In the media


On Friday, Afghan police officers discovered the bodies of 10 medical aid workers who were killed in the northern Badakhshan Province.  Six were American.  The Taliban has proudly claimed responsibility for this despicable act of wanton violence.
 
These men and women were in the region to deliver free medical care to impoverished Afghan villagers, according to the NGO they were working with.  They were doctors, nurses, and medical technicians, and their mission was humanitarian and wholly independent from that of any government.  Before their deaths, they had spent several days treating cataracts and other eye conditions in the Nuristan Province.  At their next stop, they planned to run a dental clinic and offer maternal and infant health care.  They were unarmed.  They were not being paid for their services.  They had traveled to this distant part of the world because they wanted to help people in need.  They were guests of the Afghan people. 
 
The Taliban stopped them on a remote road on their journey from Nuristan, led them into a forest, robbed them, and killed them.
 
We are heartbroken by the loss of these heroic, generous people.  We condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless act.   We also condemn the Taliban’s transparent attempt to justify the unjustifiable by making false accusations about their activities in Afghanistan.
 
Terror has no religion, and these acts are rejected by people all over the world, including by Muslims here in the United States.  The Taliban’s cruelty is well-documented.  Its members have assassinated tribal elders and thrown acid in the face of young girls.  Earlier this summer, they accused a 7-year-old boy of spying and hung him.  With these killings, they have shown us yet another example of the lengths to which they will go to advance their twisted ideology. 
 
The murdered medical aid workers, as well as the volunteers from many nations and the international coalition working to establish stability in Afghanistan, represent exactly what the Taliban stands against:  a future of peace, freedom, opportunity, and openness, where all Afghans can live and work together in harmony, free from terror.
 
That is what we are working to achieve in Afghanistan, in partnership with the Afghan people.  As we mourn the loss of these aid workers, we will continue with our own efforts, inspired by their example.

The State Department announced that Secretary Clinton will travel to Kyiv, Krakow, Baku, Yerevan and Tbilisi beginning on Friday, July 2.  In Krakow, Secretary Clinton will participate in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Community of Democracies, a global intergovernmental coalition of democratic countries with the goal of promoting democratic rules and strengthening democratic norms and institutions around the world.  Secretary Clinton will also meet with Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski.

Speaking about Secretary Clinton’s visit, Ambassador Feinstein said, “In announcing plans to attend the Community of Democracies and lending other U.S. support, Secretary Clinton is sending a strong signal of American backing for Poland’s efforts to strengthen the Community of Democracies.”  Ambassador Feinstein attended the first Ministerial of the Community of Democracies in Warsaw in June 2000, when he served as an adviser to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who, along with former Minister of Foreign Affairs Bronislaw Geremek, conceived the idea and convened the original conference.
 
In Kyiv, Secretary Clinton will open the second meeting of the Strategic Partnership Commission and meet with government officials, including President Yanukovych and Foreign Minister Gryshchenko, and with civil society and independent media leaders.  After Krakow, the Secretary will continue on to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, where she will hold meetings with government officials and civil society leaders to discuss bilateral issues, as well as issues related to regional peace and stability.

State Department Announcement on Secretary Clinton’s Travel
More on the Community of Democracies

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce the release of the 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report today at 16:30 in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the Department of State.  The Report will be posted at 13:00 on Monday, June 14 and may be accessed at www.state.gov/g/tip.

The 177-country report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on the efforts of governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons, a modern form of slavery. Its findings are intended to raise global awareness and spur countries to take effective actions to counter trafficking in persons. The assessment includes reports on 175 countries assigned ranks, including the first-ever ranking of the United States.

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons announced, “This year, we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of two landmark efforts to combat modern slavery. Ten years ago, President Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act into law. And, that same year, the world came together at the United Nations and set international standards with the negotiation of the Palermo Protocol.  And since then, thousands of victims have been helped; thousands of traffickers have been arrested and prosecuted.”

Secretary Clinton and PM Sikorski

Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski began  a three-day visit to the United States today.  Sikorski is scheduled to meet with the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones, and representatives of the U.S. Congress and Washington-based think tanks.  The main topics of the visit will be international security and U.S. – Polish relations.
 Foreign Minister Sikorski’s April 29 meeting with Secretary Clinton will re-launch the Strategic Dialogue between Poland and the United States.  The Strategic Dialogue is one of three formal consultative mechanisms outlined in the August 2008 Declaration on Strategic Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Poland.  The first is the High Level Defense Group, which met in Warsaw in October 2009 to discuss topics such as ballistic missile defense cooperation and Patriot missile rotations to Poland.  The second mechanism, the Strategic Cooperation Consultative Group, also met in Warsaw, in February 2010, to discuss topics such as arms control and revising NATO’s Strategic Concept.  The Strategic Dialogue is the most senior of these yearly formal consultations, and involves broader issues of security.  This year’s Strategic Dialogue will include a side session emphasizing energy and climate security cooperation led by Ambassador Richard Morningstar and Deputy Minister of Economy Marcin Korolec.  The session will also include discussion of collaboration on nuclear energy, unconventional gas, and development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

A screenshot shows the locations of Hatian Creole volunteers who have translated 40,000 text messages

What an interesting use of new technology!

Within hours of the earthquake that crushed Port-au-Prince January 12, Haitians in peril could send text messages for help over cell phones to a newly created emergency response number, 4636. It was the rough equivalent of the 911 emergency response number in the United States — and literally was set up overnight.

Utilizing Ushahidi — a Web portal born in 2008 to help citizen activists track post-election violence in Kenya — volunteers around the world who speak French and Creole translated thousands of messages, mapped where the calls came from and directed the most urgent pleas to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Red Cross and other relief and rescue agencies.

Against the enormous scale of suffering and loss in Haiti, and the bottlenecks in delivering food and medicine to survivors, this seems like a modest triumph. It could become the model for tapping digital technology — from mobile phones to creative software and social networking applications — to speed help in future catastrophes.

For related items, see The Americas: Partnering for Haiti Relief and Recovery and the America.gov feature The Power of a Mobile Phone.

Read the full article here.

The New York Times and The Jewish Daily Forward highlighted the work of recent Polish International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) alumnus Albert Stankowski , who coordinates the “Virtual Shtetl” project for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.The project is a large-scale website which uses Web 2.0 technology to collect over 30,000 photographs, documents, videos, letters and other exhibit material of Jews living in Poland before, during, and after World War II.  This “virtual museum” will be given a physical venue in 2012 when the Museum of the History of Polish Jews opens in Warsaw. 

During his September meeting with U.S. journalists as part of his IVLP program, Mr. Stankowski highlighted this fascinating project, which ultimately resulted  in two articles in which the ‘Virtual Shtetl’ project is prominently featured.  The ‘Virtual Shtetl’ project appears as an example of the Polish Jewish community worldwide sharing their history while using new media tools.  Mr. Stankowski’s example illustrates the impact the IVLP program has in enhancing multilateral awareness and ties between international and U.S. communities.

To read the article in the NYT please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/arts/design/20museum.html?emc=eta1

To read the article in the Jewish Daily Forward please visit:
http://www.forward.com/articles/115592/

Related links:

More on’ Virtual Shtetl’ project:
http://www.sztetl.org.pl

More on International Visitor Leadership Program:
http://exchanges.state.gov/ivlp/ivlp.html

AMERICA PRESENTS

 

DAMIAN BEDNARZ

Special Assistant, Office of Policy and International Affairs

United State Department of Energy

 

The Role of New Media in Elections: Tales from the Obama for America Campaign

 

Thursday, January 28 at 17:00

Koszykowa Library, Koszykowa 26/28

Entrance F

 

 

Damian Bednarz, Special Assistant in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, will meet the Warsaw public at the U.S. Embassy’s next America Presents program on January 28 at 17:00 at the Koszykowa Library.

Mr. Bednarz spent two years working on new media with the Obama for America campaign before joining the Department of Energy, where he now covers regional energy issues in Central/Eastern Europe and the Middle East and as domestic efforts on renewable energy, climate change, and a national ocean policy.  Mr. Bednarz, a graduate of Seton Hall University and Marist College, researched Polish political parties and the mechanics behind coalition building as a Fulbright Scholar in Warsaw from 2004-2005. 

In addition to a discussion of new media on the campaign trail, Mr. Bednarz is happy to discuss the U.S. role in addressing the latest global energy challenges.                               

The event will be translated into Polish and open to general public.

If you like to attend this event please RSVP to AmericaPresents@state.gov

AMERICA PRESENTS

 

DAMIAN BEDNARZ

Specjalny asystent, Biuro Polityki i Spraw Międzynarodowych

Amerykański Departament Energetyki

 

“Rola Nowych Mediów w Wyborach. Kampania Obama dla Ameryki”

 

Czwartek, 28.01. godz. 17:00

Biblioteka Publiczna m.st. Warszawy, ul. Koszykowa 26/28, wejście F

 

Wstęp wolny.

Spotkanie z tłumaczeniem symultanicznym.

Prosimy o potwiedzenie obecnosci: AEP@state.gov

Oprócz dyskusji na temat roli nowych mediow, Pan Bednarz chętnie przedyskutuje role jaka odgrywają Stany Zjednoczone w odniesiniu do ostatnich swiatowych wyzwań energetycznych.

America Presents

 

“America Presents” programs bring a wide array of American cultural, political, historical, and economic topics to diverse audiences in Poland.  Through this program, the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw offers free, public presentations and talks by American scholars, artists, athletes, and experts.  The events are generally designed for journalists, students, English teachers, and academic faculty (from International Relations, American Studies, and English Departments of universities and private academia). In addition, anyone with an interest in the United States or the event’s theme is welcome to attend. 
As a rule, all presentations are given in English, although occasional exceptions will be advertised.  Recent participants of this program have included award-winning novelist Amy Tan, photographer Robert Heller, best-selling author Steve Berry, journalist Tom Friedman, filmmaker Richard Adams, Professor Rasma Karlins, author/professor/playwright Anne Nelson, and author Eric Weiner.

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