U.S. Department of State Launches Partnership with Google in Indonesia and Vietnam, Pilots Media Literacy and Google Startup Academy Programs at American Spaces

3 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and Google announced today a new partnership to support education, training, and upskilling in Southeast Asia, with pilot projects in Indonesia and Vietnam getting underway in the coming days. This public-private partnership, which was initially announced by the White House at the recent U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, underscores the continued emphasis on the valuable role the U.S. private sector plays in international diplomacy and media literacy, as well as the United States’ ongoing commitment to Southeast Asian nations.

From October 3-7, 2022, at the American Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Google’s Startup Academy will host entrepreneurs in technology for a four-day bootcamp-style curriculum that supports early-stage technology startups in addressing local challenges, such as building a business, accessing capital, and more. American Spaces are open-access learning and gathering places around the world that promote interaction with local communities and the United States.

Additionally, on October 7, 2022, with support of Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, the ASEAN Foundation and its local partners will launch an initiative focused on youth engagement and media literacy at @America in Jakarta, Indonesia, one of the 12 American Spaces in Indonesia. The initiative will educate locally underserved communities, especially young leaders, on media literacy, how to combat online misinformation, and navigate the internet. The goal is to equip more than 1,000 trainers with new skills and materials, enabling them to provide training for more than 100,000 people of all ages and internet experience levels over the next two years.

For more information on public-private partnerships with ECA, please contact the Public-Private Partnership Unit at ECApartnerships@state.gov.  Follow @atamerica, American Spaces on Twitter and Educational and Cultural Affairs on social media for updates and highlights of the programs.

Iraq National Day

3 Oct

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I offer Prime Minister Kadhimi and the Iraqi people congratulations on their National Day, October 3.

This is a day to reflect on and be proud of Iraq’s achievements and the perseverance of its people. For 90 years, Iraq has endeavored through adversity to foster a more inclusive and equitable society for its citizens and for future generations of Iraqis.

The United States remains firmly committed to its strategic partnership with Iraq and to deepening and strengthening our relations under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement. I look forward to continuing our work together on our shared priorities and enhancing the bond between our peoples.

I wish the people of Iraq best wishes and prosperity in the coming year.

New U.S. APEC Business Advisory Council Member Appointment

3 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The United States welcomes the appointment of Ginger Lew, CEO, Three Oaks Investments LLC, to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

Ms. Lew and her ABAC counterparts from the other APEC economies will advise APEC Leaders on issues affecting the continued growth of the region’s economy. In this role, Ms. Lew will provide recommendations reflecting the perspective of U.S. stakeholders. ABAC, created in 1995, consists of up to three business representatives from each APEC economy and is a key component of APEC’s multi-stakeholder approach to trade and economic policies. ABAC meets throughout the year to discuss policy recommendations, undertakes activities to promote trade and investment, as well as sustainable and inclusive growth, and reports annually to APEC Leaders.

Ms. Lew is a senior policy advisor to I Squared Capital, a $34 billion global infrastructure fund based in Miami, Florida. Ms. Lew is also an entrepreneur and was one of the co-founders and Managing Director of Cube Hydro Partners, a U.S. clean energy company based in Bethesda, Maryland. She guided the company through an expansive acquisition period and led critical regulatory and financial negotiations throughout the life cycle of the company. In October 2019, Cube Hydro was sold to Eagle Creek Renewable Energy.  She is currently CEO of Three Oaks Investments, which provides consulting services to U.S. and international companies.

Previously, Ms. Lew held a number of roles in the United States government, including most recently as the White House National Economic Council Senior Counselor, where she led work on small business, financial and procurement reform policies, innovation, and commercialization policies. Ms. Lew has also served as Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer at the U.S. Small Business Administration, General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Ms. Lew has also served on numerous corporate and not for profit boards including the Meyer Foundation, the Smithsonian Institute, Asian Americans for Advancing Justice, and the East West Center. Ms. Lew served on the NASDAQ Listing and Hearing Review Council for ten years as a member and Co-Chair. She is the Co-Founder of the Association of Asian American Investment Managers, a trade organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in the investment industry.

For more than 30 years, APEC has served as the premier economic platform for the United States to engage our regional partners on structural issues to advance an economic and trade architecture that opens markets, promotes high standards, and promotes sustainable and inclusive growth.

For further information, please contact the U.S. APEC Team at DOSAPEC@state.gov.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Kenyan President Ruto

3 Oct

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Kenya President William Ruto today to express appreciation for Kenya’s support for the UN Security Council resolution denouncing Russia’s sham referenda in Ukraine and Kenya’s commitment to upholding international law. The Secretary discussed with President Ruto ongoing U.S. efforts to address the fertilizer crisis.

MAGA Hot Mic: U.S. Senator of Florida Rick Scott

3 Oct

Today’s MAGA Hot Mic moment comes from none other than U.S. Senator of Florida Rick Scott. 

With 36 days until the 2022 midterm elections, Rick Scott, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee – the entity responsible for electing GOP senators – is defending Republicans’ plans for a national abortion ban.

NBC News: “Scott was asked on NBC News’ ‘Meet the Press’ to weigh in on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy and whether he believes such restrictions should be done on the federal level. ‘Look, there’s arguments to do it at the federal level,’ he said.”

It didn’t stop there. To defend his abortion extremism, Scott said a ban at the federal level is “reasonable.”

Rick Scott: “I’m pro-life, as you know. I think we ought to have reasonable restrictions.”

NBC News: “Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign fundraising arm, said Sunday that he supports ‘reasonable’ abortion restrictions and that ‘there’s arguments to do it at the federal level.’”

Let’s be clear: extreme Republican lawmakers making health care decisions for Americans will NEVER be reasonable. It’s not just Lindsey Graham pushing for restrictions on reproductive health – abortion extremism is the GOP party line. Women, and the freedom to choose, are simply pawns in the GOP’s attempt to cling to power, and it’s critical Americans know this is what is at stake come November. Americans cannot afford Rick Scott and the GOP’s dangerous, anti-choice agenda.

The post MAGA Hot Mic: U.S. Senator of Florida Rick Scott appeared first on Democrats.

Designation of Two Individuals and One Entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina

3 Oct

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States is designating Fadil Novalic, Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH); Slobodan Stankovic, a businessman with close ties to Milorad Dodik, a Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) official previously designated for corruption and obstructing the Dayton Peace Agreement; and Stankovic’s business entity, Integral Inzenjering A.D. Laktasi (Integral).

Under Dodik’s leadership, the ruling coalition in BiH’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity is seeking to create parallel structures that undermine state-level institutions, while ethno-nationalist parties in the FBiH are crippling the country’s democratic processes and abusing positions of power to derive improper financial and political benefit.

Novalic is being designated for undermining democratic processes or institutions in BiH.  As Prime Minister of the FBiH, where the issue of pensions has strong political salience, he misused pensioner data contrary to BiH law for the benefit of his own political party.  This action is just one of many publicly reported activities in which he used his position for personal or party gain and undermined democratic processes and political institutions essential to BiH’s chosen future within the Euro-Atlantic community.

Stankovic is being designated for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Dodik.  Stankovic has long supported Dodik’s destabilizing activities.  Stankovic’s firm Integral receives major construction projects in the RS without fair and open competition due to its close connections to RS leadership.  In return, Stankovic provided support to Dodik’s propaganda machine by transforming the formerly independent media outlet, Alternativna Televizija, into a mouthpiece for Dodik and his destabilizing and divisive activities. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Alternativna Televizija for these activities in January 2022.  Integral is being designated for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Stankovic.

The United States’ Western Balkans sanctions program targets individuals and entities that, among other criteria, undermine or threaten the postwar agreements and institutions established as part of the hard-won peace and the Dayton Peace Agreement. Today’s actions, which come on the heels of the September 26 designation of corrupt state prosecutor Diana Kajmakovic, demonstrate that we will continue to promote accountability for activities that undermine BiH’s democratic processes and institutions, as well as for complicity in or provision of material support for such activities.  This is the fifth sanctions action OFAC has taken pursuant to E.O. 14033.

For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release.