TechWomen Collaborate, Code, and Connect in Jordan

Posted by Lee Satterfield / February 14, 2013

TechWomen program participants pose for a photograph in Amman, Jordan, February 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Last week in Jordan, 50 women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Yemen and the United States came together to map out ways in which they could use the TechWomen network to encourage more women and girls to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM).

TechWomen is a program sponsored by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that pairs emerging women leaders in technology from the Middle East and North Africa with leading American women from the Silicon Valley area, using technology as a means to empower women and girls.… more »

A Diverse and Socially Inclusive America Needs to Share Its Story

Posted by Tara D. Sonenshine / February 12, 2013

Wheelchair athlete, left, races along side able-bodied high school runners, April 19, 2006 in Rockville, Md. [AP File Photo]

Diversity is our strength, and everyone, including persons with disabilities, has important contributions to make.

That was one of the overarching messages at the 10th Special Olympics 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea this month, where athletes Tae Hemsath and Henry Meece -- born in South Korea with developmental disabilities -- returned to their birth country as Special Olympics athletes. Tae competed as a snowshoe racer, Henry as a snowboarder.

That same message resonated today throughout a public forum, where participants at Gallaudet University came to learn about opportunities in international exchange for persons with disabilities, and for members of the deaf community.

The audience was moved by the words and experiences of speakers, including U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a former Army helicopter pilot who lost… more »

International Writing Program Sends Former U.S. Poet Laureate to Burma

Posted by Ann Stock / February 11, 2013

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass speaks with university students in Rangoon, Burma, January 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

For centuries, great writers have opened windows into other worlds, and allowed countries -- often for the very first time -- a glimpse into a different culture and a different way of living. Through their work, writers connect cultures on a people-to-people level. The art of creative writing is fundamental to freedom of expression and a reason why the U.S. Department of State has sponsors exchange programs like the International Writing Program.

This past month, the State Department sent four of the best American writers and poets on our first International Writing Program delegation to Burma. The group included former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, writers Brenda Hillman and ZZ Packer, and Christopher Merrill, director of the… 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]

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]

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 »

Brazilians Glean Lessons From Super Bowl Planning

Posted by Reta Jo Lewis / January 31, 2013

Rio de Janeiro's Mayor Eduardo Paes, third right, Brazilian Olympic Committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman, center, and representatives from civil society wave the newly arrived Olympic flag in front of the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 19, 2012. In 2016, Rio de Janeiro will host the Olympic Games. [AP File Photo]

As many Americans are preparing for this weekend's Super Bowl -- arguably the biggest annual sporting event in the United States -- Brazilians are looking ahead to 2014, and 2016, when they'll host the World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In December 2012, I led a dynamic delegation of sports and entertainment business leaders to Sao Paulo and Brasilia. At the request of Brazil's Ministry of Sports, my office assembled this delegation to expand U.S.-Brazil cooperation in preparation for Brazil's hosting a series of major international sporting events, including the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Our efforts to expand U.S.-Brazil cooperation in this area were met with great enthusiasm from all we met with in Brazil.

The delegation of 15 experts from the U.S government and the private sector -- including national football… more »

Burma: Hoops for Change

Posted by Tara D. Sonenshine / January 24, 2013

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine and Ambassador Than Swe pose for a photograph with Burmese youth participating in a SportsUnited exchange program at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., January 8, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

They came off the bus in front of the Verizon Center in their white SportsUnited T-shirts. They were 12 Burmese basketball players -- six girls, six boys and two coaches -- participating in a sports exchange program that started last summer in Rangoon. Their excitement grew as they sat courtside to watch a real professional basketball game -- and see the pro's warming up beforehand. It grew even more when Washington Wizards Bradley Beal and Kevin Seraphin came over to greet them and pose for photographs.

Then they experienced the unique American pastime of a classic NBA basketball game -- complete with cheerleaders, acrobats, chants, crowd applause, and… more »

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

Posted by Sharon Hudson-Dean / January 19, 2013

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

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 »

Building on a Strong Foundation of Historic Ties With the Asia-Pacific

Posted by Kurt Campbell / January 18, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for a photo with a member of the Tomodachi program youth in Tokyo, Japan, on July 8, 2012. [State Department photo by William Ng/ Public Domain]

Economic issues were also at the forefront of our engagement with the Asia-Pacific region in 2012, particularly fostering economic integration and open markets. On March 15, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement -- the largest U.S. FTA in nearly two decades -- entered into force. This historic agreement is expected to increase goods exports by billions of dollars annually for both sides, supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in both countries. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) annual meetings,… more »

New Ways To Engage With the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Posted by Ann Stock / January 18, 2013

Have you participated in a State Department-sponsored exchange program? Stay connected. Do you teach English abroad? We have free resources to help. Do you want to engage in citizen diplomacy? One of these new websites holds the information you need to get you started.

After extensive research and planning, five of ECA's websites have been given a sleek redesign in order to better serve our audiences. The launch includes five distinct new websites, each uniquely designed to provide people around the globe with the information they need to engage in citizen diplomacy and English teaching/learning activities. The redesigned sites allow Americans and foreign audiences to easily discover how they can be a part of the Department's academic, cultural, sports, youth, professional, or private sector exchanges.

International Exchange Alumni, American English, Exchanges,… more »

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