Office of the Spokesman
“In the 21st century, statecraft cannot just be government-to-government. It has to be government-to-people, and most importantly, people-to-people. So we are always looking for opportunities to engage civil society, women, [and] youth.”
—Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
To mark the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs launched “Empowering Women & Girls through International Exchanges,” a year-long series of events bringing “100 Women” leaders from 92 countries to the United States. This effort features International Visitor Leadership Program exchanges that highlight key foreign policy issues directly affecting women and girls worldwide.
The 100 Women Initiative builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools – in this case international exchanges – to bring people together and foster greater understanding among people and cultures.
These 100 women hail from every region of the globe and are leaders in academia, business, civil society, government, law enforcement, media, and the private sector. They have displayed a long-term commitment to empowering members of their communities, including women and girls.
For three weeks, the 100 women will participate in a host of activities from meetings with senior leaders of the United States government to engaging with local community leaders who work on similar issues in small and large cities across the United States.
Through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the 100 women will travel to the following cities: Bozeman, Montana; Chicago, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Indianapolis, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Manchester, New Hampshire; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Raleigh, North Carolina; Sacramento, California; San Francisco, California; Tampa, Florida; and Washington, D.C.
Now in its 70th year, the IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program, connecting current and emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts through short-term programs to build mutual understanding on foreign policy issues.
Nearly 200,000 distinguished individuals have participated in the program, including more than 320 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, and thousands of leaders from the public and private sectors.
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In this speech to students and faculty at Georgetown University, Secretary Clinton set out the Obama Administration’s vision for human rights, democracy, and development, and described how they work together and with broader U.S. foreign policy. The address focused on four main components of the Administration’s human rights policy. First, the United States will encourage the development and enforcement of universal standards. To that end, the Secretary noted the steps the United States has taken to hold ourselves accountable, including prohibiting torture, reporting on human trafficking, and participating in the Universal Periodic Review. Second, the United States will be “pragmatic and agile” when promoting and protecting human rights, providing a tailored approach in bilateral and multilateral engagement. In addition, the United States will work with citizens and their communities to enact change. These activities include encouraging, supporting and protecting grassroots workers and other members of civil society, as well as using technology to reach out to individuals. Finally, the Secretary emphasized the broad focus that the Administration is taking regarding human rights. The U.S. government will advocate for human rights all over the world, including in places with repressive and authoritarian regimes. Read the full speech here.