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The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 3 women have experienced or will experience gender-based violence (GBV) during their lifetimes.
A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 38% of women have personally experienced online violence and 85% of women know someone who has been targeted for online violence.
GBV prevention and response is central to the U.S. government’s commitment to advancing human rights and gender equality around the world, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Geeta Rao Gupta said at the Women Deliver Conference in Kigali in July.
“Gender-based violence is not just holding women and girls back, with severe consequences for their health and well-being, and economic prospects,” Rao Gupta said, noting that GBV occurs in every country and level of society. “It is holding our global economy back, and it is holding our society back.”
According to the United Nations, gender-based violence includes sexual, physical, mental and economic harm inflicted in public or in private. It can also include coercion, manipulation and threats of violence.
Intimate partner violence; child, early and forced marriage; female genital mutilation or cutting; sex trafficking; female infanticide; and “honor” killings are all forms of gender-based violence.
The WHO reported in March 2021 that incidents of intimate partner violence are highest in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, though this form of GBV remains persistently high across all regions of the world.
“Individuals who face overlapping forms of discrimination are at an increased risk of experiencing GBV, so we really try to take an intersectional approach to our work,” Katrina Fotovat, principal deputy director in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, tells ShareAmerica. “For example, women with disabilities are four times more likely than other women to experience sexual violence.”
In addition to updating the United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, the State Department works with government agencies and the private sector to implement a survivor-centered approach to GBV, which includes:
The State Department also supports efforts to educate community leaders to be advocates for eliminating gender-based violence.
“An essential part of both our foreign policy and assistance efforts is to address the structural inequities and social norms,” Fotovat says. “Our approach includes engaging men and boys in both short- and longer-term prevention efforts, and equipping youth to become advocates in their communities to challenge harmful gender norms and create a more just and peaceful society.”
And as a part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence — an annual international campaign to educate about GBV — the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues encourages everyone to be a gender champion in daily life and research local organizations to support.
“We need people from all backgrounds and all communities to stand up for gender equality,” Fotovat said. “GBV really is a human rights issue that affects all of us.”
A version of this story was originally published November 21, 2022.
In 1913, Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American to earn a medical degree, opened a hospital on the Omaha Reservation. For years, she had traveled the northeastern Nebraska reservation and its surroundings, treating patients, both Native American and white.
She braved bad weather and often worked 20 hours a day. “My office hours are any and all hours of the day and night,” La Flesche Picotte once said.
The hospital, the first on Native American land that was not funded by the federal government, was a testament to her dedication as a health-care provider to her people and to those in surrounding communities.
Born on the Omaha Reservation in 1865, La Flesche Picotte chose to become a doctor after witnessing a sick Native American woman die after a white doctor refused to come to her aid.
She was admitted to the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, one of the few medical schools in the United States or elsewhere at that time that accepted women.
La Flesche Picotte graduated in 1889, a year early and first in her class, according to the U.S. National Park Service. At 24, she returned to the Omaha Reservation and served as the sole medical provider for its residents. She also worked to address public health crises affecting Native Americans, including tuberculosis and alcoholism.
“I shall always fight good and hard, even if I have to fight alone,” she said. La Flesche Picotte died in 1915. The hospital she founded is now a museum named in her honor.
The United States is mourning the death of former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who died November 19 at 96. The wife of the 39th U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn was first lady from 1977 to 1981 and championed causes including mental health research and equal rights.
“Rosalynn Carter exemplified hope, warmth, and a steadfast commitment to doing all she could to address many of our society’s greatest needs,” President Biden said.
Flags at U.S. government facilities will fly at half-staff in her honor from November 25 until sunset November 29, the day of her burial. Here are images from the life of this extraordinary American.
Rosalynn Carter visits a boarding school in New Delhi January 2, 1978.
From left, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, President Jimmy Carter, Margaret Trudeau and Rosalynn Carter at the White House in Washington February 21, 1977.
Rosalynn Carter testifies before the U.S. Congress February 7, 1979, on the need to improve mental health care. She was the second first lady to testify before Congress, after Eleanor Roosevelt.
Rosalynn Carter (right) and President Jimmy Carter meet with Mexican President José López Portillo and his wife, Carmen Romano de López Portillo, February 14, 1979.
Former President Carter and Rosalynn Carter were decadeslong supporters of Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that builds safe, affordable housing in more than 70 countries. Above, the two work on a Habitat project in Memphis, Tennessee, November 2, 2015.
Keith Harper has always believed his Native American heritage helped him better represent the United States abroad.
“The extraordinary advantage we have in the United States is our diversity,” Harper told the audience at a November 15 event held at the U.S. Department of State’s National Museum of American Diplomacy in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Harper served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council from 2014 to 2017. Harper was part of a U.S. delegation to the U.N. that also included ambassadors of African and Asian descent. “No other country had this kind of representation in Geneva,” he said.
Harper said that while the United States has considerable capabilities to promote human rights and sustainable development around the world, it should wield its influence with humility and fairness. “Being a Native American gives you a certain set of tools, as a diplomat representing the world’s sole superpower,” he added.
During his tenure, the diversity of the U.S. delegation often served as an icebreaker with other nations’ diplomats, Harper said, noting some had never met an American Indian. At the U.N., where progress often happens slowly, connections that spark communication can lead to compromise.
“We’re always working to build up alliances,” Harper said. “And the more you can make an intimate, one-on-one connection with someone — of whatever heritage, for whatever reason — the easier it will be to find common ground and advance towards your goals.”
“Diplomacy is about relationships,” he added. “We’re all just human beings; you represent your country, and I represent mine. We won’t agree on everything, but let’s work to get some things done.”
Ensuring the U.S. government reflects America’s diversity is a continuing priority. After taking office in January 2021, President Biden assembled nearly 1,500 people from previously underrepresented minority groups to serve in high-level positions in the executive branch.
While waiting for the turkey roasting in the oven for their Thanksgiving dinner, many Americans watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television or the internet. And millions forgo the comfort of their homes to get in on the excitement by lining the parade route along New York City streets.
Tom Turkey (in the photo above) is the parade’s most famous float and always opens the event, sponsored by Macy’s department store. Here’s a brief history of the parade in pictures:
The first parade was held in 1924, and in the early years it featured live animals from Central Park Zoo. In 1927, officials substituted large helium balloons in the shapes of animals, a change that must have made things a little bit easier.
Today, the parade attracts 3.5 million people along the 4-kilometer route and millions more who watch the spectacle unfold on screens. A menagerie of floats, soaring helium balloons, clowns, marching bands, performers and celebrities roll, float or step down the city streets.
Above, handlers guide Andy the Alligator along the New York parade route in 1933.
Parade floats in the early years mirrored Macy’s Christmas window displays of popular nursery rhymes, such as Little Miss Muffet, shown at left. In 1934, Walt Disney and Tony Sarg, a German American puppeteer and the parade’s creative director, helped Mickey Mouse make a grand debut as one of the parade’s inflatable balloons. Twenty-five handlers — dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, of course — escorted the 12-meter balloon during the parade.
Store officials originally decided to hold the parade to draw shoppers to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street. Macy’s employees, many of whom were first-generation European immigrants, suggested it, recalling the festivals they knew and loved in Europe. During the first parade in 1924, the store’s workers participated as clowns, cowboys, knights and other characters.
Clowns, like this one from the 1949 parade, have always engaged with the audience, adding to the excitement for spectators.
Members of the all-women precision dance company The Radio City Rockettes have performed in the parade since 1957. Over the years, the New York-based dancers have also kicked up their heels for soldiers abroad during wartime and at presidential inaugurations. Here they perform a dance routine in the 2014 parade.
High school and college marching bands from across the United States perform at the parade. Every year, the Macy’s Band Selection Committee decides which bands get to perform. The application package includes video footage of the band in action at a halftime show or competitive event. This year, the parade will feature nine high school and college marching bands.
Here, the West Virginia University Marching Band walks along Sixth Avenue during the 2016 parade.
Floats and giant balloons — including Grogu, popularly known as Baby Yoda, a character from The Mandalorian television series, and Peanuts comics’ Snoopy, the parade’s longest-running giant character balloon — head down Central Park West in 2021.
The parade has been held every year on Thanksgiving Day except for three years during World War II, when the U.S. military needed helium (used in large balloon figures floated above the parade) and rubber (used in tires on parade vehicles) for the war effort. In 2020 the parade took place but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, without spectators along the route.
The parade regularly features famous performers, from the 96-year-old singer Tony Bennett to the 26-year-old actress/singer Zendaya. Above, in 2021, as the parade participants once again were able to interact with viewers along the route, Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician Jon Batiste waves from a float that honors the state of Louisiana.
Macy’s has hired Santa actors to welcome children to its flagship store since the 1860s. And Macy’s even looms large in Miracle on 34th Street, the 1947 film about a girl who finds the real Santa Claus — known as Kris Kringle — working in the store.
In the early years, the parade was called the Macy’s Christmas Parade. And while more emphasis has been put on Thanksgiving Day in recent years, tradition still dictates that Santa Claus closes the parade to usher in the holiday season. Many children know to watch the entire parade to get a glimpse of Santa, and the New York crowd gives Santa rounds of hearty applause.
A version of this story was originally published on November 17, 2022.
For Jeneba Ghatt, jollof rice, a traditional dish from Sierra Leone, is such a big part of her family’s Thanksgiving that the holiday tradition isn’t the same without it.
When Ghatt’s mother was ill last year and unable to cook the rice dish prepared with tomato sauce and served under a stew of beef, chicken or fish, the holiday felt incomplete.
It was like “we failed at Thanksgiving because there was no jollof rice,” says Ghatt, who came to the United States from Sierra Leone as a young child and now lives in the Maryland suburbs of Washington.
Ghatt has now learned to cook jollof rice and will serve the dish alongside a Thanksgiving turkey when her husband, children and three siblings celebrate this year. “It’s home, it’s comfort, it’s family,” she said, describing jollof rice’s place on her Thanksgiving table.
Ghatt is one of many Americans who incorporate recipes from their ancestral homes into Thanksgiving. Some Chinese American families add sticky rice stuffing to their Thanksgiving meal, while some Mexican Americans serve up tamales.
Nataliya Mikhnova brings Ukrainian borsch, a beet soup, to Thanksgiving meals. Her family received two invites last year to their first Thanksgiving after settling in the United States following Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.
Mikhnova says she loves the mix of cultures that was a part of her first Thanksgiving in a new country. Her family arrived in Ukrainian dress and learned how to cook traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
“It’s a warm family holiday,” Mikhnova said. “This celebration is appropriate for us now because we have so many things to be thankful for. We are in safety.”
Rosemarie DeLuca’s Italian heritage has long been at the center of her family’s Thanksgiving meals. Her father refused poultry after eating raw chicken while stationed overseas with the Army in the 1950s, so the family’s “turkey day” became synonymous with homemade lasagna.
Cooking from memory a recipe from the family’s ancestral home in Naples, Italy, DeLuca’s grandmother piled on luscious layers of cheese and pasta for lasagna served with sausage links and meatballs steeped in a homemade sauce.
DeLuca’s mother eventually learned the recipe. Yet DeLuca says because of gluten sensitivities in the family, lasagna is now reserved for those big Thanksgiving celebrations when her siblings visit. But growing up DeLuca never missed the turkey dinners other families ate on Thanksgiving. “We thought ‘we are the cool ones’,” she said. “We’re Italian. We eat pasta.”
Lucas Smith remembers when he realized how lucky he was to research space objects at the University of Arizona’s Planetary Laboratory in Tucson.
The doctoral candidate was studying a sample from a meteorite — part of an asteroid that has fallen to Earth — when an adviser walked in and said: “I’ve got a big old box of moon rocks here,” Smith told ShareAmerica. After 50 years of safekeeping, NASA had allocated samples from its Apollo missions — the first to land people on the moon — to universities for research.
Now Smith and other researchers are receiving more samples that he says could be a game-changer for scientists’ understanding of our solar system.
On September 24, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission delivered to Earth a sample from the asteroid Bennu. A NASA spacecraft’s robotic arm collected the sample in October 2020 when the asteroid was 321 million kilometers from Earth.
OSIRIS-REx Mission Implementation Systems Engineer Anjani Polit says the asteroid samples could provide researchers insight into not only the 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid but also the beginnings of our planet.
“Asteroids like Bennu are time capsules of the early solar system,” she told ShareAmerica. They “could have delivered water and organic molecules to the early Earth, which were potential ingredients for life. There’s so much to be learned from this asteroid sample.”
NASA has distributed dust samples from the exterior of the capsule that delivered the Bennu samples to Earth and will send additional samples in the future. U.S. universities receiving samples include Boston College, Brown University, the California Institute of Technology, Purdue, Rowan University and the University of Virginia.
NASA will also send samples to museums and partners in Canada and Japan. Much of the Bennu material will be preserved for future generations.
NASA’s distributions continue its long-standing support for research. Every year, NASA distributes 400 lunar samples to universities in the United States and abroad. Harold Connolly Jr., a professor with the School of Earth & Environment at Rowan University in New Jersey, says sharing samples with researchers of various backgrounds is vital for advancing science.
“The [NASA] mission has always been committed to training the next generation of scientists,” says Connolly, who is helping organize distribution of the Bennu samples.
Smith says meteorites and asteroids contain presolar grains that can give scientists clues about the formation of stars — like our sun. While meteorites may be contaminated as they fall to Earth, Smith says that the Bennu samples were retrieved from space, which means they could provide well-preserved specimens of presolar grains.
He’s already studied the exterior OSIRIS-REx capsule and says additional samples arriving in the coming months will provide even greater research opportunities.
“What fascinates me about them so much is they kind of string together everything,” Smith says. “They reach further back in time than directly studying a planet” itself.
During International Education Week (November 13–17) and year-round, the United States celebrates its tradition of promoting understanding between Americans and citizens of other countries through people-to-people exchanges.
In 1940, the U.S. Department of State launched its first international exchange by inviting 130 Latin American journalists to visit U.S. newsrooms.
That first exchange led to the establishment, in 1946, of the Fulbright Program, which awards 8,000 fellowships annually to qualified applicants from the U.S. and elsewhere.
In 1961, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs was launched to oversee all of the U.S. government’s academic, cultural, sports and professional exchange programs. Since then, exchanges have served 1.7 million students, researchers, educators and scholars who live all over the world. They include:
Today, 30 ambassadors to the United States are alumni of U.S. exchange programs. And four heads of government are exchange alumni.
Rishi Sunak, who became prime minister of the United Kingdom in October 2022, received a Fulbright Foreign Student award to support his pursuit of an MBA degree at the Stanford School of Business in 2005. Studying business in California’s Silicon Valley broadened his mindset about what is possible, Sunak said.
North Macedonia’s President Stevo Pendarovski took part in an International Visitor Leadership Program in 2003, while Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema and Slovakia’s President Zuzana Čaputová both are alumni of the 2010 International Visitor Leadership Program.
Learn more about U.S. exchange programs and how to apply as a U.S. citizen or non–U.S. citizen.
A version of this article was originally published November 10, 2022.
When Son Nguyen lived in the United States, he saw rapidly advancing electric vehicle technology and heard stories from back in Vietnam about air pollution.
So after returning home he launched Dat Bike in 2019. The company sells electric motorbikes in Danang, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and is exploring reuse of electric batteries and how to power its factory with green energy.
Electric vehicles are “the most direct and efficient solution to improving the air quality in Vietnam, and in other countries in Southeast Asia,” Nguyen told Vietnam Investment Review in 2022.
Over the last two decades, energy demand in southeast Asia increased by an average of 3% annually, according to the International Energy Agency’s Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2022.
Dat Bike is one of numerous partners the U.S. government works with to meet this rapidly growing demand for clean energy. The U.S. also works with electric vehicle manufacturers VinBus and VinFast, as well as Vietnam’s largest electric utility, to support the country’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Vietnam Urban Energy Security project, helping Vietnam deploy electric vehicles, is one of the numerous U.S. government partnerships that are mobilizing billions of dollars to meet growing demand for clean energy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states.
Launched in December 2021, the USAID Southeast Asia Smart Power Program (SPP) aims to mobilize $2 billion for clean energy projects across the region. In June, SPP issued a $3 million grant to the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) to increase renewable energy in the region’s power systems.
“Together, we will strive to increase clean and reliable power, reduce inefficiencies, enhance air quality, and advance climate mitigation efforts,” ACE Executive Director Nuki Agya Utama said in June, calling the partnership “pivotal in achieving our regional targets by 2025.”
Here are several of the many partnerships advancing clean energy in Southeast Asia:
Since 2016, the U.S. government has worked with Lower Mekong countries and other ASEAN member states to encourage renewable energy investments. The cooperation has resulted in the installation of 10,000 megawatts of new energy capacity, enough to power nearly 8 million homes.
USAID’s Mekong Sustainable Manufacturing Alliance helped textile manufacturers in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam continue to meet production goals while using less energy. In Cambodia and Vietnam, the alliance supported installation of solar rooftop systems projected to avoid or reduce 68,000 tons of emissions from the apparel manufacturing sector over the next 15 years.
A U.S. grant announced in May will support a PT Medco Power Indonesia study needed to develop a wind power plant on Indonesia’s island of Sumbawa. The project advances the Indonesian-led Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) with the U.S., Japan and other partners. JETP is mobilizing $20 billion to accelerate Indonesia’s sustainable economic development.
Since 2015, USAID support for new renewable energy generation capacity in Indonesia has brought clean energy to more than 3.3 million people. USAID also mobilized $1.62 billion in private and public sector clean energy investments expected to improve energy access for over 5.3 million Indonesians.
The United States also supports completion of the Rantau Dedap geothermal power project and the Bayang Nyalo hydropower project, both on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra. At Rantau Dedap alone, the renewable energy plant improves electricity access for more than 1.2 million people.
In June, USAID announced over $1.16 million to support installation of solar roofing, nanogenerators and other renewable energy technologies in the Philippines. Improved energy access will help remote communities in Cagayan and Isabela prepare for and recover from natural disasters, USAID says.
The grants are part of USAID’s Energy Secure Philippines project, launched in 2021. In 2022, the program supported the Philippines’ first renewable energy auctions to secure projects to meet growing clean energy demand. The Philippine Department of Energy awarded 18 contracts for solar, wind, biomass and hydropower energy, equal to nearly 7% of the country’s energy capacity.
“Energy is the foundation for systems such as banking, telecommunications, digital platforms, health, education, and transport, among other services,” USAID Assistant Administrator Michael Schiffer said June 20. “We look forward to partnering with the Philippines to provide greater access to sustainable energy in remote communities, increasing prosperity for families across the country.”
By U.S. Embassy Dhaka | 28 November, 2018 | Topics: