American Society & Values
American Society & Values
- American Civil War
- Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson & Rosa Parks (Civil Rights movement)
- The Constitution of the United States of America
- Cultural Sites Tell America’s Story
- Milestones in U.S. Women's History
- National Park Service (NPS)
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Presidential Inauguration
- Overview of U.S. Holidays
- U.S. Elections
- Winston Churchill Honoured at U.S. Capitol
- Women's History Month
American Society & Values News
24 June 2014 Louisiana’s Historic Earthworks Designated World Heritage Site The prehistoric Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, a State Historic Site and National Monument in Louisiana, is now recognized as one of the world’s most treasured cultural and historic sites.
22 June 2014 Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, Louisiana Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site (via U.S. Mission to UNESCSO) On Sunday, 22 June 2014, the Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, Louisiana, became the 22nd U.S. site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Poverty Point is an extraordinary prehistoric earthwork complex located in Louisiana’s Lower Mississippi Valley. It was part of a trading network 3,000 years ago that stretched hundreds of miles across the North American continent.
24 May 2014 State Department on Facilitating Travel, Tourism to United States The White House released a progress report detailing the Administration’s achievements in implementing the President’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy. The Department continues to meet and exceed the President’s goals to attract and welcome more international visitors.
23 May 2014 U.S. Acts to Improve Welcome for International Visitors (IIPDigital) "First impressions really matter. When travelers arrive at our international ports of entry, whether by land, air, or sea, it is important that they have a positive experience. The safety and security of this country will always come first, but we can and must also ensure that the travel experience continues to be welcoming, friendly, and efficient."
19 May 2014 eJournal USA: Fourth of July – Everyone's Invited (via IIPDigital) This issue of eJ-USA covers acid oceans, super lunches, finding refuge, summer camps and that quintessential of U.S. holidays, July 4th
24 April 2014 19th-Century Shipwreck Found Near San Francisco — Again The underwater wreck of the passenger steamer City of Chester, which sank in 1888 in a collision in dense fog near where San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge now stands, has been rediscovered.
07 March 204 International Visitors Break U.S. Tourism Record International visitors welcomed to the United States in 2013 gave a record-breaking boost to U.S. travel and tourism, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced. International visitors spent $180.7 billion on U.S. travel and tourism–related goods and services in 2013, an increase of more than 9 percent from the record set in 2012.
01 March 2014 Women's History, Accomplishments Celebrated Every March National Women’s History Month’s roots go back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women’s Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1981 that Congress established National Women’s History Week during the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women’s History Month, and the president has issued a proclamation.
28 February 2014 U.S. Guide Discusses Gender in Criminal Justice System As part of the U.S. effort to promote effective participation of women in criminal justice systems around the world, the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs recently released a 26-page “Guide to Gender in the Criminal Justice System.” The guide focuses on programming that encourages the participation of women in the police, justice and corrections sectors in a way that promotes and safeguards their rights.
17 February 2014 Athlete of the Day - Cross-Country Skier Kikkan Randall Today’s athlete of the day is cross country skier Kikkan Randall of Anchorage, Alaska. Sochi marks her fourth appearance as a competitor in the Olympic Games. She’s one of the most accomplished American women in the history of her sport.
12 February 2014 Athlete of the Day - Skater Eddy Alvarez "Today’s athlete of the day is a short-track speed skater, Eddy Alvarez, affectionately known as Eddy the Jet."
10 February 2014 Athlete of the Day - Evan Lysacek, Sports Envoy "So today’s athlete is Evan Lysacek. Evan’s a two-time Olympian and the reigning gold medalist in men’s figure skating. Originally from Chicago, he’s a former world champion, two-time national champion, and was the 2012 James E. Sullivan Award winner as the United States amateur athlete of the year. "
04 February 2014 Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History One of the most inspiring and instructive stories in black history is the story of how Carter G. Woodson, the father of black history, saved himself for the history he saved and transformed. The skeletal facts of his personal struggle for light and of his rise from the coal mines of West Virginia to the summit of academic achievement are eloquent in and of themselves and can be briefly stated.
26 January 2014 Solder Trio Nominated to U.S. Olympic Luge Team Three U.S. Army soldiers earned nominations for the U.S. Olympic Luge Team for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
23 January 204 U.S. Figure Skater Edmunds at Home on the Ice In February, most students at San Jose, California’s Archbishop Mitty High School will be focused on homework and midterm tests. Sophomore Polina Edmunds’ thoughts may be elsewhere, because from February 19 to 20, the figure skater will take center stage in the Iceberg Skating Palace representing Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
26 December 2013 For U.S. Congress, "Recess" Is Anything But Vacation U.S. news outlets regularly highlight for Americans, who work an average of 260 days per year, that their well-paid representatives in Congress are scheduled to meet an average of only 140 days per year, spending the rest of their time in recess. However, the popular image of America’s legislators as lazy based on all the days they are away from Washington is a false one. Congressional recesses help U.S. politicians meet a fundamental need to directly engage with the people they have been elected to represent.
26 December 2013 The Legislative Branch: The Reach of Congress Article I of the Constitution grants all legislative powers of the federal government to a Congress divided into two chambers, a Senate and a House of Representatives. For more than 100 years after the adoption of the Constitution, senators were not elected by direct vote of the people but chosen by state legislatures and looked on as representatives of their home states.
16 December 2013 Steady Growth Forecast in International Visitors to United States The United States can expect 4 percent average annual growth in tourism through 2018, with nearly 72 million international travelers projected to visit the United States in 2014 alone, the U.S. Department of Commerce said December 12.
26 November 2013 President Obama’s Proclamation for Thanksgiving Day 2013 "Our country has always been home to Americans who recognize the
importance of giving back. Today, we honor all those serving our Nation
far from home. We also thank the first responders and medical
professionals who work through the holiday to keep us safe, and we
acknowledge the volunteers who dedicate this day to those less
fortunate. ... This Thanksgiving Day, let us forge deeper connections
with our loved ones".
• Thanksgiving: A Favorite U.S. Holiday
31 October 2013 Winston Churchill: A U.K. Statesman with Anglo-American Roots Sir Winston Churchill stands vigilant near the British Embassy in Washington, his right hand raised in a “V for victory” salute. Rendered in bronze, the statue of Churchill has one foot resting on embassy property — legally, British soil — and the other foot on U.S. soil. That placement is a reminder that Churchill had a British father and an American mother.
02 October 2013 U.S. Constitution Determines How Government Works, or Doesn’t On October 1, the beginning of the U.S. fiscal year, lack of congressional funding shut down much of the federal government as Americans argued about who was to blame for the impasse. The conversations tend to focus on names like Obama, Reid and Boehner, but probably should include Washington, Jefferson and Franklin. The document the latter three drafted laid the foundation for U.S. democracy and deliberately created the condition that allows shutting down the federal government.
27 September 2013 U.S. Citizens Volunteer to Care for Public Lands In about 2,200 locations across the United States on September 28, Americans will be taking care of their land — not their own gardens, but the lands that are held by the U.S. government, states and cities. They’ll be tending public lands in recognition of National Public Lands Day, a 20-year-old tradition.
10 September 2013 The Impact of America's New Globally-Minded Youth Foreign Press Center briefing with John Zogby, Pollster and Senior Analyst with Zogby Analytics.
09 September 2013 Boston, Massachusetts: America's City of Firsts Known for its key role in the American Revolution and its excellent educational institutions, Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and the political, commercial and financial center of New England. With a population of 4.6 million, Greater Boston is the 10th-largest U.S. metropolitan area.
08 August 2013 New Interactive Map Shows Languages Spoken in America The U.S. Census Bureau released an interactive, online map August 6 pinpointing the wide array of languages spoken in homes across the United States, along with a detailed report on rates of English proficiency and the growing number of speakers of other languages.
17 July 2013 New Orleans, Louisiana: Enticing and Carefree A historic city, unique in the United States for its colonial French and Spanish character, New Orleans has become associated with its annual Mardi Gras festival, jazz music and flavorful Creole cuisine. After being devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, the city’s displaced population is moving back and has embraced the process of rebuilding.
10 July 2013 The Constitutional Convention Against a backdrop of geographic and political factionalism, unpaid troops and a weak economy only beginning to recover from years of war and trade embargoes, devising a new form of government is a considerable challenge. That was the situation facing the United States in 1787, four years after achieving independence from Great Britain.
02 July 2013 First Ladies Can Bring Their Passions to the Role (via IIPDigital.gov) Being married to the president of the United States is among “the best jobs in the world,” according to first lady Michelle Obama. “We get to work on what we're passionate about,” she said July 2 while speaking at the African First Ladies Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
28 June 2013 Supreme Court Decisions Highlight Evolving Nature of Civil Rights It might seem strange that in a government of the people, by the people and for the people, the guardianship of constitutional rights rests with nine individuals appointed for life, yet that model has served the United States effectively for more than two centuries.
26 June 2013 How a Quiet Pennsylvania Town Changed U.S. History in 1863 In 1863 the small college town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, became
the site of the largest battle that has ever been fought on the North
American continent. For three days, an invading Confederate army of more
than 70,000 troops faced off against more than 90,000 Union soldiers.
At least 46,000 were killed, wounded or captured, and it remains the
place where the most Americans have ever fought and died.
• The American Civil War
20 June 2013 U.S. Has Long History of Aiding, Welcoming Refugees The United States has a long history of aiding as well as taking in the world’s refugees, says Secretary of State John Kerry. At a special event at the State Department marking World Refugee Day, Kerry noted that the earliest refugees started coming to America in the 17th century — Puritans who fled religious persecution in England.
11 June 2013 Travelers Visiting U.S. in Growing Numbers A new forecast suggests continued strong growth in travel and tourism to the United States through 2018, following a record-breaking year in 2012.
21 May 2013 With 1960s Group The Doors, Ray Manzarek Revolutionized Rock Even if The Doors’ greatest hit, “Light My Fire,” had been the band’s only mark on 1960s pop culture, Ray Manzarek’s swirling keyboard sequences that helped popularize the song would themselves have earned him a place in rock ’n’ roll history.
20 May 2013 Road Trip USA Traversing the United States by car is an invitation to enhance — or ditch — the standard tourist agenda and seek out some of the country’s most treasured oddities: quirky local attractions that offer a glimpse at America’s lighter side. Every state boasts its own prized peculiarities. Here are descriptions of just a few.
07 May 2013 The Changing Face of America's Chinatowns Most major American cities have a “Chinatown,” easily identified by Chinese-language shop and street signs, Chinese restaurants and merchants selling Chinese goods. The neighborhoods have long histories and are popular tourist destinations, but like many sections of urban America, they face the challenge of development and rising property costs as they try to maintain their tradition as ethnic residential areas.
22 April 2013 Freedom of Expression at a Glance (Pamphlet, via IIPDigital) The U.S. Constitution protects even the most offensive speech from government suppression, and permits regulation only under certain limited and narrow circumstances. The U.S. system is built on the idea that an open exchange of ideas encourages understanding, advances truth-seeking and allows for the rebuttal of falsehoods.
• Download pamphlet as PDF (370Kb)
16 April 2013 The Many Ways to Speak "American" The American accent most nonnative speakers learn is just one among many used daily across the United States. Known as General American (GenAm), it is the same accent you would typically hear on network news, nationally syndicated radio, films and other media where the speakers do not want to draw attention to their background.
10 April 2013 U.S. Dollars Designed to Outsmart Counterfeiters As the world’s most actively traded and principal reserve currency, the U.S. dollar is probably the most instantly recognized form of money on the planet. Its wide use also makes it a prime target for counterfeiters, so the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) has been updating cash notes to better keep up with increasingly sophisticated and publicly available printing technologies.
25 March 2013 New U.S. Monuments Honor History, Preserve Environment President Obama signed proclamations on March 25th establishing five new U.S. national monuments, using his authority under the Antiquities Act, which celebrates American’s rich history and natural heritage. Located in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington, the monuments help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, as well as protect unique natural resources, the White House said in a news release the same day.
25 March 2013 Cultural Sites Tell America’s Story What do the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and the theater where Abraham Lincoln was shot have in common? They are part of the network of scenic and historic sites safeguarded by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) so visitors can learn about the people and places that have shaped America.
13 March 2013 Ancient Persian Ruler Influenced Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Democracy The discovery of the Cyrus Cylinder was a hundred years in the future when Thomas Jefferson and other founders of the United States adopted the progressive ideas of the ancient Persian ruler Cyrus the Great. They knew of Cyrus through classical Greek writers and Biblical accounts.
06 March 2013 Arlington Museum Showcases Military Women's Contributions A living legacy to women who served in all branches of the U.S.
military honors their service and sacrifice inside the Women's Memorial
at Arlington National Cemetery. The museum’s “living” exhibits depict
the past, present and future of military women on active duty, in the
reserves, the National Guard and U.S. Public Health Service, in addition
to the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Civil Air Patrol.
• Presidential Proclamation on Women's History Month, 2013
27 February 2013 Rosa Parks has a Permanent Place in the U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall inside the U.S. Capitol was once the meeting place of the House of Representatives. Now it's home to a collection of statues and monuments representing some of the defining figures in our nation's history. ... One hundred years after she was born and 58 years after she refused to give up her seat on an Alabama city bus, Rosa Parks has a permanent place in the halls of Congress.
• Remarks by the President at Dedication of Statue Honoring Rosa Parks- U.S. Capitol
22 January 2013 U.S. Seeks World Heritage Listing for Ancient Earthworks Site “Tucked into the bayous of Louisiana, the Poverty Point earthworks are
the remarkable legacy of a prehistoric hunter-gatherer society that
existed thousands of years ago,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “Designation as a World
Heritage Site not only would be an honor for both Louisiana and the
United States,” he said, but also would be an invitation to
domestic and international travelers to visit.
• Louisiana at a Glance
10 January 2013 U.S. Presidential Transitions: Second Terms The roughly 75 days between a U.S. presidential election and the inauguration are as important to a second-term president as they are to a newly elected president, but the priorities are different.
09 January 2013 New Exhibition Tracks Progress of Civil Rights in America The Smithsonian’s national museums of American History and African American History and Culture have teamed up again to mount a thought-provoking exhibition, Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and The March on Washington, 1963. The exhibition will run for most of 2013, an important anniversary year for both events.
07 January 2013 Record Number of Women in 113th U.S. Congress A record number of women has been elected to the new U.S. Congress, and they are predicting that their more collaborative work style will make itself felt. With the opening of the 113th Congress on January 3, 20 women were sworn into the U.S. Senate and 81 into the House of Representatives.
04 January 2013 Leadership in 113th Congress Largely Unchanged The U.S. Congress is the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government and has two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each of the 50 U.S. states elects two senators to represent them in the U.S. Senate for a six-year term.
03 January 2013 Washington Welcomes 113th Congress In the midst of preparations for the second inauguration of President Obama, Washington focused its attention January 3 on welcoming the newest incarnation of its legislative branch.
01 January 2013 The 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation The Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on
January 1, 1863, was a watershed in U.S. history. Although it did not
free slaves throughout the United States, this presidential order to the
military declared slaves in the Confederate states “forever free” and
invited them to join the Union Army.
• Proclamation on 150th Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation
28 December 2012 A 51st U.S. State? It Could Happen The United States began as a union of 13 former British colonies. The state roster, expanding incrementally through two centuries, now stands at 50, but that could change.
05 December 2012 U.S. Holiday Shoppers Support Continued Economic Recovery More people than ever before kicked off the holiday shopping season in the United States, offering a welcome boost to businesses continuing to recover from economic recession. Contributing about $2.5 trillion to the U.S. annual gross domestic product (GDP), retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.
31 October 2012 U.S. Response to Natural Disasters Taps Broad Range of Assets When disaster strikes the nation, all elements of the U.S. government work together to save and sustain lives and restore livelihoods. Superstorm Sandy is no exception.
15 October 2012 Nobel Prizes for 2012 Recognize Five Americans The 2012 Nobel Prizes recognized five Americans for groundbreaking work in the fields of physics, chemistry and economics.
David J. Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Serge Haroche of France for their work in observing the behavior of individual quantum systems.
Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their studies of protein receptors in cells.
Alvin Roth of Harvard University and Lloyd Shapley of the University of California, Los Angeles, won the Nobel Prize in Economics “for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design”.
• Nobel Prize Institute
18 September 2012 New U.S. Citizens Celebrate Constitution Day Some 225 people representing 69 nations had two reasons to celebrate on
September 17: They became U.S. citizens in a naturalization ceremony at
the U.S. National Archives on a day that honors the U.S. Constitution
• The Constitution: An Enduring Document
26 August 2012 Astronaut Neil Armstrong: 1930–2012 The first human being to walk on the moon has died. Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission that touched down on the moon on July 20, 1969, died August 25. He was 82. In a statement President Obama called Armstrong “among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time."
• President Obama on Death of Neil Armstrong
22 August 2012 London Games Show What Women and Girls Can Achieve America now has the highest sports participation rates for women and girls in the world.
25 July 2012 No Breakthrough Yet in Earhart Mystery A group looking for the 1937 wreckage of Amelia Earhart's plane has not found the identifiable evidence it was hoping to find off the island of Nikumaroro, but says it has gathered a lot of data and images for further analysis.
18 July 2012 Aviation Pioneer Worked to Advance Women's Rights A photo show of the life of Amelia Earhart, an aviation pioneer who disappeared in 1937 during a trans-Pacific flight, is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington.
02 July 2012 Amelia Earhart Expedition Headed for Kiribati On the 75th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, a 26-day expedition to find the remains of her plane sets out from Honolulu. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) to find the remains of their plane, based on newly discovered evidence that suggests Earhart and Noonan may have crash-landed off the western coast of Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific nation of Kiribati.
25 June 2012 Federalism at Heart of Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration Law The Supreme Court of the United States clarified the extent to which states can legislate, regulate and enforce matters related to immigration in a decision issued June 25. “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform,” President Obama said in a prepared statement issued following the decision.
22 June 2012 Title IX at 40: Still Getting Girls Off the Sidelines Before the passage of Title IX legislation in 1972, girls and women had far fewer opportunities to participate in sports programs at U.S. secondary schools and colleges. Now, as Title IX celebrates its 40th anniversary, girls and women are playing sports in record numbers.
18 June 2012 United States Once a Struggling Democracy, Vulnerable to Empires The capital city of the United States today influences global affairs, but 191 years ago Washington was occupied by a foreign enemy, and national symbols such as the White House and the Capitol were put to the torch.
18 June 2012 The War of 1812 The nation went to war bitterly divided. While the South and West favored the conflict, New York and New England opposed it because it interfered with their commerce.
17 May 2012 Trying for Olympics Is Worth Sacrifices, U.S. Rower Says Steve Whelpley is near the top among elite rowers in the United States, but like many other impressive athletes around the world, he narrowly missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games. Whelpley believes the work he has put into competitive rowing and even his disappointment at not making the Olympic team will help him in “tackling life’s more challenging and blurry goals.”
18 April 2012 Without Free Media, Everyone Suffers “Media freedom is the moral equivalent of oxygen; it is how society breathes and it is a key pillar of building civil societies,” says Tara Sonenshine, the new U.S. under secretary of state for public diplomacy. Sonenshine joined Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, for a special briefing at the Foreign Press Center in Washington to discuss the “Free the Press” campaign in the run-up to World Press Freedom Day.
16 April 2012 Jazz Appreciation Month Each April, the United States celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), an opportunity to savor a major American contribution to world culture. U.S. Embassy Paris presents this feature!
13 April 2012 Students Across Globe Can Take Online Courses at U.S. Universities Some of America’s most elite universities, including Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), are experimenting with free online courses that give thousands of motivated students around the world the opportunity to learn sophisticated skills and earn informal credentials.
26 March 2012 Historic Fire Spurred Struggle for Worker Safety The terrible events at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City still resonate 101 years later. The fire that killed 146 people in less than 20 minutes "led to some of the nation's strongest changes in worker safety in the manufacturing industry," the U.S. Labor Department says on a website that commemorates the tragedy.
20 March 2012 After 75 Years, Amelia Earhart’s Plane May Soon Be Found Will the world soon know for certain what happened to famed 1930s American aviator and women’s rights pioneer Amelia Earhart? A nonprofit foundation specializing in aviation archaeology and historic preservation believes it knows where to find the wreckage of the plane in which she and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared during their 1937 attempt to fly around the Earth at its equator.
20 March 2012 Amelia Earhart Still Intrigues, Inspires As the clouds surrounding Amelia Earhart’s disappearance begin to
lift, perhaps attention can focus once again on her life as a courageous
aviator who inspired men and women to embrace the new opportunities of
human flight. But it was her final, unfinished flight that catapulted her from celebrity to legend.
• Earhart Broke Social and Aviation Barriers, Clinton Says
14 February 2012 Valentine’s Day in the United States A current of excited energy collects in the air as hands clutching bouquets of red roses and pink greeting cards rush by. It’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day in the United States, a day devoted to love.
09 February 2012 Iowa: America’s Farming Heartland To many Americans, the state of Iowa represents the truest, most enduring part of the country’s identity, calling to mind images of small-town life, hard-working families, rolling farmland and cornfields. Iowa is among the states that make up the Midwest region of the United States. Collectively, the Midwest is known as America’s Heartland because of the prominent part its farms and manufacturing play in the U.S. economy.
09 February 2012 Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln Born in poverty on 12 February 1809, Abraham Lincoln grew up to become one of America’s greatest presidents. He took office as the 16th president in 1861 and saw the Civil War break out just a few weeks later. During the war, which claimed 623,000 lives, Lincoln provided strategic military leadership to the Union (U.S. government forces) as he sought to reunify the nation.
01 February 2012 Super Bowl Sunday an Unofficial Holiday for Millions Each year, on a Sunday at the end of January or beginning of February, tens of millions of Americans declare their own unofficial holiday. Gathered in groups large and small, nearly half of all U.S. households participate vicariously in a televised spectacle that has far outgrown its origins as a sporting event.
09 January 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A Time to Serve Others The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who is remembered in the United States on the third Monday of January each year, is perhaps best known as America’s chief spokesman for nonviolent activism as a result of his leadership role in the U.S. civil rights movement.
27 December 2011 Arab-American Politician Succeeds Through Community Service Rashida Tlaib’s service to her community paid off in 2008 when she became the first Muslim woman elected to the state of Michigan’s House of Representatives.
20 December 2011 New Year’s Day: A Time for Fresh Beginnings New Year’s Day in the United States is a time for fresh beginnings, hope for a better future and resolutions to change one’s behavior for the better. Observed January 1, New Year celebrations actually begin the night of December 31 with parties, concerts, fireworks and special events of all kinds. The day of January 1 is marked in many U.S. towns and cities with parades and college-level, U.S.-style football games.
12 December 2011 The Christmas Tradition in America Christmas, celebrated by most Christians on December 25, commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Americans, like many of the world’s peoples, have developed their own Christmas traditions and observances, and these have changed greatly over time. Today, most Americans blend religious and secular customs with their own family traditions.
22 November 2011 Thanksgiving: Americans Travel to Be with Family Thanksgiving marks the busiest travel season of the year in the United States — a fact that would come as no surprise to these weary travelers in line at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. At this time of year, Americans travel long distances and put up with congested roads or long lines at airports just to be with their families.
14 - 18 November International Education Week 2011 All our features on International Education Week are lower down on this page in the Education section.
16 November 2011 Honoring Native Americans Every November, National Native American Heritage Month celebrates the enduring contributions of the first Americans to the history and culture of the United States. The month is designated by Congress and the president as a time to reflect on the rich traditions and accomplishments, as well as the suffering and injustices, that mark the history of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
16 November 2011 Proclamation by President Obama for Thanksgiving Day 2011 President Obama: "One of our Nation's oldest and most cherished traditions, Thanksgiving Day brings us closer to our loved ones and invites us to reflect on the blessings that enrich our lives. The observance recalls the celebration of an autumn harvest centuries ago, when the Wampanoag tribe joined the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony to share in the fruits of a bountiful season. "
15 November 2011 Thanksgiving: A Favorite U.S. Holiday Thanksgiving in the United States is a time to gather with family and friends, share a traditional meal and express gratitude for the good things in life. It can also be a time of service to others in the community. Celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving traces its origins to harvest festivals. It was customary to express gratitude for a bountiful harvest in the cultures of both the Pilgrims who sailed from England in 1620 and the Native Americans they encountered.
09 November 2011 President Obama's Proclamation for Veterans Day, 2011 "Today, our Nation comes together to honor our veterans and commemorate the legacy of profound service and sacrifice they have upheld in pursuit of a more perfect Union. ... This year, as our troops in Iraq complete their mission, we will honor them and all who serve by working tirelessly to give them the care, the benefits, and the opportunities they have earned."
28 October 2011 Happy Birthday, Statue of Liberty! The Statue of Liberty is having a birthday extravaganza on October 28, the 125th anniversary of her dedication. The 93-meter-high copper beauty will celebrate with a flotilla of ships, a naturalization ceremony, a cake, musical performances, readings, speeches and fireworks.
26 October 2011 Lady Liberty: 125 Years as Icon of Freedom “Over the years, the meanings of the [Statue of Liberty] have grown until she has become an international icon of freedom and liberty, the most recognizable symbol of democracy in the world,” says the National Park Service, which has responsibility for both the statue and Ellis Island.
11 October 2011 Albert Einstein Memorial: Sit in the Lap of a Genius People visiting the monumental bronze statue of Albert Einstein in Washington love to take photos of their children sitting in the great man’s lap. Created by sculptor Robert Berks, the statue shows Einstein casually seated, wearing sandals and holding papers with mathematical equations summarizing three of his most important scientific contributions: the photoelectric effect, the theory of general relativity, and the equivalence of energy and matter.
07 October 2011 The U.S. Columbus Day Holiday Columbus Day is the U.S. federal holiday commemorating explorer Christopher Columbus’ landing in the New World on October 12, 1492. We've more on this holiday on our Education Matters! blog.
25 August 2011 Continuing the Work of Martin Luther King Jr. In a week of events leading up to the dedication planned for Sunday, August 28, of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Mall in Washington, some of the most prominent names of the civil rights era — Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond and Amos Brown, among others — gathered with younger civil rights pioneers at a luncheon to honor King and his accomplishments, while looking forward to work still to be done.
23 August 2011 Memorial Honors Life of Martin Luther King Jr. Built on four acres of the National Mall, the memorial includes a 450-foot inscription wall with more than a dozen quotations selected by a council of historians from King’s writing, sermons and speeches. The King Memorial is near the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, from the steps of which King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in the summer of 1963
28 June 2011 Women's World Cup Teams Include Many U.S. Professionals Members of the American team in Germany for the sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup are seeing some very familiar faces among the competition. In addition to the 20 women playing for the United States, 16 players currently competing professionally on American teams will play for seven other national teams, among them Australia, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and Sweden.
23 June 2011 What's Race Got to Do with It? Does the concept of race have any scientific foundation, or is it merely a social construct? What is the so-called “one-drop rule,” and how has it shaped perceptions about racial identity? These questions, among others, are probed by the traveling exhibition “RACE: Are We So Different?,” which opened at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington.
21 June 2011 What do Lady Gaga, the San Francisco Giants and President Obama have in common? They are all taking a stand against bullying. The president and the pop singer–songwriter both have talked about being bullied themselves as children, and they are joined by a number of high-profile Americans, from comedian Bill Cosby to major league baseball players, in speaking out against abusive behavior.
17 June 2011 Snapshot: Los Angeles, City of Dreamers Excerpt from the essay "Dreamland" by clinical psychologist, professor, and author Jonathan Kellerman who grew up in Los Angeles.
06 June 2011 Secretary Clinton on Launching Women's World Cup Initiative Secretary Clinton's remarks at the State Department on the launch of the of the Women’s World Cup Initiative.
• Factsheet: Empowering Women, Girls Through Exchanges
26 May 2011 Snapshot: Celebrating Rock ’n’ Roll The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, opened in 1995 as the world’s first museum dedicated to the living heritage of rock ’n’ roll music.
24 May 2011 U.S. Car Culture : Life on the Road The lure of the open road is a favorite theme in U.S. popular culture, immortalized in such songs as Bobby Troup’s “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Cadillac Ranch.” There are even auto-themed roadside attractions in the United States: Cadillac Ranch, in Texas, and Carhenge, in Nebraska.
14 March 2011 For Globetrotting Presidents, Air Force One Provides Perfect Ride It is unquestionably the most exclusive ride in the world: the gleaming, blue-and-white jumbo jet that answers to the call signal Air Force One. It’s an American icon, as recognizable as the Statue of Liberty or the Grand Canyon — the airplane that will take President Obama on his second journey to Latin America March 19.
09 March 2011 Security Adviser Praises American Muslims’ Contributions Denis McDonough, the president’s deputy national security adviser, traveled to one of the country’s largest mosques to talk about President Obama’s approach to combating terrorism and to praise American Muslims for their contributions to strengthening America.
08 March 2011 Women of Courage Awardees Set Example Ten women have been honored by first lady Michelle Obama and Secretary
of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for their exceptional courage in
advocating for women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal
• Remarks by the First Lady at the International Women of Courage Awards
07 March 2011 The Launch of the 100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through International Exchanges Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
25 January 2011 Obama Urges Americans to Meet 21st Century Challenges
In the annual State of the Union address, President Obama urged
American lawmakers to support innovative research and educational
opportunities as a means of maintaining U.S. economic competitiveness
and ensuring its progress in the 21st century. “This is our generation’s
Sputnik moment,” the president said January 25 in his address to a
joint session of Congress. He was referring to the rapid American
technological and scientific response that created the U.S. space
program and new economic opportunities after the Soviet Union launched
the first satellite into space in 1957. As a result of its quick
mobilization, the United States became the first nation to put a man on
the moon in 1969.
• President Obama's State of the Union Address
• Fact Sheet: Obama's Plan to Win the Future
21 January 2011 State of the Union Address Deeply Rooted in American History When President Obama addresses leaders of the U.S. federal government on January 25 he will be fulfilling a constitutional obligation and following a long-standing tradition of American presidents. The U.S. Constitution requires that the president report to Congress “from time to time” on the “State of the Union.” This constitutional requirement has evolved into the president’s annual State of the Union address, which now serves several purposes. The speech reports on the condition of the United States both domestically and internationally, recommends a legislative agenda for the coming year and gives the president the opportunity to personally convey his vision for the nation.
17 January 2011 Remarks by President Obama on Martin Luther King's Birthday
14 January 2011 Number of Free Countries Is Declining, Study Finds The number of free countries is steadily declining, according to the latest findings by Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization that monitors the state of democracy and human rights around the world. In its recently released report, Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House found that only 87 — two fewer than 2009 — of the world’s 194 countries could be designated as truly free. Sixty countries were designated as “partly free,” and 47 were considered “not free.”
28 December 2010 Giving (Almost) All of It Away The two richest men in the United States, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, are encouraging other billionaires, in the United States and abroad, to give away the bulk of their fortunes to philanthropic causes.
23 November 2010 Presidential Proclamation for Thanksgiving Day 2010
05 November 2010 Proclamation by President Obama on Veterans Day 2010 "On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us. It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strengthen the bond between a Nation and her warriors." The United States will celebrate Veteran's Day on Thursday, 11 November 2010.
29 October 2010 Divided U.S. Government Can Work, Scholars Say The prospect of a divided U.S. government — with a president from one political party and at least one chamber of Congress controlled by the other party — has raised questions about what the next two years might be like in Washington.
28 October 2010 Durham: "Unlikely Partners" Protect Religious Freedom W. Cole Durham Jr. is the director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University. Professor Durham shares his experiences in answer to the question: When have you witnessed unlikely partners sharing space to promote the shared value of religious tolerance?
27 October 2010 Russia Gives U.S. Restored Copies of "Lost" Silent Films Some of America's early film history that was thought to have been lost forever has been recovered, thanks to the joint effort of dedicated film restorers in Russia and the perseverance of film scholars at the Library of Congress in Washington. Ten films from Hollywood's silent film era have been found in Gosfilmofond, the Russian state film archive, restored, copied and presented to the Library of Congress.
04 October 2010 Three Women Serving as Highest U.S. Court Opens For the first time in its history, the U.S. Supreme Court opened a new term with three women justices on the bench. The 2010–2011 session of the nation’s highest court began October 4 with one new member, former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate August 5 and will be the 112th justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, but only the fourth woman chosen for the job.
07 September 2010 Secretary Clinton's Remarks at the Annual State Department Iftar
02 September 2010 Labor Day Marks Appreciation of America's Workers Labor Day, celebrated in the United States on the first Monday of each September, is the nation's official commemoration of its workers' contributions to national strength, prosperity and well-being. It also marks for millions of Americans the unofficial end of summer.
23 August 2010 An Iftar for Everyone Washington's Ramadan celebrations are as varied as its Muslim community.
11 August 2010 Muslim-American Charitable Efforts Extend Beyond Ramadan As is the case with Muslim communities around the world, Ramadan for Muslims in America is marked by fasting and charity. But while fasting is observed one month of the year, many Muslim Americans make charity and giving back to their communities year-round activities.
06 August 2010 Fourth Woman in U.S. History to Serve on Highest Court Former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan becomes the 112th justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, but she is only the fourth woman chosen to serve on the nation's highest court. "For nearly two centuries, there wasn’t a single woman on our nation’s highest court. When Elena takes her seat on that bench, for the first time in our history, there will be three women," President Obama said shortly after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm her nomination 63–37.
29 July 2010 Women in Public Policy Remarks by Erin Harbaugh, Public Diplomacy Advisor, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.
28 July 2010 American Musicians Ramble Across Russia Strumming and singing across southern Russia, a group of four American teachers has introduced traditional American folk music to thousands of Russian children. "Traditional American folk music embodies an aspect of American culture which young Russians aren’t normally exposed to," said Matthew Nelson of Oklahoma, one of the founders of the group that calls its project "Ramblin' Across Russia: Accessing Language and Culture Through American Folk Music."
08 July 2010 Photographers Challenged to Capture the Meaning of Democracy First there was the Democracy Video Challenge. Then there was the Democracy Is Twitter Contest. Now still photographers will get their chance with the Democracy Photo Challenge. The contest, launched July 7, challenges people around the world to finish the phrase "Democracy is..." with an original photo that captures their view of democracy as it appears among the people, communities and sights around them.
07 July 2010 National Muslim Convention Highlights Faith and Community Thousands of Muslim Americans gathered in Chicago July 2–4 at the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA’s) 47th annual convention to learn how combining faith and community service strengthens them and their country. ISNA President Ingrid Mattson discussed the convention’s theme, "Nurturing Compassionate Communities: Connecting Faith and Service," during a press conference.
02 July 2010 Longest-Serving Member of U.S. Congress Dies in Office Robert Byrd, a U.S. senator from West Virginia and the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, died June 28 in a Virginia hospital just a few kilometers from the Capitol he loved. Senator Byrd was 92. His mourners include a president, a vice president and a secretary of state who all served with him in the Senate.
30 June 2010 Statement on 60th Anniversary of U.S.–Pakistan Fulbright Program White House official welcomes latest group of 158 Pakistani students.
22 June 2010 U.S. Independence Day a Civic and Social Event The United States celebrates its Independence Day on July 4, a day of patriotic celebration and family events throughout the country. In the words of Founding Father John Adams, the holiday would be “the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance. … It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” The Fourth of July holiday is a major civic occasion, with roots deep in the Anglo-American tradition of political freedom.
14 June 2010 Fact Sheet: The United States and Africa: Partnering for Progress The United States has been a strong advocate of the nations of Africa since their independence, and remains determined to support its African partners in achieving the shared long-term goals of democracy, stability, and prosperity.
10 June 2010 World Cup 2010: Respect and Diversity Podcast on role of soccer in building communities.
08 June 2010 Computer Hackers in White Hats Vint Cerf, the computer scientist often called the father of the Internet, looked out at the audience gathered beneath the chandeliers of the Benjamin Franklin Room and observed, “This is probably the geekiest gathering ever in the history of the State Department.” The words were a tribute to an assemblage of 150 software developers and computer-code writers who were giving up their weekends to trade ideas and design applications for disaster response and relief.
02 June 2010 New U.S. Cooperation for International Criminal Court Although the United States is not a party to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Obama administration is looking for ways to cooperate with the international body to increase its effectiveness while also encouraging increased capacities in local judicial systems to prosecute atrocities and human rights violations.
28 May 2010 Democracy Is … Stories of Survival and Hope Survival and hope are messages that run through this year’s Democracy Video Challenge finalists from the Western Hemisphere.The U.S. State Department-sponsored contest, now in its second year, challenges videographers the world over to describe what “Democracy Is…” in three minutes or less.
26 May 2010 Memorial Day Holiday Honors American War Dead The Memorial Day holiday celebrated by Americans on the last Monday of May represents for many the unofficial beginning of summer. Many will travel over the long holiday weekend to seek out friends and family, beaches and amusement parks. But most will pause at some point to recall the holiday’s true purpose: honoring those who died defending their nation.
03 May 2010 Clinton Outlines Steps to Support Opportunities for Women Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told women entrepreneurs from around the world that they are essential partners in global efforts to increase peace, prosperity, stability and security. “We need each and every one of you to lend your entrepreneurial skill and energy to meeting the global challenges of this new century,” she said.
29 April 2010 Online Journalists Increasingly Risk Censorship, Imprisonment For the first time, the number of online journalists in prison almost surpasses the number of jailed traditional print and broadcast journalists, according to the Center for International Media Assistance, an initiative of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to strengthening democratic institutions around the world.
19 April 2010 Reality TV Show Based on Iranian Americans Has Many Worried To hear many Iranian Americans tell it, this is not a story about a television show: It’s about pride and shame, perception and reality, achievement and waste.But it starts with a television show.
16 April 2010 Mark Twain: Novelist, Humorist and Citizen of the World Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's death, by Professor Shelly Fisher Fishkin of Stanford University.
15 April 2010 Michelle Obama Tells Youth to Help Empower Each Other In her first solo international visit as first lady, Michelle Obama asked young people in Mexico and around the world to empower each other through service and volunteer work. That will help spread opportunities to other members of what she described as the “youth bulge” — the largest-ever global population of people between the ages of 15 and 24 who now make up 20 percent of the world’s citizens.
31 March 2010 Citizen or Not, the U.S. Census Counts Everyone
The U.S. Census Bureau has kicked off its monumental $14.5 billion
effort to get an exact count of the estimated 309 million people living
in the United States. It seeks to include everyone: citizens and
noncitizens, those with permanent residences and transients alike. The
U.S. Constitution says the “resident population” — not just U.S.
citizens — should be counted, says Daniel Weinberg, Census Bureau
assistant director for decennial census programs. The one exception is
foreign ambassadors and staff who live in embassy compounds, he said,
because that is technically foreign soil.
• U.S. Census homepage
29 March 2010 Soccer or Football? Americans Love the Game No Matter the Name The world’s biggest football tournament begins in South Africa in June. This quadrennial event often makes people wonder why many in the United States call the world’s most popular sport soccer, rather than football.
29 January 2010 Reclusive Writer J.D. Salinger Dies American author J.D. Salinger died January 27 at the age of 91. Much of his work resonated with Americans who came of age during the 1960s and questioned the cultural mores of the time. Born in New York City, Salinger achieved huge literary success with the publication of his novel The Catcher in the Rye (1951), centered on a sensitive 16-year-old, Holden Caulfield, who flees his elite boarding school for the outside world of adulthood, only to become disillusioned by its materialism and phoniness.
14 January 2010 Unrestricted, Secure Internet Access Critical, United States Says The Obama administration is continuing its efforts to promote universal and uncensored access to the Internet around the world, viewing it as a critical element to modern economies and societies, said the State Department’s Alec Ross. Ross, who serves as senior adviser for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, told reporters in New York that Clinton has been “very engaged in helping to ensure that there is universal access to an uncensored Internet.”
22 December 2009 “IndiVisible” Poses Questions on American Indian Identity Smithsonian Institution exhibition examines Americans’ tangled roots.
17 December 2009 U.S. Response to European Union’s Statement on Death Penalty The use of the death penalty in the United States is a decision of democratically elected governments at the federal and individual State levels and is not prohibited by international law. Capital punishment does not violate any OSCE commitments. The people of the United States, acting through their freely elected representatives, have chosen, in most States, not to abolish the death penalty.
24 November 2009 Thanksgiving Holiday Is Reminder to Americans to Help Others Most Americans look forward to sharing a Thanksgiving Day meal with family and friends, but many also make a special effort to volunteer at shelters, churches, food banks and other charitable organizations. Many grocery stores and individuals contribute turkeys, potatoes, pumpkin pie and other traditional Thanksgiving items to food banks and soup kitchens, and volunteers spend the day cooking the meal and serving hundreds of people. “As we gather once again among loved ones, let us also reach out to our neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand,” President Obama said in his Thanksgiving proclamation.
16 November 2009 Societies Free of Internet Censorship Are Stronger, Obama Says The free flow of information on the Internet builds a stronger society, encourages creativity and helps people around the world participate in the political process and hold their governments accountable, President Obama told Chinese students in Shanghai. Speaking at a town hall meeting ahead of meetings with Chinese leaders in Beijing, Obama said he is “a big believer” in technology and openness and a “big supporter of noncensorship” even though it means that he finds himself the subject of constant criticism. In the United States, “the fact that we have free Internet or unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength,” and the president said open Internet use should be encouraged.
10 November 2009 Veterans Day Honors Those Who Served in U.S. Military
05 November 2009 Remarks by President Obama at Tribal Nations Conference Obama answers questions on U.S. treatment of tribal nations.
15 October 2009 New York Celebrates 400th Anniversary of Hudson’s Voyage In September 1609, Henry Hudson and the crew of his ship, the Half Moon, tasked with finding a shortcut water passage from Europe to the Indies, sailed into the harbor destined to become the site of New York City, then explored the river later to be named in Hudson’s honor. Now both the Netherlands and the United States are celebrating the 400th anniversary of Hudson’s arrival — an event that presaged some 50 years of Dutch control of the area until the New Amsterdam they established fell to the British and became New York City.
01 October 2009 The Obamas Visit Copenhagen to Support Chicago’s Olympic Bid President Obama will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, to support Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games at the 121st International Olympic Committee Session, according to the White House. The president will depart Washington on October 1, arriving in Copenhagen on the morning of October 2 just before Chicago’s presentation to the IOC voting members. He will join his wife, Michelle Obama, who arrived in Copenhagen on September 30. Mrs. Obama is leading the U.S. delegation to the IOC session.
30 September 2009 An Overview of U.S. Holidays
11 September 2009 Remarks at National Day of Service and Remembrance
10 September 2009 Obama Urges Congress to Pass Health Care Reform The U.S. Congress is grappling with proposed legislation to substantially reform America's $2.5 trillion health care system, despite the daunting challenge posed by solutions that may conflict with one another. In a nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress September 9, President Obama implored representatives and senators to overcome doubts and considerable misinformation that has plagued debate on reform since earlier this year, and support his proposals. Five committees in the Senate and House of Representatives are considering comprehensive reform proposals and four have completed work on bills. The White House did not submit its own proposed legislation, but instead submitted its objectives. (See also: Remaking the U.S. Health System Takes More than Presidential Will).
10 September 2009 Remaking the U.S. Health System Takes More than Presidential Will On September 9, when President Obama spoke to Congress and the American people about health care in a televised address, he underscored some fundamental principles of U.S. democracy: No branch of government has ascendency over any other branch and all governmental power derives from the people. In the address, Obama pushed back against critics of his reform plan, reiterating the urgent need to provide health care to all and trying to convince the American people reform is necessary.
08 September 2009 Address by President Obama to America's Schoolchildren Obama focuses on responsibility, staying in school.
04 September 2009 News of 1989 Hasn’t Reached Some Countries Article excerpted from The Berlin Wall: 20 Years Later, published by the Bureau of International Information Programs and available for free download in PDF form.
19 August 2009 Muslim Americans Find Their Voice Through Advocacy, Engagement Assad Akhter, the legislative director for a member of Congress, learned an interesting fact when he helped found the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association at the U.S. Capitol in 2005.
18 August 2009 Diversity, Faith Define Evolving Identity of Muslim Americans Two attributes connect individuals like professor Zareena Grewal of Yale University, writer and blogger Wajahat Ali, Congressman André Carson, fashion designer Nyla Hashmi, boxing coach Victor Perez, and California artist Dalah Faytrouni. They are Muslim and American — and constitute part of a remarkable community that, in large measure, mirrors the diversity of the United States itself.
12 August 2009 White House Press Briefing by Robert Gibbs Ambassador Rice to deliver a speech at New York University Center for Global Affairs; President to speak at 110th VFW National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona; health care and misinformation on "death panels" ; executive compensation.
06 August 2009 Sotomayor Confirmed as Newest U.S. Supreme Court Justice In a vote of 68–31, the United States Senate confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the 111th U.S. Supreme Court justice, and Sotomayor is expected to be sworn in to replace retired Justice David Souter on August 8. Speaking at the White House President Obama said he was "pleased and deeply gratified" that U.S. lawmakers had approved his nominee for the highest level of the judicial branch of the U.S. government.
04 August 2009 Ramadan in a Multi-Faith Family Ilana Alazzeh was born in San Francisco to an Israeli mother and Pakistani father. She currently attends Smith College in Massachusetts, where she stays active in community service and interfaith work, regularly speaking on panels regarding Islam and religious pluralism.
04 July 2009 Fourth of July Message by President Obama (PDF 78kb) " Today we are called upon to remember not only the day our country was born, but also the indomitable spirit of the first American citizens who made that day possible. We are called to remember how unlikely it was that our American experiment would succeed at all; that a small band of patriots would declare independence from a powerful empire; and that they would form, in the new world, what the old world had never known - a government of, by, and for the people."
30 June 2009 Freedom of Information "Built on Principles of Open Government" When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on July 4, 1966, "he built on the principles of open government and citizen participation enshrined in the Declaration [of Independence]" signed by the Founding Fathers in 1776, said Melanie Pustay, director of the Office of Information Policy (OIP) at the Department of Justice.
29 June 2009 Michelle Obama Defines Own Role as First Lady The role of first lady is arguably the most powerful and influential nonelected, nonappointed position in the White House. However, despite having a large staff, and one of the most premiere pieces of real estate, the White House, as her office, the first lady has no formal job description and the U.S. Constitution makes no mention of the role of the commander in chief’s spouse.
29 June 2009 U.S. States Seek Fair Method for Selection of Judges In any trial, the judge plays one of the most important roles. In the U.S., how these judges are selected — and the role citizens play in selecting them — varies. At the federal level, judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, as the U.S. Constitution requires. But within states, the process differs, Adam Skaggs, democracy counsel for the Brennan Center for Judicial Studies at New York University, told America.gov.
12 June 2009 Access to Government Information Going Digital A survey conducted in March as part of national "Sunshine Week" found that while increasing numbers of U.S. state government documents are being posted to the Web, some of the most basic and important records — like death certificates, gas pump overcharge records and school bus inspection reports — aren’t there. Sunshine Week is an annual event focused on open government and freedom of information.
12 June 2009 Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think A documentary film based on a Gallup Poll study has its world premiere.
10 June 2009 White House Document on Advancing the Role of Women Series of documents central to Obama administration’s agenda.
09 June 2009 U.S. Courts Form Juries to Maintain Impartiality In the U.S. criminal justice system, the opinions of twelve citizens play a crucial role. The panel of citizens observes the trial, then deliberates on whether the accused is guilty. To be on the panel, commonly known as the jury, U.S. citizens are selected and screened through a process known as voir dire..
08 June 2009 US-UK Fulbright Commission announces more awards for 2009-10 The US-UK Fulbright Commission has announced a further increase in the number of its prestigious awards for the coming academic year. Now in its 61st year, this competitive award scheme will be sending outstanding men and women both ways across the Atlantic to study, lecture and/or research at centres of excellence in the US and the UK. Information on the US-UK Fulbright Awards Programme as well as biographic information on the 2009-10 scholars is available at http://www.fulbright.co.uk/fulbright-awards.
08 June 2009 Freedom of Information Is Bedrock of Free and Open Societies The 43-year-old Freedom of Information Act is considered a bulwark of democracy by scholars, journalists and common citizens seeking information held by the U.S. government. Enacted in 1966 and refined over the years, allows individuals and organizations (including non-U.S. citizens and groups) to request access to unpublished documents held by the executive branch of the federal government without having to provide a reason for the request.
04 June 2009 President Obama Proclaims June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month Calling on Congress and the American people to "work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity," President Obama issued a presidential proclamation June 1 in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month.
29 May 2009 Obama Administration Breaks New Ground on the Internet During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama impressed Americans and the world with his deft use of the Internet and social networking technologies. Now his administration is using the Internet to make government more accessible and include citizens in the policymaking process. The Open Government initiative, calls for more citizen participation to enhance government effectiveness and for greater collaboration across all levels of government and with the private sector to harness innovative tools.
28 May 2009 Asian-American Graphic Novelist Gene Yang Turns Life into Comics Gene Yang started publishing his comics at the local copy store under the name Humble Comics in 1996. Within 10 years, Yang, who also teaches computer programming at a high school in California, had become the national bestselling author of the first graphic novel to be nominated for the National Book Award. Yang spoke with America.gov writer Sonya Weakley about his work.
26 May 2009 Obama Picks Sonia Sotomayor to Serve on U.S. Supreme Court President Obama announced May 26 that he will nominate U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court justice. If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor, who the president said has "a depth of experience and a breadth of perspective that will be invaluable as a Supreme Court justice," would be the first Hispanic to serve on the highest court in the United States.
11 May 2009 Graphic Novels: An Evolving Art Form Tackles New Themes In recent years, Asian-American artists and writers have attained considerable prominence as creators of sophisticated comic books and graphic novels, lending an adult sensibility to a medium that once appealed mostly to a juvenile audience.
07 May 2009 Obama Proposes Massive Global Health Initiative The U.S. is launching a six-year global health initiative that will help some of the poorest regions of the world fight health challenges that kill people who could otherwise be saved with improved health care, says President Obama.
06 April 2009
Authors of Young-Adult Books Reflect on Issues of Race — Part One
Authors of Young-Adult Books Reflect on Issues of Race — Part Two
Does race matter? The concept of a "post-racial" society is popular, but America's youth, lacking memories of racial segregation and integration, offer unique perspectives. To capture a snapshot of those views, America.gov posed questions to two authors of young-adult books about issues they explore in their work. In part one, author Sherri L. Smith, who recently published her fourth novel, Flygirl, comments on two topics she tackles in her books. Her first novel, Lucy the Giant, was selected for the 2003 Best Books for Young Adults list by the young adult division of the American Library Association.
20 March 2009 United Nations Condemns Persecution Based on Sexual Orientation The U.S. is joining 66 other United Nations member states in condemning the persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. "The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world," Robert Wood, State Department acting spokesman, said in a statement.
11 March 2009 Remarks by Michelle Obama Honoring Women of Courage We must stand for ourselves, each other and justice for all, Michelle says.
29 January 2009 Black History Month Honors Legacy of Struggle and Triumph Each February, Black History Month honors the struggles and triumphs of millions of American citizens over the most devastating obstacles — slavery, prejudice, poverty — as well as their contributions to the nation’s cultural and political life.
26 January 2009 Michelle Obama Presents Modern Image for Black Women Every time Michelle Obama appears as first lady, the combination of her professional and domestic success challenges stereotypical media images of black women in America. As the first black woman to become first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama is shattering generations-old stereotypes about black women and working mothers.
14 January 2009 Americans Celebrate Achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. Americans on each third Monday of January honor the life and achievements of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., the 1964 Nobel Peace laureate and the individual most associated with the triumphs of the African-American civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. As a political organizer, supremely skilled orator and advocate of nonviolent protest, King was pivotal in persuading his fellow Americans to end the legal segregation that prevailed throughout the South and parts of other regions, and in sparking support for the civil rights legislation that established the legal framework for racial equality in the United States
08 January 2009 Retired Justice O'Connor Discusses U.S. Judicial System America.gov presents a conversation with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Justice O'Connor is the first woman ever to serve on the nation's highest court. The United States owes its success as a nation and a society to its constitution, the document that guarantees the freedom and rights of every American citizen.
02 January 2009 Alaskans Celebrate 50 Years of Statehood When U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, people called the decision "Seward's Folly." Few could understand why the United States would want 1,517,000 square kilometers (586,000 square miles) of cold, barren land.
08 April 2008 The Formation of a National Government The success of the Revolution gave Americans the opportunity to give legal form to their ideals as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and to remedy some of their grievances through state constitutions. As early as May 10, 1776, Congress had passed a resolution advising the colonies to form new governments "such as shall best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents."
The U.S. Treasury Department continues to engage with both the charitable sector and affected communities to advance our shared interests in a free, open, tolerant, and charitable society. Related articles:
News in Education
14 - 18 November
International Education Week 2011
The U.S. Departments of State and Education provide a combined feature to celebrate International Education Week 2011.
16 November 2011 Note on Expedited Processing of Student Visas During International Education Week, the U.S. Department of State highlights existing efforts to attract future leaders from abroad to take advantage of the exceptional educational opportunities in the United States. We also recognize that foreign students bring with them tremendous intellectual, social, and economic benefits. As part of these efforts, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs gives student visa appointments special priority.
15 November 2010 Assistant Secretary Stock on International Student Exchanges
Remarks by Assistant Secretary Ann Stock, Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs, at the Release of the 2010 Open Doors Report.
• Open Doors information
14 November 2011 Secretary Clinton on International Education Week Secretary Clinton: "This joint initiative of the Departments of State and Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad."
28 October 2010 Robots and Other Wonders Lure American Kids to Science Robots that kick soccer balls, solar-powered vehicles and helmets that offer virtual bike rides were some of the attractions at America’s first national science exposition, the grand finale of two weeks of activities intended to motivate more young people to pursue careers in science.
27 October 2010 Virtual School Helps Students in U.S., South Asia, Worldwide Many students have a subject in school that excites them while another subject leaves them bewildered. Whether they’re seeking deeper understanding or a new way of comprehending difficult material, the Khan Academy can shed new light on nearly any topic.
18 November 2009 International Enrollment at U.S. Colleges Again Breaks Records For the second year in a row, record numbers of men and women from outside the United States chose to study in U.S. institutions of higher education. “I am delighted to see the large increase in the number of international students who are choosing to study in the United States,” said Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith A. McHale in welcoming the report, Open Doors 2009. “The all-time high number of international students who studied here in the 2008/09 academic year testifies to the quality and diversity for which American higher education is known around the world.”
16 November 2009 Numbers of Americans Studying Abroad Up 8.5% A record number of U.S. students are studying abroad, reflecting the value of an international academic experience as preparation to live and work in a global society. According to the Open Doors 2009 survey, the number of Americans studying abroad increased by 8.5% to 262,416 in the 2007/08 academic year. This increase builds on two decades of steady growth and represents four times as many U.S. students than in 1987/88.
16 November 2009 International Students Come to United States in Record Numbers The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8% to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008/09 academic year while the number of “new” international students — those enrolled for the first time at a U.S. college or university in fall 2008 — increased by 16%. This represents the largest percentage increase in international student enrollments since 1980/81.
See also these older articles for comparative purposes:
- November 2007 First-time International Student U.S. Enrollments Up 10.2 Percent
- November 2007 Record Numbers of U.S. Students Are Studying Abroad
02 October 2009 In Building Schools for Girls, Mountaineer Honors Sister's Memory Mountain climber turned humanitarian Greg Mortenson says his work of the past decade building schools in remote villages across Pakistan and Afghanistan has taught him one overriding lesson: Westerners can "drop bombs, build roads or put in electricity, but until the girls are educated, a society won’t change."
08 September 2009 Address by President Obama to America's Schoolchildren Obama focuses on responsibility, staying in school.
08 August 2008 Opening Ceremony Kicks Off 2008 Summer Olympic Games
28 April 2008 Milestones in U.S. Women's History
30 August 2007 After Facing Mobs 50 Years Ago, Nine Go Home to Honors As schools across America begin a new year, Little Rock’s largest high school is planning a 50-year reunion expected to attract presidents and poets. But all eyes will be on nine professionals in their mid-60s - the Little Rock Nine, the first blacks to attend all-white Central High School in 1957. Their enrollment sparked resistance and a constitutional crisis that would advance civil rights in America.
U.S. Cities in Focus
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