By: Jody Daniel, Director of the Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Bureau’s Office of Verification, Planning, and Outreach (AVC/VPO) and Zvika Krieger, the U.S. Department of State’s Representative to Silicon Valley and Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation.

This past April, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and then Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller convened technologists, entrepreneurs, coders, scientists, and hackers from across Silicon Valley to brainstorm on new approaches to detecting and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The objective of this day-long workshop, “The Hunt for WMDs: Leveraging New Technology,” was to foster collaboration…

By: Stuart E. Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

The United States is committed to helping our Iraqi partners defeat ISIL in an effective and sustainable way, particularly as Iraq works to stabilize and restore cities and critical infrastructure liberated from the terrorist group’s control. In addition to the fight for Mosul itself, we’ve been pleased to answer Iraq’s request for international help to prevent the failure of the Mosul Dam. U.S. and Iraqi scientists estimate that a breach of the Mosul Dam, one of the largest…

By: Sheba Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

A placard for the United States’ delegation sits atop a table, as Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the UN General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York. [State Department photo]

On January 1, António Guterres of Portugal began his five-year term as UN Secretary-General, replacing Ban Ki-moon. If you followed the Secretary-General race or Guterres’ previous tenures as Prime Minister of Portugal and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, you know that UN member states picked a superbly qualified leader for the Secretary-General position — a job that comes with the potential to spearhead global efforts to address major international challenges and, if seized, is an unmatched position of moral authority.

Guterres has assumed leadership…

By: Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration .

Secretary of State John Kerry was joined by Angelina Jolie and Assistant Secretary Anne C. Richard to commemorate World Refugee Day on June 20, 2016. [State Department photo]

As the Obama Administration draws to a close, I write to share reflections on the work of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

During the last eight years, the number of refugees in the world has climbed to levels not seen since World War II. Some flee because they’ve been targeted for persecution; many flee devastating conflicts. In response, using funds provided by Congress, PRM has nearly doubled contributions to life-saving aid operations in crisis zones. We have worked closely with…

By: David Saperstein serves as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State.

Ambassador Saperstein meeting with Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh December 2016. [State Department photo]

Since 1993, successive U.S. Presidents have proclaimed January 16 as National Religious Freedom Day. Religious freedom involves the right of every person to follow the dictates of one’s conscience; to believe or not to believe; speak about one’s beliefs; teach one’s beliefs to one’s children; and manifest one’s beliefs through activities such as gathering for worship or building houses of worship. It is a concept grounded in respect for the rights and beliefs of others and deeply connected to our DNA as Americans.


Quote from Martin Luther King Jr. National Monument in Washington, DC. [State Department Photo]

By: Donald Y. Yamamoto, Senior Foreign Service officer and Senior Vice-President at the National Defense University.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day we are reminded of the valuable work that has been done over the last few decades to advance civil rights for all American citizens and the importance of service. Both these ideals have had a lasting impact on my career as diversity in diplomacy has become increasingly important to the work of the U.S. Department of State. In 1980 when I joined the foreign service I was the only Asian-American in a class almost 40 new…

By: Dennis F. Hadrick, Program Manager, and Michael Tirre, Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow, both in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) with the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

In Shona, the primary language of Zimbabwe, chimbambaira once innocently meant “small sweet potato,” until becoming a slang term for landmines that continue to kill and injure people going about their daily lives. We recently traveled to Burma Valley in Zimbabwe to see firsthand how U.S. efforts to help Zimbabwe safely clear landmines and unexploded munitions make a life-changing difference for area residents.

The once-thriving farms of Burma Valley…

By: Michael R. Ortiz, Deputy Coordinator of Countering Violent Extremism in the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism at the U.S. Department of State.

A man uses a computer at a computer shop in central London. [AP Photo]

Over the last several months, I traveled to Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Silicon Valley to discuss our efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism (CVE) with government officials, civil society, and the private sector. We discussed issues such as enhancing our collective understanding of the drivers of violent extremism (yes, they’re different in each neighborhood), developing new tools, and effectively organizing governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector to take on this…

By: Mari Carmen Aponte, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte speaks with children in San Salvador. [U.S. Embassy San Salvador Photo]


One of the time-honored traditions of our great democracy is the peaceful transition of power. As I reflect on my tenure as Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, I am proud to be handing over a legacy of increased cooperation, integration, and friendship with our partners throughout the Americas.

I was named the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs on May 5, 2016. Some may say that eight months is a relatively…

By: Susan Coppedge, Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State.

January 11 is National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness. The United States Congress designated this day in 2007 with the aim of raising awareness and encouraging people to take action to combat human trafficking. January is also National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, as proclaimed by President Obama. Congress and the Obama Administration have demonstrated bipartisan support and commitment to amplify the importance of combating human trafficking in all its forms.

Human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, is a crime involving…

State Dept 2015–2017

The U.S. Department of State’s official 2015 to 2017 presence on Medium archived.

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