Secretary Kerry’s First Week

Posted by Richard Buangan / February 08, 2013

About the Author: Richard Buangan serves as Director of Digital Engagement at the U.S. Department of State.

Today's "Photo of the Week" is not just one, but several photos we selected highlighting Secretary Kerry's first week at the State Department. Since the warm welcome he received from hundreds of colleagues when he walked through the doors of the State Department for the first time as Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry wasted no time getting to work, meeting his new colleagues, and getting acquainted with the Harry S Truman building. Pictures tell the story better than words as Secretary Kerry assumed his responsibilities as America's top diplomat. more »

International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM: Working Together To End a Devastating Practice

Posted by Melanne Verveer / February 07, 2013

A Masai girl holds a protest sign during the anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) run in Kilgoris, Kenya, April 21, 2007. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Melanne Verveer serves as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues.

On February 6, 2013, in observance of the tenth anniversary of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, I had the privilege of leading a panel discussion at the State Department to help bring global attention to a harmful traditional practice that risks the lives, dignity, and well-being of women and girls in far too many places around the world.

I was honored to be joined by such dedicated leaders and practitioners as Amina Salum Ali, Ambassador of the African Union to the United States; Dr. Nawal Nour, a Sudanese-American from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; Bacary Tamba from Tostan, a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Senegal; and Jessie Hexpoor from Hivos, an NGO based in the Netherlands. They each have made, and are continuing to make, extraordinary contributions toward putting an end to female genital mutilation/cutting… more »

Behind the Scenes at Secretary Kerry’s Swearing-In Ceremony

Posted by Luke Forgerson / February 06, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright before his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., February 6, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Luke Forgerson serves as DipNote's Managing Editor.

The audio technician conducts one last sound test, and my public affairs colleagues prepare to stream the event live on The press officers escort the media to the Benjamin Franklin Room, where many State Department events take place. Everything is occurring according to a process, one of which we've carried out dozens and dozens of times. And, yet, the event that is about to occur is anything but routine. The Vice President of the United States is minutes away from ceremoniously swearing in the 68th U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry.

As we wait for the ceremony to begin, my coworker and I reflect on our time at the State Department. I remember arriving on my first day and reciting the oath of office every employee takes, a pledge similar to the one Secretary Kerry is about to make… more »

Taking the Lessons of Title IX Global—On the Court and In Life

Posted by Ann Stock / February 05, 2013

Jessica Mendoza, U.S. Olympian and member of the State Department Council to Empower Women and Girls, leads clinics in Nicaragua as part of the State Department's global efforts to empower women and girls through sports, February 4, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Ann Stock serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

February 6 marks the 27th National Day of Women and Girls in Sports.

Today in Esteli, Nicaragua, girls from under-served areas are on the softball diamond, fielding grounders, running out base hits, and learning how sports can improve their health and their performance in the classroom.

In Donetsk, Ukraine, girls were on the basketball court, looking for the outlet pass, grabbing rebounds, and working as a team.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, 12 young, female basketball players from Senegal recently concluded a 10-day international exchange.… more »

Afghan Music Students Begin U.S. Tour

Posted by James B. Cunningham / February 05, 2013

Musicians with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music perform during the organization's winter gala in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 1, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: James B. Cunningham serves as Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Winter Academy Gala Concert of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). Students ranging in age from 10 to 20 played Chopin and Ravel, as well as Afghan traditional songs and collaborative fusion pieces.

In a historic tour that began February 3, 2013, ANIM students are traveling in the United States to perform at venues ranging from the world-famous Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center to the headquarters of the World Bank and Fordham High School for the Arts. Even more… more »

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