News from Politicians - http://govne.ws/ Press releases, blog posts, photos, videos, and more from the politicians and candidates you select. News en-us <![CDATA[Ways to Improve and Strengthen the International Anti-Doping System]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:15:00 CST

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<![CDATA[Ways to Improve and Strengthen the International Anti-Doping System]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:15:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-27 8:30 pm]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:30:28 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-27 7:19 pm]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:19:50 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-27 5:20 pm]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:20:43 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-27 4:44 pm]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:44:49 CST <![CDATA[Seven Myths About Cultural Diplomacy]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:45:09 CST

The U.S. Department of State has a long history of promoting culture as a means to create connections with people around the world. Musicians, dancers and artists have traveled beyond their borders for more than 75 years on State Department-sponsored exchange programs. We believe in the power of the arts to help us advance our top foreign policy objectives, from championing human rights to supporting resilient societies. As diplomacy has evolved from government interactions to include people from all sectors of society, cultural diplomacy has brought communities closer together and increased awareness of important global issues.

However, myths persist. Here are a few misconceptions and some lesser-known facts about cultural diplomacy. And as African American History Month draws to a close I highlighted throughout this blog entry, a few noteworthy examples of African Americans -- both past and present -- engaging in cultural diplomacy.

Myth One: Cultural diplomacy is a newer type of diplomacy.

A poster promoting a Louis Armstrong appearance, distributed in Beirut, March 24, 1959.

Not so much. The informal exchange of culture has existed for centuries, and official cultural diplomacy programs have a long history within the U.S. government. In 1946, Senator J. William Fulbright created the first cultural exchange program through the Fulbright Act for the "promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science."

The first official use of the term “cultural diplomacy” was in 1959 by Robert H. Thayer, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for the Coordination of International Educational and Cultural Relations. He said foreign relationships were now determined by the “way people think and live, and eat, and feel,” and that “today we have in the forefront of the implementation of our foreign policy, cultural diplomacy, and to my mind the most important means of bringing complete mutual understanding between peoples, which in turn compels mutual understanding between governments.” That same year, the Department of State formally defined cultural diplomacy as, “the direct and enduring contact between peoples of different nations."

One of the most famous examples of cultural diplomacy is the Jazz Ambassadors program in the 1950s and 1960s. The State Department enlisted famous U.S. jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck, to share this uniquely American genre of music with the world. The freedom of jazz made it the “artistic counterpart to the American political system,” which not only showcased American arts but was also a tangible symbol of American values.

Dave Brubeck Quartet at Congress Hall Frankfurt/Main (1967). From left to right: Joe Morello, Eugene Wright, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

Myth Two: You have to be a famous artist to be a cultural diplomat.

Although famous artists have participated in cultural diplomacy exchanges, cultural envoys at all levels share their unique artistic expressions with audiences overseas, regardless of the size of their fan base. For example, American Music Abroad looks for artists committed to educating and engaging with global communities outside of more traditional Embassy outreach events.

There are, of course, famous names as well, as every U.S. embassy creates a cultural calendar to bolster its engagement with its regional population and engage communities surrounding themes that resonate greatest with them. Whether it’s Lady Gaga offering tickets to the embassy for a concert in support of human rights, Audra McDonald relating the ups and downs of her career path with ambitious music and theater students, Gibney Dance conducting gender-violence prevention workshops, or study-abroad Berklee College of Music musicians commemorating International Jazz Day with a concert at an American Space, each embassy conducts cultural diplomacy on a daily basis, expanding its reach and creating new people-to-people ties.

Myth Three: Cultural diplomacy is just about the arts.

False. The State Department defines cultural diplomacy as, “providing Americans with access to international artists while sharing America's rich culture of performing and visual arts with international audiences.” Arts programming is only one part of cultural diplomacy. The definition of cultural diplomacy includes exchange programs, educational programs, language teaching, broadcasting, gifts, ideas, social policy, history, and religion.

Myth Four: Cultural diplomacy must be led by governments.

False. When we refer to cultural diplomacy, we’re talking about how governments and nations organize and promote cultural programs to build understanding and relationships. But the beauty of culture is that it can be shared by anyone. We encourage Americans to employ culture as citizen diplomats. Every time you share a piece of your own culture with someone else, you’re serving as a cultural citizen diplomat.

Leading U.S. rapper Wordsmith joined forces with the Israeli Jewish-Arab rap band “System Ali” for the “Rap for Humanity” event in Tel Aviv to honor the memory and the legacy of the U.S. journalist and musician Daniel Pearl.

Myth Five: Only Americans can be Department of State cultural diplomats.

False. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers several programs that bring international artists (writers, musicians, dancers, hip-hop artists, filmmakers, actors) to the United States for cultural exchanges. These programs provide unique opportunities for collaboration and increase the capacity of Americans to understand and engage globally.

Programs like OneBeat unite diverse groups of musicians in the United States to write, produce, and perform original music with Americans and each other. The Center Stage program brings international contemporary performing artists in direct contact with U.S. audiences.

Myth Six: Anything related to culture counts as cultural diplomacy.

Not necessarily. The purpose of cultural diplomacy is to connect cultures and build bridges. As former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “Cultural diplomacy is about presenting the diversity of your own country and listening to what people are saying to you. It is not one-way.” In that same vein, an international tour of a famous pop-star on its own would not be cultural diplomacy. But if that artist made a concerted effort to engage with the local community on a U.S. government program or in collaboration with a U.S. embassy, that would be cultural diplomacy.

Myth Seven: Cultural programs are mostly about attending museum exhibits and listening to concerts.

Next Level participants perform in Washington, D.C.

False. Over the years, State Department programs have expanded to include exchanges like Next Level, which promotes international cultural exchange and conflict resolution through hip-hop music and dance. Through this program, MCs, DJs, beat makers, and hip-hop dancers conduct public concerts, interactive performances with local musicians, lecture demonstrations, workshops, and jam sessions with diverse audiences.

There are also programs like the American Arts Incubator, which uses new media and/or digital  arts to engage youth, artists, and underserved communities. Other programs like DanceMotion USA prove that cultural exchange is interactive, incorporating dance workshops for people of all levels and from all backgrounds in addition to offering top quality performances.  And American Film Showcase brings the best of U.S. documentary and feature film to audiences worldwide, exploring current issues through film as well as providing needed capacity-building for up-and-coming filmmakers. 

Just like culture itself, cultural diplomacy efforts will adapt as our society changes. Technology will influence and create culture faster than we can keep up. But as long as there are cultural diplomats willing to facilitate an open exchange of ideas and beliefs, cultural diplomacy will exist for years to come.

About the Author: Lauren Aitken serves in the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

For more information:




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<![CDATA[2017-02-27 3:19 pm]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:19:07 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-27 2:30 pm]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:30:57 CST <![CDATA[Walden Statement on Confirmation of Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary ]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:06:00 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-27 10:30 am]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:30:52 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-27 9:19 am]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:19:24 CST <![CDATA[Secretary's Remarks: Dominican Republic]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:11:43 CST Press Statement
Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 27, 2017


On behalf of President Trump and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Dominican Republic on 173 years of independence.

We value the Dominican Republic as our longtime partner and friend. You have built your economy into one of the most robust in the hemisphere. Our bilateral relationship stands strong as we work together to increase economic opportunities and keep our nations secure.

The United States is committed to continuing our longstanding partnership to advance our shared vision for an ever more secure and prosperous Caribbean region.




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<![CDATA[2017-02-25 2:31 pm]]> Sat, 25 Feb 2017 14:31:17 CST <![CDATA[My, How The Times Have Changed!]]> Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:46:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-25 1:20 pm]]> Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:20:09 CST

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<![CDATA[A North American Approach to our Shared Drug Challenge]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:56:37 CST

Illicit narcotrafficking and drug use present an inherently transnational problem -- drug traffickers clearly don’t respect national borders. To succeed in combatting drug trafficking, then, the good guys must also be able to work across borders.  International cooperation is a must.

The State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau, or INL, works all over the globe to advance this very type of international collaboration.  This week we’re in Thailand for the global ‘Bangkok III’ Conference, where the United States is highlighting cross-border anti-drug cooperation within our own home continent.

Unfortunately, amongst the many things linking the three North American neighbors is a very dire crisis -- the opioid epidemic. Frighteningly high overdose figures in the United States, a raging fentanyl crisis in Canada and the United States, and violence spread by drug traffickers in Mexico are all interrelated features of today’s drug crisis.  

On the global stage at Bangkok III our three nations are teaming up to showcase how cross-border cooperation can work in the face of this transnational challenge. The key is to ensure officials from each country -- technical experts, public health officials, and law enforcement -- are working together in concrete ways. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Mexico’s National Control Agency are sharing a stage at Bangkok III to tell this story, and to commit to further strengthening our trilateral partnership.  As the head of the U.S. delegation to the Bangkok III Conference, INL's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Luis Arreaga said:

“We want to achieve an aligned approach by our three countries to address the threat of narcotics misuse and abuse and trafficking of precursor chemicals.”

Following Bangkok III, the United States, Mexico, and Canada will again convene in early March to pursue this aligned North American approach, as part of the ongoing North American Dialogue on Drug Policy. At a series of workshops in Washington, experts from the three nations will share best practices and information on illicit drug production, distribution, and treatment. And later in March, all three of our governments will take part in the annual United Nations (UN) Commission on Narcotic Drugs to consider further ways to reduce the supplies of dangerous drugs. Among U.S. priorities for the United Nations event are new international controls to block drug criminals from the precursor chemicals used to make illicit fentanyl.

At a time when our nation is facing a true drug crisis, with heroin and dangerous synthetics like fentanyl ravaging our communities, the U.S. government is working on multiple fronts --  and with our North American neighbors -- to forge effective and transnational solutions.  

About the Author: Michael Alpern serves in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

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<![CDATA[2017-02-24 12:30 pm]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:30:58 CST <![CDATA[Secretary's Remarks: Mongolian Lunar New Year (Tsagaan Sar)]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:35:06 CST Press Statement
Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 24, 2017


On behalf of President Trump and the American people, we send our best wishes to the people of Mongolia as you gather with your families and friends to celebrate Tsagaan Sar on February 27.

I hope that the new year brings you prosperity and success, and that the close ties between the American and Mongolian peoples continue to deepen as we mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries.




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<![CDATA[2017-02-24 11:18 am]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:18:45 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-24 10:30 am]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:30:45 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-24 9:23 am]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:23:45 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-24 8:32 am]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:32:33 CST <![CDATA[Bipartisan Committee Leaders Press ONDCP for Answers on Federal Response to Fentanyl Epidemic]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:00:00 CST <![CDATA[Letter to ONDCP Regarding Federal Response to Fentanyl Epidemic]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 07:52:00 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-24 1:19 am]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 01:19:51 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-24 12:30 am]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:30:35 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 11:18 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:18:06 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-23 10:29 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:29:29 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 9:23 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:23:06 CST <![CDATA[Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Travels to Mexico]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:45:57 CST

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Mexico City, Mexico February 22-23, 2017. He was joined in Mexico by U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.

During their visit, the two Secretaries met with President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto.  Secretaries Tillerson and Kelly also met with their Mexican counterparts --  Secretary of Government Miguel Angel Osorio Chong; Secretary of Foreign Relations Luis Videgaray Caso; Secretary of National Defense General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda; Secretary of the Navy Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberon Sanz; Secretary of Finance and Public Credit Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena; and Attorney General Raul Cervantes Andrade -- to discuss the breadth of challenges and opportunities in the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Following these meetings Secretaries Tillerson and Kelly released a joint statement.

Secretaries Tillerson and Kelly Pose for a Photo With Mexican Secretaries Videgaray, Osorio, and Meade in Mexico City.

“In our meetings, we jointly acknowledged that, in a relationship filled with vibrant colors, two strong sovereign countries from time to time will have differences. We listened closely and carefully to each other as we respectfully and patiently raised our respective concerns. 

Our conversations covered the full range of bilateral issues. We reaffirmed our close cooperation on economic and commercial issues such as energy, legal migration, security, education exchanges, and people-to-people ties. We agreed that our two countries should seize the opportunity to modernize and strengthen our trade and energy relationship. ” the joint statement said.

For more information:

  • Read the full joint statement by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly on Bilateral Discussions in Mexico City.
  • Read Secretary Tillerson,  Secretary Kelly, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso, and Mexican Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong statements to the press.
  • Learn more about Secretary Tillerson’s travel to Mexico.
  • Follow @StateDept on Twitter and the State Department on Facebook for additional trip highlights and coverage.



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<![CDATA[2017-02-23 8:40 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:40:08 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 7:20 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:20:27 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 6:30 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:30:55 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-23 5:19 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:19:19 CST <![CDATA[HEARING: #SubHealth to Look at User Fees NEXT WEEK]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:38:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 4:30 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:30:49 CST

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<![CDATA[GOLD MEDAL LINEUP: Tuesday Hearing on Anti-Doping Brings Together All-Star Panel]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:32:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 3:17 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:17:54 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 2:31 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:31:15 CST

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<![CDATA[Obamacare’s Individual Mandate: A Resounding Failure]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:52:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 1:18 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:18:35 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 12:30 pm]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:30:38 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-23 8:30 am]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:30:34 CST <![CDATA[#SubOversight Announces Details for Anti-Doping Hearing ]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:42:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-23 7:18 am]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:18:33 CST

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<![CDATA[Idaho Delegation Announces 2017 Service Academy Days ]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:00:00 CST The Idaho Congressional Delegation today announced its 2017 Service Academy Days across Idaho.  Each Service Academy Day session offers students, parents, and counselors the opportunity to meet with liaisons, cadets, and midshipmen from each of the nation’s respective service academies and provides an opportunity for questions.  Staff from Idaho’s four Congressional delegation offices will be on hand to answer questions about the application process for students who are seeking a nomination to our service academies. 

This year, the United States Military Academy at West Point; the U.S. Naval Academy; the U.S. Air Force Academy, and; the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy will all be represented at each event.  While a Congressional nomination is not needed to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, representatives will also be in attendance.

Following are the details of each the Service Academy Day:

Thursday, March 02, 2017
Central Idaho
6:00pm-8:00pm
Lewiston High School
1114 9th Avenue
Lewiston

Thursday, March 09, 2017
North Idaho
6:00pm-8:00pm
North Idaho College
Edminster Student Union Building
495 College Drive
Coeur d’Alene

Saturday, April 01, 2017
South Idaho
1:00pm-3:00pm
Gowen Field
Auditorium B440
Boise
NOTE: Picture ID Is required for entrance to the base.

Saturday, April 15, 2017
East Idaho
1:00pm-3:00pm
Idaho National Guard Armory
575 West 21st Street
Idaho Falls

Students who wish to learn more about applying for a military academy nomination but are unable to attend one of the Academy Day events are invited to contact any of the following Academy coordinators for information:

Karen Roetter
Sen. Mike Crapo’s Office
Karen_Roetter@Crapo.senate.gov
(208) 644-5490

Frances Hasenoehrl
Sen. Jim Risch
(208) 743-0792
Frances_Hasenoehrl@Risch.senate.gov

Linda Culver
Congressman Mike Simpson
(208) 734-7219
Linda.Culver@mail.house.gov

Judy Morbeck
Congressman Raul Labrador
(208) 667-0127
Judy.Morbeck@mail.house.gov

 

 

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<![CDATA[2017-02-22 4:30 pm]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:30:57 CST <![CDATA[Then and Now: Two Diplomatic Security Special Agents in a Changing World]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:27:35 CST

This is a story of two special agents—living two worlds apart in terms of the times and their experiences. Hired in the early 1960s as the first black special agent in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Security, forerunner to the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), William DeFossett faced many challenges in a segregated world. Today, DSS special agents like Alston Richardson enter their careers in a much more inclusive environment.  But, as Richardson observes, there is still room for improvement to create and sustain career and leadership opportunities through a diverse workplace.

Following are excerpts from interviews with DeFossett, conducted in October 1991, and with Richardson, conducted in January 2017. DeFossett died in 1999 after serving with the State Department’s Office of Security from 1963 to 1980. Richardson joined DSS in 2002 and currently serves as DSS Branch Chief, Criminal Investigative Liaison in the Criminal Investigations Division.

Special Agent William DeFossett (1920-1999).

 

The Jackie Robinson of Diplomatic Security

Then (William DeFossett):  "As the first black agent, I guess you could liken my position to being the Jackie Robinson of the State Department Security (SY). When President Kennedy took office back in 1961, he issued an executive order stating that every department should comply with his wishes to have an integrated force. Up until that time, the State Department Security team was all white, and that’s what brought about my becoming the first black special agent.

"One of the reasons I was considered was because I was a detective in the New York City Police Department [NYPD]; they handle visits of dignitaries to New York City as well as other detective functions. In 1961 or the beginning of ’62, one of my colleagues in the NYPD mentioned to me that the State Department was looking for a black agent. I applied for the job. And my overall career was studded with a lot of positive experiences. There were more plusses than minuses, I would say that. "

Now (Alston Richardson): "When I was in college I made the decision to pursue a career in federal law enforcement. I went ahead and got my commission in the Army and was an Army officer and Blackhawk pilot for about seven years. Just about the time my contract was ending as an officer, I started looking into agencies. Diplomatic Security was always at the top of my list because I wanted the opportunity to travel the world—live and work overseas. I applied to DS as well as other organizations. DS called first, but, even so, my goal was, if DS called, I’d go with Diplomatic Security.

"I can tell you, I owe a wealth of gratitude to Mr. DeFossett and leaders during the civil rights era, the foundations that they built helped us pursue these careers in a much different way than the way than how Mr. DeFossett was recruited. If you look at his history, he was recruited as the first African American agent primarily. My experience was quite different. I applied for the job, seeing myself as a qualified candidate among a large pool of equally qualified and diverse candidates. I went through the interview process, and I felt I was hired based on my merits and my experiences more than anything else. But I do not take for granted what agents such as Mr. DeFossett had to go through to get here." 

A 50-Year Span—Attitudes Change but Challenges Remain

Then (William DeFossett): "My first day coming into the State Department Security field office in New York, I was greeted by the assistant special agent in charge, whom I had known from previous assignments with the NYPD. He greeted me with open arms [as did] most of the agents there. They took me out to lunch and made me feel very welcome.

"The following week, the boss, the special agent in charge came back from vacation, and I was primed to meet him. That meeting I would say was a little different from the meeting than I had with the rest of the agents, because the first words out of the boss’s mouth were: 'You’re not here by any choice of mine. I prefer Irish Catholic agents from Fordham University, and you don’t fit that category.' From that day on, it was a contest, and he had mentioned to a lot of people, 'If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to get that n***** out of here.' And he tried.

"Well, the career was up and down until this fellow retired and then it was like a load off my back so to speak. I couldn’t help but feel relieved. Things were a lot better. We had excellent relations with his successor and all the people that followed. The office settled down into a real professional, friendly atmosphere.”

 Now (Alston Richardson): "I’ve had nothing but a wholeheartedly positive experience coming to Diplomatic Security as an African American. I’ve made friends of all stripes and demographics, and traveled the globe. I think for many of us, the most difficult part is getting hired into the organization – it’s a very competitive process. But I do see some limitations, even now, regarding progression, assignments, and opportunities to rise to the highest ranks of DSS. It has been pointed out that our senior leadership does not reflect our organization as a whole in terms of women and minorities—and one area that concerns me is the number of black female agents in the organization. But once we get into the organization, agent to agent, working alongside our colleagues, seeing opportunities to serve in different countries, diverse cultures, I see those opportunities open to every agent, including myself."

'On the Job'—Then and Now

Then: (William DeFossett): "[When working overseas, some of my counterparts in African countries] would be curious, and they would ask me whether I had the same authority as a white agent. I would say, 'Yes, we have the same badges. We have the same authority. We go under the same rules and regulations.' Then, in some countries, they would ask questions like, 'Can you arrest a white person?' I would say, 'If he violates the law, I have that authority.' They would say, 'Oh that’s wonderful,' because back in their country, it was a little different.

"[During the period of about 1963 to 1965 it was almost like having] a celebrity status. 'Here comes the one. He’s our black agent. There he is.' I never forgot my first visit to the State Department building in Washington. I needed to show no credentials because when I got off the elevator, they said, 'Oh, here he is.' I showed no credentials to anyone.  I walked around the buildings. They’d say, 'That’s DeFossett. He’s from New York. That’s our black one.' Oh, it was very funny. It was very nice. I enjoyed it. We had a lot of fun. 

"As far as being a black agent out on the street, it posed no problem whatsoever. I might mention, too, that it was a novelty for everyone when I came on a scene. In other words, if I were assigned as the advance on visits—to go in advance of the principal to make the arrangements for his arrival–well, I would go to certain clubs right in New York, which are very exclusive clubs. In other words, people like me would not be members. So when I approached a club, I got all kinds of attention because they knew I’m not a member, but down comes the secretary or treasurer, or whatnot, and he wants to know my business.  I show him my credentials. Well, that makes it a little better. Then he brings me in, and they want to give you the whole club."

Now (Alston Richardson): "As a U.S. diplomat overseas, once you present yourself as a representative of the U.S. government, we are to the point now where the respect afforded to any diplomat is afforded to you despite your color. But until that presentation is made, I think a lot of the ingrained inherent racism that we may encounter in certain places still persists. 

"My experience has been, for the most part, that we are treated equally. That may not always be the case in every country to which you go. I primarily have served on the African continent, so I think for many of my foreign counterparts look up to me with a lot of respect. They have seen the history of the United States—and for them to see an African American in my position, representing the U.S. government overseas, they are pretty amazed and are always curious about the path that got me here. 

"I know for a fact that it has opened many doors. I have had some temporary duty assignments where my color was initially a distraction; I’ve seen some apprehension—never a question as to whether my authority is different from any of my colleagues’ authorities—but certainly, some of the baggage that they bring from their countries is passed onto me. And I do my best as a professional, as an agent, and as a diplomat, to overcome that in dealing with my foreign colleagues."

Taking Action to Create Leadership Opportunities for the Future

Special Agent Alston Richardson.

 Now  (Alston Richardson): "At DSS, it is important that we have a diverse set of agents to represent the U.S. government well no matter where we are—not only for a diverse workplace but to represent us in the federal law enforcement mission we have—the security mission we have. It is equally important not only to look at the past and the present in terms of the issue of diversity; we must also look to the future—not only in DSS but frankly the Department as a whole.

"Words are words until you see action. But at the same time words do matter. Diversity is not something to talk about; it’s something to take action on. It is important that the leadership of an organization recognizes and talks forcefully about deficiencies but also talks forcefully about how to address deficiencies. And not talk about it one time a year but instead every single day. 

"Take mentorship, for example. Successful employees in an organization should take on mentorship of younger, less experienced employees of every stripe—and it has to be genuine, active mentorship. If we want to make progress with seeing new employees truly represent this organization well in the future, it’s going take mentoring them to ensure they have the tools, the experiences to become leaders in that organization. 

"If we don’t take that seriously, and if we are not aggressive about that, then 10 years from now, we will still be having the same discussions about diversity that we are having today. I think organizations should take a step away and truly look at what will make our organization better—and seeing mentorship as a personal way to invest in improving an organization. That’s something I encourage at all levels of leadership—in DSS, as well as other organizations—mentoring people and setting them up for success."

About the Author: Barbara Gleason serves as a Public Affairs Officer in Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

For more information:

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<![CDATA[Secretary's Remarks: On the Occasion of Estonia's National Day]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:22:45 CST Press Statement
Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 22, 2017


On behalf of President Trump and the American people, I congratulate the people of Estonia on the 99th anniversary of the founding of your republic.

Your achievements in advancing democratic values, good governance, and innovation attest to your strength and vision as a nation.

Estonia is a key NATO Ally and friend, and we look forward to working closely with Estonia as it assumes the EU presidency later this year. Our cooperation and our commitment to shared security, sovereignty, and a robust transatlantic community are unshakable. Together with our vibrant people-to-people ties they provide a strong foundation for our enduring partnership.

The United States stands with you and looks forward to expanding ties in the years to come.

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<![CDATA[Secretary's Remarks: Saint Lucia National Day Message]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:41:35 CST Press Statement
Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 22, 2017


On behalf of President Trump and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Saint Lucia on 38 years of independence.

We value Saint Lucia as our longtime partner and friend. Our bilateral relationship stands strong as we work together to spur economic development and keep our nations secure.

May peace and joy be plentiful in the years ahead for all Saint Lucians.

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<![CDATA[2017-02-22 1:19 am]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 01:19:43 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-22 12:30 am]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:30:13 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 11:18 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:18:16 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-21 9:17 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:17:51 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 8:29 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:29:56 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 7:19 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:19:05 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-21 6:30 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:30:47 CST <![CDATA[HEARING: #SubOversight to Examine Anti-Doping NEXT WEEK]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:16:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 5:18 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:18:32 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-21 4:31 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 16:31:02 CST <![CDATA[Vice President Pence Visits NATO Headquarters in Brussels]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 16:18:16 CST

On February 19, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence met with the North Atlantic Treary Organization's (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Belgium.

In remarks to the press following their meeting, the Vice President noted, “The United States has been a proud and faithful member of NATO since its founding in 1949. This alliance plays a crucial role in promoting peace and prosperity in the North Atlantic and, frankly, in the entire world.”

The Vice President underscored United States’ commitment to NATO as well as our common defense. “We're about the process of strengthening our military and restoring the arsenal of democracy. Working with members of Congress, we intend to increase military funding to make it possible for us to provide for the common defense for the people of the United States, but also meet the obligations that we have with our treaty allies, including in this historic treaty,” the Vice President stated.

Reflecting on the 2014 Wales Summit, during which all 28 members of the NATO alliance declared their intention to move towards a minimum security investment of two percent of their gross domestic product on defense within a decade, Vice President Pence made clear that President Trump and theUnited States expect our allies to keep their word and to do more in our common defense. The Vice President said, “America will do our part. But Europe’s defense requires Europe’s commitment as much as ours.” 

Noting that the rise of adversaries, both new and old, demands a strong response from NATO, Vice President Pence underscored, “the world needs NATO’s strength and leadership now more than ever before.” The Vice President continued to highlight a number of shared security challenges on which the United States and NATO must cooperate, includingthe situation in Ukraine and counterterrorism, among other issues.

The Vice President underscored that adapting to new and ever-shifting challenges must remain a central focus of our collaboration. Vice President Pence said, “We will work tirelessly with our NATO allies to ensure security in our countries and yours…Our alliance needs to intensify efforts to cut off terrorist funding and increase cyber capabilities. We must be as dominant in the digital world as we are in the physical world. And the United States is committed to continuing to work with our NATO allies to achieve that objective for the security of all the nations in our alliance.”

Looking to the future with optimism, the Vice President declared, “By building on tactics from the last century with these new century opportunities and challenges, NATO will be better prepared to confront and overcome the new adversaries of the 21st century.”

In conclusion, Vice President Pence said, “A strong NATO means a safer world. And the United States of America looks forward to continuing to work with our partners in NATO to achieve just that.”

For more information:

  • Read the full remarks by the Vice President and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg at a Joint Press Availability in Brussels.
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<![CDATA[Secretary's Remarks: Brunei Darussalam National Day]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 16:15:27 CST Press Statement
Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 21, 2017


On behalf of President Trump and the American people, I send my best wishes to the people of Brunei Darussalam as you celebrate your 33rd National Day this February 23rd.

As our administration charts its foreign policy priorities, we reaffirm our enduring interests and friendships with valued partners like Brunei Darussalam, and our commitment to Asia remains steadfast. We look forward to working with the people of Brunei Darussalam to enhance our shared economic, security, and people-to-people ties. The United States regards its longstanding bilateral relationship with Brunei Darussalam as a model of peaceful cooperation between our two countries.

I wish His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah and all the great people of Brunei the very best as you celebrate your country’s anniversary.




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<![CDATA[2017-02-21 3:18 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:18:54 CST <![CDATA[Letter to EPA Acting Administrator McCabe Requesting a 120-Day Extension to EPA's Proposed Rule]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:17:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 2:30 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:30:51 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-21 1:19 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:19:19 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 12:30 pm]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:30:34 CST <![CDATA[Committee Leaders Request a 120-Day Extension to EPA’s Proposed Rule ]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:42:00 CST

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<![CDATA[Bipartisan Group of House and Senate Committee Leaders: “Vaccines Save Lives”]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:29:00 CST <![CDATA[Bicameral Letter on Importance of Vaccines ]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:23:00 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 11:19 am]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:19:55 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-21 5:18 am]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 05:18:07 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 4:29 am]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 04:29:47 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 3:18 am]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 03:18:20 CST

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<![CDATA[2017-02-21 2:30 am]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 02:30:15 CST <![CDATA[2017-02-21 12:30 am]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:30:58 CST <![CDATA[Bipartisan Group of Senate and House Committee Leaders: "Vaccines Save Lives"]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 CST WASHINGTON, DC— A bipartisan group of Senate and House health committee leaders today sent colleagues a letter to highlight the importance of immunizations, saying: “Vaccines save lives.” 

“The introduction of vaccines was a turning point in our country’s public health history.  Vaccines led to the elimination of certain diseases, including polio and measles, from the United States,” write Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Gene Green (D-Texas).

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), before introduction of the polio vaccine in the United States, polio caused more than 16,000 cases of paralysis and nearly 2,000 deaths each year, on average.   Similarly, before the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, almost all children got measles by the age of 15, with up to 4 million Americans infected each year, according to the CDC.  Measles is a highly contagious, airborne virus that can cause serious respiratory illness and life-threatening complications in children, such as pneumonia, ear infections, and even lifelong brain damage or deafness.   In 2000, as a result of a vaccine, the CDC declared measles to be eliminated in the United States,” they wrote in the letter to each of their Senate and House colleagues.

The letter concludes: “Vaccines are our first line of defense against infectious diseases, many of which have no treatment or can be life-threatening. As medical research continues to advance, and scientists discover new medical breakthroughs and cutting-edge ways to treat disease and save lives, it is critical to recognize the importance of protecting public health against vaccine-preventable diseases. The science is clear: FDA-licensed vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and save the lives both of those who receive them and vulnerable individuals around them.  As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases.”

Read the full letter here.

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