embassy-Tunis Commercial Attache Isabel Rioja-Scott met with a large Tunisian delegation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by Ambassador Faysal Gouia. The two sides discussed issues under the Market Access, Services, Investment and Intellectual Property Rights working groups and specific steps that the parties could take to improve the business climate and lay the groundwork for greater and more comprehensive trade liberalization, which would support Tunisia’s economic growth and employment goals. The U.S. delegation also met with officials responsible for Small and Medium Enterprises, and the Tunisian private sector, including the Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce, the Tunis Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Tunisian Union for Industry, Commerce, and Artisans (UTICA), to hear their views on how to strengthen U.S.-Tunisia commercial ties and regional integration. The Tunisian private sector is particularly interested in attracting investment, franchising opportunities, forging business partnerships with U.S. firms including in third country markets, and helping small and medium businesses find trade opportunities with American and regional partners.
America and Tunisia have a history of diplomatic and commercial ties dating back more than 200 years, from the American Friendship Treaty with Tunisia signed in 1799. The U.S. is committed to a strong partnership and growing two-way trade with Tunisia as it transitions to a new era of openness.
Press Secretary, Jay Carney
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
April 24, 2012
In 2011, the worst drought in 60 years struck the Horn of Africa. The United Nations declared famine in six regions of Somalia, threatening the lives of over 250,000 Somalis, and requiring urgent humanitarian assistance for more than 13.3 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and other parts of Somalia. The international community responded and famine conditions abated in January 2012. Nevertheless, today, more than 9 million people still remain in need of emergency assistance in Horn of Africa.
To prevent a worsening of the fragile humanitarian situation and more people requiring emergency aid, the United States Government is providing an additional $120 million to those in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa. This assistance is targeted to avoid the crisis from escalating in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia where the lateness and insufficiency of rains are expected to have a significant negative impact on crop production. We commend Ethiopia and Kenya for building the resiliency of their nations to mitigate the shock of food insecurity and drought, as well as their effort to host and provide a safe place for Somali refugees. This contribution brings the total U.S. assistance for the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa to more than $1.1 billion since the crisis began in 2011.
We urge the international community to continue their support and assistance to those in need of emergency assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia with the objective of building resiliency in order to save lives.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Athletes from Kenya and Nigeria To Participate in Track & Field Program in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA
April 23, 2012
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today a track and field Sports Visitors exchange that brings 13 youth athletes and two coaches from Kenya and Nigeria to Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, PA., April 18-30, 2012. While in the United States, the visitors will participate in friendly track and field competitions, as well as engage in people-to-people exchanges with local youth.
In partnership with Penn Relays – the oldest track and field competition in the United States – the international delegation will participate in strength and conditioning clinics and attend sessions on nutrition, conflict resolution, team building, and disability sports. They will also join practices and mock track meets with local high school student athletes. After completing these Washington-based activities, the delegation will then travel to Philadelphia, where they will attend the Penn Relays, as well as have the chance to meet and practice with Special Olympic athletes.
Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary Clinton’s vision of “smart power.” It embraces the full range of diplomatic tools, including track and field, to bring people together for greater understanding.
Through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division, the U.S. Department of State conducts sports exchange programs to engage youth worldwide. Sports Visitors are young athletes and coaches who travel to the United States for an exchange. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 900 athletes from 58 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sport Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent over 200 U.S. athletes to 50 countries to participate in Sport Envoy programs.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Former U.S. Soccer National Team Coaches and Players to Travel to Morocco for Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative
Office of the Spokesperson
April 19, 2012
Building on efforts to empower women and girls through sports, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Soccer announced today former U.S. Women’s National Team players and coaches will travel to Morocco as Sports Envoys April 22-28, 2012. These Sports Envoys are a key component of the Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, which aims to increase the number of women and girls worldwide who are involved in sports. Click here to learn more.
While in Morocco, former U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coach Lesle Gallimore and players Angela Hucles and Marian Dalmy will lead clinics focused on soccer skills and sports psychology for 40 female coaches from the region. They will also partner with the coaches from Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia to conduct soccer clinics with local female soccer players. In addition, the Sports Envoys will lead discussions about the importance of women’s sports and Title IX, the landmark U.S. law that defined equal opportunity.
The Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools – in this case, the game of soccer – to bring people together and foster understanding.
In March, Amanda Cromwell and former U.S. Women’s National Team coach Lauren Gregg traveled to Argentina while Siri Mullinix and Lorrie Fair traveled to Venezuela as Sports Envoys. In addition, the U.S. Women’s National Team participated in a clinic with young female athletes in Japan on March 27 prior to their friendly match against the Japanese Women’s National Soccer Team. In February, former U.S. National Team players Danielle Slaton and Tony Sanneh traveled to Malaysia with Cheryl Bailey, the former general manager of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ division devoted to sports diplomacy programs at the U.S. Department of State. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 900 athletes from 58 countries to the United States to participate in Sports Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent more than 200 U.S. athletes to over 50 countries to participate in Sports Envoy programs.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Office of the Spokesperson
April 17, 2012
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Youth Programs Division is working with organizers of the 12th World Summit of Nobel Laureates in Chicago to empower the next generation of young activists for peace. ECA’s Youth Leadership Peace Program is bringing a global youth voice to the summit, both in person and virtually.
The Youth Leadership Peace Program, the first of a new type of on-demand U.S. Department of State youth exchange programs, will bring 16 talented secondary school students and four educators from Bangladesh, Liberia, Timor-Leste, and Yemen for a three-week exchange program focused on peace building, community service, and leadership.
The exchange program starts this week in Brattleboro, Vermont where youth participants will be introduced to the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Center’s “Speak Truth to Power” curriculum. Later, students will be paired with Nobel Peace laureates to visit Chicago public high schools, where they will engage with their American counterparts in discussions around the theme of human rights. The students will be active participants in the World Summit of Nobel Laureates, taking place from April 23 to 25, where they will meet Nobel laureates and other world leaders. The students wrap up with a dynamic five-day program in Washington, DC, where the youth leaders will develop community service projects to begin upon their return home.
In addition to the in-person exchange, the U.S. Department of State is working to bring a virtual global audience to the World Summit of Nobel Laureates. Through video conferencing, the U.S. Department of State will link youth from Chicago’s Lincoln Park High School with youth groups in Ghana, Zimbabwe, Algeria, and Peru. These young people will participate in virtual conversations focused on human rights and social justice. These virtual programs and a livestream of the Summit itself will be available at http://conx.state.gov/digital-diplomacy/ for anyone to join the conversation.
To join the conversation, tune in for the livestream; follow Assistant Secretary Ann Stock on twitter at @AnnatState or the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, @ConnectStateGov, using the hashtag #Nobel.
For further information, please visit: http://conx.state.gov/event/world-summit-of-nobel-peace-laureates-2012/
April 17, 2012
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Zimbabwe as you celebrate the 32nd anniversary of your hard-won independence. As you work toward a stable, democratic, and prosperous Zimbabwe with freedom and empowerment for more Zimbabweans, the United States will continue to stand with you. We hope that the ongoing constitutional and electoral reform process creates an environment in which democratic institutions are strengthened, human rights are protected, and Zimbabwe’s rich resources are harnessed to create a flourishing economy for the people. The United States continues to be a partner and friend to all those who strive for a better future for Zimbabwe.
Friday, April 13, 2012
By Witney Schneidman & Mwangi Kimenyi
April 11, 2012
Brother, can you spare a dime?
This sentiment from one of the most famous American songs of the Great Depression largely characterized the donor-recipient relationship between the United States and Africa throughout much of the Cold War and its aftermath. Last month, Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat-Illinois) and his colleagues in the House, Chris Smith (Republican-New Jersey) and Bobby Rush (Democrat-Illinois), introduced “The Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act” that seeks to put trade and investment at the center of U.S. relations with Africa. It cannot happen too soon.
President Clinton initially moved U.S. policy in this direction when he signed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) into law in 2000. AGOA was intended to contribute to poverty reduction in Africa by promoting light manufacturing and trade with the U.S. President George W. Bush strengthened the legislation three times during his time in office. Under the legislation, 40 African countries are eligible to export up to 6,500 products to the U.S. duty and quota free, based on their commitment to economic and political reforms. With the legislation’s enactment, some Americans began for the first time to look at African nations more for their commercial and partnership potential than as charity projects.But 10 years later, AGOA is still a work in progress. Total two-way trade with Africa has more than doubled to U.S. $73 billion and Africa’s non-energy exports to the U.S. under AGOA, largely apparel but also machinery and automobiles, have tripled to $3.8 billion. AGOA has created an estimated 300,000 new jobs which are largely filled by women, a genuine and cost-effective contribution to poverty reduction. That’s the good news.
The disconcerting reality is that the U.S. seems to have turned its attention away from Africa’s commercial potential at a time when many other countries have undertaken significant efforts to capture a share of that market. This lack of interest comes at a time when sub-Saharan Africa, next to East Asia, is the fastest-growing region in the global economy, the number of democracies has increased from three in 1998 to 23 in 2008 and a consumer class the size of India’s has emerged on the continent.
Other countries are paying attention to these positive changes and, not surprisingly, China is at the forefront. Its two-way trade with Africa increased from $10 billion in 2000 to $160 billion in 2011. China is not alone in these endeavors. Brazil’s trade with Africa has quadrupled between 2002 and 2010, and earlier this year, India increased its trade target to $90 billion by 2015. Turkey, Russia and Iran are increasing their commercial activity on the continent as well.
The European Union has embarked on an aggressive strategy to put in place new free trade agreements – known as economic partnership agreements (EPAs). With the EPAs, EU exports would have an advantage in Africa over exports from other countries and EU companies would receive preferential treatment over investments from the U.S., China, India and elsewhere. There are concerns that the EPAs would damage local industry and efforts at regional integration.
The Obama administration recognizes the importance of promoting U.S. businesses in emerging markets. Last month Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened an unprecedented global business conference at the State Department to emphasize the connection between creating jobs at home and finding new markets abroad. Johnnie Carson, the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, recently led a trade mission in the power sector to Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Mozambique.
This does not seem to be a “whole of government” approach, however, since the U.S. is reducing its commercial presence in the African market. Over the last several years, the Commerce Department has closed offices or withdrawn personnel from Senegal, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and the consulates in Durban and Cape Town, South Africa. The Department’s flagship location in Africa, the Ron Brown Commercial Center in Johannesburg, has been closed and the last Commerce Secretary to visit the region was Don Evans in 2002.
In an effort to focus the Administration’s attention on the opportunities in the African market, the legislation introduced by Senator Durbin, a key Obama ally, and his Congressional co-sponsors, would triple US exports to Africa to $63 billion in the next ten years.The legislation calls on the Obama Administration to develop what the U.S. has never had: a comprehensive strategy for enhancing U.S. exports and investments in Africa, coordinated by a senior official in the White House.
Among its other components, the legislation would raise limits for U.S. Export-Import Bank loans to compete more effectively compete with concessional, below-market loans used by the Chinese. The Foreign Commercial Service would be directed to restore its presence in U.S. embassies on the continent and the Secretary of Commerce to lead a trade mission to Africa within a year of the Act’s enactment.
If successful, this legislation will create an estimated 315,000 jobs in the U.S.The Obama Administration would do well to embrace the Durbin legislation. There is no doubt about the residual good will for President Obama and the U.S. in most parts of the continent. Nevertheless, the U.S. is on the sidelines when it comes to the emergence of the African market. The U.S. can benefit from Africa’s emerging opportunities more than it has in the past and, increasingly, African nations have more options for commercial partners than ever before.
Witney Schneidman is special adviser at the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution. Mwangi Kimenyi is AGI’s director.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
April 11, 2012
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State will host more than 40 Fulbright students from sub-Saharan African countries at a leadership and re-entry seminar at the University of Texas at Austin, April 10-15, 2012. The seminar will provide emerging women leaders from sub-Saharan Africa studying at U.S. colleges and universities with leadership training.
During the five-day seminar and workshop, participants will network with local U.S. women leaders in business, academia, the non-profit sector and government, and explore Austin’s culture through keynote speeches, panel discussions and site visits to local organizations and local families’ homes. On April 12, Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson will welcome the women at the State Capitol to discuss the importance of women’s leadership in public service.
On April 13, male colleagues from sub-Saharan African countries will join the women as they prepare to return to their home countries. Together they will participate in additional leadership training and activities, including discussing their experience in the United States and goals upon return to their home societies.
The seminar in Austin is the final of three re-entry and leadership seminars for women Fulbright students held by ECA this year. The first two seminars took place earlier this year at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California for students from Southeast Asia and at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts for students from Latin America. In total the seminars convene students from more than 25 countries. These students are among the nearly 4,000 international students studying at colleges and universities across the United States this year on the Fulbright Program.
ECA hosts the Fulbright Women’s Leadership and Re-entry Enrichment Seminars as a component of the 17 Fulbright Enrichment Seminars for foreign students hosted across the United States as part of its flagship Fulbright Program. These enrichment seminars benefit Fulbright foreign students and support the overall mission of the Fulbright Program – to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
Honorable Akinwumi Adesina, Minister for Agriculture, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
April 10, 2012
To recapture Nigeria’s former status as West Africa’s breadbasket, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Washington, DC and the Corporate Council on Africa co-hosted an exceptional Agribusiness Investment forum in the nation’s capital under the theme, Nigeria: Transforming Agribusiness through Investment. The event, a first, showcased Nigeria’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda and presented investment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
Participants from Nigeria included a high level delegation of senior government officials, state governors and corporations seeking to partner with and buy from American companies. Delivering his Keynote Address, Honorable Akinwumi Adesina, Minister for Agriculture, emphasized his government’s commitment to mechanized farming and the need to partner with American investors to transform the sector.
Agriculture represents 40% of Nigeria’s GDP and is the country’s leading employer. The Nigerian government is prioritizing agricultural development by infusing $3 billion and creating Staple Crop Processing Zones.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with an estimated 10 million people in its rapidly growing middle class. She is a major consumer of a range of agricultural products, seeking to dramatically increase domestic production and processing of such products through technology, capacity building and value-chain enhancement.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Los Angeles-based dance company Jazz Tap Ensemble tours Africa with U.S. Department of State’s DanceMotion USASM
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Brooklyn Academy of Music will send Jazz Tap Ensemble, a Los Angeles-based dance company, to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe to tour as part of DanceMotion USASM, April 9-May 5.
DanceMotion USASM sends American dance companies overseas to engage with audiences and communities, especially underserved youth, through dance and a variety of other means. DanceMotion USASM builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy. It embraces the full use of diplomatic tools, in this case dance, to engage people and create opportunities for greater understanding.
Jazz Tap Ensemble, under the artistic direction of dancer-choreographer Lynn Dally, blends two great American traditions: rhythm tap dance and jazz music. The group, comprised of both dancers and musicians, will perform and participate in outreach and educational activities including workshops, master classes, stage and arts management sessions, media interviews, and discussions with foreign and local audiences in a wide variety of venues and settings.
The company will travel to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Maputo, Mozambique; Bulawayo and Harare, Zimbabwe.
DanceMotion USASM is a public-private partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Additional sponsors include J.P. Morgan, Pfizer, and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.
For more information, please visit http://www.dancemotionusa.org/
Monday, April 9, 2012
Malawi President Joyce Banda (AFP/File, Amos Gumulira)
April 9, 2012
WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday congratulated Joyce Banda on becoming Malawi’s new president following what it hailed as a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power.
In Lilongwe, Banda on Saturday told supporters there was no room for revenge as she was sworn in as Africa’s second female head of state in modern times after the death of the divisive Bingu wa Mutharika.
Banda offered the conciliatory words following two days of political intrigue in which Mutharika’s inner circle tried to block her assuming the post, which fell to her as vice president under the terms of the constitution.
In congratulating Banda, the United States “looks forward to continued partnership with the government and people of Malawi,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Banda earlier Monday about the “importance of adhering to rule of law, and to working across parties as the government of Malawi moves forward,” Nuland said.
“We congratulate Malawi for ensuring that the transfer of power was both peaceful and reflected the letter and spirit of their constitution,” Nuland said.
“The people of Malawi have demonstrated once again their commitment to democratic values as the foundation of the rule of law,” she added.
The United States also extended its condolences to Mutharika’s family
The United States extends its condolences to the people of Malawi and the family of President Bingu wa Mutharika following his recent passing, and we welcome today’s announcement that Vice President Joyce Banda was sworn in as President. By following constitutional procedures for this transition, the government and people of Malawi have reaffirmed their commitment to democratic principles and demonstrated the critical importance of sound democratic institutions. We stand with the people of Malawi during their time of mourning, and look forward to deepening the partnership between our nations.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The White House
April 2, 2012
President Obama spoke today with President Kiir to urge him to build on the recent achievements of the nationality and citizenship agreements initialed by South Sudan and Sudan, and to express hope that the two countries’ heads of state will meet soon at a summit, as they had previously agreed. President Obama also expressed concern about the growing tensions between South Sudan and Sudan, especially the violent clashes along their shared border and renewed fighting in Southern Kordofan State. President Obama underscored the importance of avoiding unilateral actions, and asked President Kiir to ensure that South Sudan’s military exercises maximum restraint and is not involved in or supporting fighting along the border, particularly in Southern Kordofan. The President further emphasized the importance of South Sudan and Sudan reaching an agreement on oil. President Obama welcomed President Kiir’s commitment to moving forward with a summit and to finding peaceful solutions for Sudan and South Sudan.