Deputy Secretary Steinberg meets with Preside Uribe and signs Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality
Deputy Secretary James B. Steinberg met today with President Uribe at Ubérrimo Ranch. They had a very productive meeting, during which they discussed the current state of their bilateral relationship and how they envision the relationship developing in the future. Thereafter, Deputy Steinberg signed an Actional Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality with Foreign Minister Jaime Bermúdez.
Recognizing that ethnic and racial diversity has been a crucial element in the development of democratic and multicultural societies, the United States Government and Colombian Government developed the Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality. This plan seeks to eliminate forms of racial and ethnic discrimination in both societies. It focuses on sharing best practices and implementing cultural programming to address racial discrimination and related issues affecting under-represented racial and ethnic minority communities, particularly Afro-Colombians. The plan establishes a joint Steering Committee which will discuss a variety of important subjects, including: Education, Culture, Housing, Health, Employment and Labor, and Anti-discrimination legislation.
The Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality builds on the work of the 2007 Intersectorial Comission for the Advancement of the Afro-Colombian, Palenquera and Raizal People, as well as the numerous programs funded by U.S. Embassy Bogotá targeting Afro-Colombian and Indigenous populations. Most notably, since 2008, USAID has allocated $15 million for the Productive Ethnic Territories (TEP) program to create income and employment generating activities. The U.S. government also funds several exchange and scholarship programs in Colombia, including Martin Luther King Fellows, College Horizons, and the Fulbright Leadership Program.
During the rest of Steinberg’s visit, he will meet with Colombian government officials, civil society and human rights groups, and representatives of the private sector to determine how the bilateral relationship can be strengthened and to ensure that prosperity is broadly shared among both Colombian and U.S. citizens.