Innovation in Arms Control Challenge Winners Present New Solutions for Complex Issues

Posted by Jamie Mannina / March 04, 2013

About the Author: Jamie Mannina serves as Special Assistant in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance.

What do a graduate student from California, an aerospace/defense industry consultant from Florida, and a research scientist working on computational neurology and brain-machine interfaces in Georgia all have in common? They share a strong interest in developing and adapting instruments that could one day advance U.S. arms control policy and objectives.

Today, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance announced three winners of our first Innovation in Arms Control Challenge. Last summer, we launched a prize incentive challenge and asked the public, "How Can the Crowd Support Arms Control Transparency Efforts?" This challenge sought… more »

UNESCO Meeting Sends Clear Message: Keep the Internet Free and Open

Posted by David T. Killion / March 04, 2013

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer delivers remarks at the WSIS+10 Ministerial Panel in Paris, France, February 25, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: David Killion serves as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO.

The Internet is so much a part of our lives these days it can come as a surprise to learn how much Internet freedom is at threat around the world. Fortunately, Internet freedom received a major boost at UNESCO last week, thanks to the efforts of the United States and other likeminded participants at the first review meeting of the "World Summit on Information Society" (WSIS), called WSIS+10.

As U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, I joined Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer to lead the U.S. delegation at UNESCO's WSIS+10. This review meeting brought together governments, private companies, civil society groups and individual experts to discuss a whole range of Internet-related issues, from cyber-security to e-learning, and press freedom to e-business. The United States… more »

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

Posted by Kristie A. Kenney / March 03, 2013

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 »

Smart Traveler Day Roundtable Engages Members of the LGBT Travel Industry

Posted by Esperanza Tilghman / March 03, 2013

Consular Officers speak with representatives of LGBT travel industry during a Smart Traveler Day roundtable at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., February 20, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Esperanza Tilghman serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Recently, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) launched its Smart Traveler Day campaign, designed to support CA's ongoing efforts to keep U.S. citizens informed and connected to the latest travel information, and to emphasize the assistance CA provides to U.S. citizens traveling overseas.

On February 20, 2013, CA kicked off the campaign with the first-ever roundtable discussion engaging lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. The roundtable focused on the unique challenges facing LGBT travelers, and how CA provides information and resources to help U.S. citizen travelers stay well-informed and safe. The event was organized… more »

From the Ground in Syria: Delivering Flour to Aleppo

Posted by Rebecca Gustafson / March 02, 2013

A flour mill employee holds freshly milled flour for Syrian bakeries, Aleppo, Syria, March 1, 2013. [USAID photo/ Used by Permission]

About the Author: Rebecca Gustafson serves on USAID's Syria Response Management Team.

Despite nearly two years of ongoing conflict in Syria, grain is being ground into flour, tested for moisture and protein content, and baked into sample loaves of bread. Flour that meets approval is bagged and loaded onto trucks bound for a distribution warehouse in Aleppo Governorate.

At the warehouse, each bag is accounted for as it is offloaded by workers. A community member, who helps oversee the warehouse, looks on, notepad in hand. He talks about how the flour can help ease the financial burden of the displaced Syrians who crowd almost all available living space in the neighborhood.

He notes that even subsidized flour costs more than most families can afford even in the best of times. The flour being offloaded today is donated by USAID and will allow bakeries -- identified in coordination with the Syrian Opposition Coalition's Assistance Coordination… more »

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