Daily Archives: August 24, 2016

Africa: Meet and Greet With Staff and Families of Embassy Abuja

Meet and Greet With Staff and Families of Embassy Abuja


John Kerry
Secretary of State

Embassy Abuja
Abuja, Nigeria
August 24, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Good morning, everybody. How are you? Everybody good?

AUDIENCE: (Cheering.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Now, let’s do a little organizing here. You’re getting wet, man. (Laughter.) So I want you – push back a little bit so – now we – I want you to get out of the water. Both sides – you got to organize this a little bit. I want you to show the common sense of people who work in the United States embassy. Are you less wet now? You okay? You guys are great. I really appreciate the kids coming out. What’s going on, man? You want to talk to me? Come on up here. Come here. Come here, come here, come here. (Applause.)

How you doing? What’s on your mind? How are you doing?

PARTICIPANT: Doing fine. (Applause.)

SECRETARY KERRY: What’s your name?

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Okay. Are you having fun?


SECRETARY KERRY: But you’re getting wet, right?


SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s just water.

PARTICIPANT: Yeah. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah. He’s not so sure how great that is. (Laughter.) Anyway, well, I’m really proud of you for being here. Are you going to school?


SECRETARY KERRY: Good. All right. You learning a lot? Yeah. (Laughter.) Not so sure. Okay.

Before I destroy this guy’s – I better get him back to his parents. You want to go back to mom and dad over here – or mom, anyway? That a boy. There you go. All right. There you go. (Applause.) All right. And see, while he came up here it started to rain less. It’s pretty good. (Laughter.)

I want to thank Martin Brennan for coming out of retirement to take on this task for the time being until we get our ambassador here, and I’m really appreciative. He’s a pro. He spent a lot of time in Africa. He’s been here before, and we’re really proud to have him willing to come back. He was in retirement in Italy and in New Mexico, but now he is here and part of the family. And Martin, we’re deeply appreciative. Thank you very, very much for doing that. (Applause.)

And our deputy chief of mission arrived a couple weeks ago, David Young. Where’s David hanging out over here? Everybody, he’s a terrific guy. He’s going to be part of this team, and when we get everybody full speed here, I’m very excited about what is going to be happening.

Thank you for coming out. I think we got about something like 500 local employees here, locally hired employees added. Would all the local employees raise your hands and I can – thank you. (Cheering.) Yes. We cannot possibly do what we do anywhere in the world without your commitment and your help, and we’re deeply appreciative for everything that you are doing.

As you know, this is my third trip out here in 20 months, and yesterday President Buhari was very complimentary and thanked me for having come out here during the election, when I met with him and with President Goodluck Jonathan. And as President Buhari said, I read them the riot act, quote, about the elections and the imperative of these elections being free and fair and accountable and transparent, and that there not be violence. And indeed, Nigeria had a terrific election with a peaceful change of power, and now a president who is committed to moving this country forward and dealing with corruption, dealing with the economic challenges – obviously, with the price of oil reduced, there’s a huge economic challenge – and also dealing with the challenge of Boko Haram. We are making enormous progress in pushing back against Boko Haram, and I came here now to reaffirm the promise of the United States to stand by Nigeria, to help Nigeria. We will win this battle against Boko Haram, promise you. (Applause.)

And we will also do everything in our power to help to adjust the economy to a change. No country should be single-resource dominated in its economy, and the lesson is you’ve got to diversify. I just came from an amazing meeting with a group of young women, Nigerian women. We all know – and girls – and we all know that here in Nigeria, there are 6 to 8 million, 10 million girls who aren’t in school. And we know the difference that educating young women can make to the capacity to build a future for a country. And I quoted the Egyptian poet Hafez Ibrahim, who said, “educate a woman, you build a nation.” That is so true. You cannot have a country that works leaving half of your population on the sidelines. So we are committed, deeply committed, to helping girls to be able to go to school, to helping girls to be able to have opportunity, to trying to change this notion of forced marriage in childhood – 10, 11, 12 years old – and also trying to deal with the problem of female mutilation, which we really need to see stop.

So there’s so much on the table here. This is a country that has enormous capacity, enormous potential, and we want to help tap into it. I go to a lot of countries; I’ve traveled to more than 80-some countries. I don’t know what the number is now and I’m not tracking it. But in every single one of them, I get a chance to see what is going on and where that country is. Some of them, obviously, very developed – when I go to Europe, or nowadays you go to China, Korea, and other countries – they’ve transitioned. This is a country yet to fully transition. And so all of you are really part of a critical moment of transformation, and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to work in an embassy and work in a place where our policies are geared to try to help accelerate that transformation and shape that transformation.

One of the things that President Buhari said to me yesterday was – when I came here before the election last year, he said you didn’t come here asking for anything for the United States. You didn’t come here seeking a contract; you weren’t here to try to get something. You were here to try to help us be able to do something. And I’m – I like to think that that is one of the things that really distinguishes the efforts of the United States. Yes, we have interests, but by and large our interests are in the safety and security of another country. Our interests are in peace and stability. Our interests are in other people being able to live their potential to the fullest and be able to experience the blessings that we are able to live with in the United States of America.

So I just want to say thank you to you. I want to thank you for taking on these jobs. I want to thank you for the work you do to help to change lives. There are a lot of things you can choose to do in life and a lot of people make their choices. Not everybody gets to get up every single day and go to work and know that you can make a difference in the lives of other people, you can make a difference in the life of a country, and you can help the planet to be a better, safer, more prosperous place, where everybody gets to enjoy their human rights, their dignity, and the possibilities of life lived in peace. So God bless you all. Thank you so much for what you’re doing, and go get dry quickly. All right. (Applause.) Thank you.

Africa: Remarks at a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Girls Event

Remarks at a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Girls Event


John Kerry
Secretary of State

U.S. Embassy
Abuja, Nigeria
August 24, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you, Cathy. First of all, let me thank you for your tremendous work and leadership. We’re very proud of – Ambassador Russell’s really been at the forefront of leading efforts like this around the world, and I’ve seen her in more places around the world than I see her in Washington at the State Department. (Laughter.)

This is a privilege for me. I am a father of two daughters, and they’ve both been very lucky to have great opportunities in their lives. One is a doctor today and one is a filmmaker today. And I also had the privilege – we are in the Rosa Parks Room here. I don’t know if you know that, but – or all of you know who Rosa Parks is, but Rosa Parks was a very, very famous civil rights activist in America who sat in a bus and refused to move when people told her she had to move, because as an African American, she wasn’t allowed to sit where she was trying to sit. But she stayed where she was and she became a symbol of people standing up and fighting for their rights. So she sat down, but she stood up, if you know what I mean. And it was a symbol to people – it inspired a movement. All of you are inspirational, and I really appreciate your being here.

I know you face enormous challenge of – as Cathy said, there are millions of young women not in school, who don’t even have the opportunity to go to school. There many, many too many young women who are pushed into a forced marriage at a young age. And so we’re working very hard on a program that is about women’s choice, about women being able to make choices. And I started a program about young adolescent girls’ empowerment within the State Department, which Cathy is busy implementing all around the world. And what we’re trying to do is point out that – the famous Egyptian poet, Hafez Ibrahim, said that you educate a woman, you create a world, you create a community. It’s how you, in fact, change things.

And so the work you’re engaged in could not be more important. I know some of you are involved in technology and computers and writing code and doing different things, but I want to hear from you today sort of how we can together work in order to empower everybody to be able to make their own choices. We long ago learned in our country that you cannot build the community that works, leaving half the people in the community on the sidelines. You can’t live to your full potential as a nation unless you have your whole society engaged. And so that’s really what the poet meant when he talked about if you educate a woman, you create a nation. You’re creating something much more out of people being able to make their choices and be able to be involved. And of course, the third part of this is – you’ve got the forced marriage, you’ve got the education issue. You also have this issue of mutilation, which is something that obviously is cultural; we understand that. But again, it runs counter to the empowerment of an individual and to the rights of an individual person.

And so I salute you for your courage, I salute you for your vision and your commitment to try to help to change things, and we want to work with you. USAID has committed $100 million to this effort to be able to help people to make their own choices and to be educated about what those choices are. And it’s – it won’t happen overnight, it’s long, hard work, but it takes the individual commitment of people like yourselves to be able to try to make it happen.

So I would be delighted to hear from you and I hope we can just open up and have a good conversation.

John Snow Inc. (JSI) Selected to Manage Grants For New DREAMS-Innovation Challenge Fund

An ambitious US Department of State initiative, the DREAMS-Innovation Challenge aims to dramatically reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and women in 10 sub-Saharan countries.

BOSTON, Aug. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — John Snow, Inc. (JSI) has been selected as funds manager for the DREAMS Innovation Challenge (DREAMS-IC). JSI will oversee awards to more than 50 organizations selected to implement innovative DREAMS activities.

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160824/400895LOGO

John Snow, Inc. Logo

DREAMS is dedicated to reducing new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women by 40 percent in the high-burden geographic areas of 10 African countries by the end of 2017. It was developed under a public-private partnership between PEPFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and Viiv Healthcare.

As the DREAMS-IC funds manager, JSI provides financial oversight of and provision of technical support to grantees. JSI has a strong record in grants management and technical assistance for strengthening institutional and technical capacity to halt new HIV infections, and has supported more than 500 nongovernmental organizations over the past 10 years.

“We are so pleased to be working with DREAMS-IC implementing partners to improve opportunities for adolescent girls and young women,” commented Joel Lamstein, JSI president. “DREAMS funding will help them complete secondary school, gain employment, and access all the health and social services needed to prevent HIV infection.”

DREAMS-IC will work in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to help girls and young women become Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe Women. This initiative supports new program approaches and robust documentation of successful strategies.

Between 2008 and 2013, JSI managed two New Partners Initiative programs that oversaw grants to more than 35 NGOs across East and Southern Africa, helping many to become prime recipients of PEPFAR funds.

JSI also implements USAID’s AIDSfree Project, which aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of high-impact, evidence-based HIV interventions to meet country-specific goals and objectives. JSI also advances community-owned programs to improve population health under the USAID-funded Advancing Partners and Communities project globally, including DREAMS-IC countries.

Learn more about the DREAMS-Innovation challenge.

Penelope Riseborough
Director of Communications
(617) 482 9485

Folami Harris
Project Director
(617) 482 9485

Remains of Scottish soldiers found in centuries-old mass grave will be reburied close to where they were found in Durham

THE REMAINS of Scottish soldiers discovered in a centuries-old mass grave in Durham will be reburied in the city once research on their bones has been completed, it has been revealed today.

The 17th century soldiers captured at the Battle of Dunbar, Scotland, were found on the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site in November 2013.

Durham University announced this morning the soldiers will be laid to rest at the Elvet Hill Road Cemetery in Durham – close to where their remains were originally found.

They will also be permanently commemorated with a plaque near to the site where they were discovered, which will be made from stone cut in Dunbar.

The decision follows extensive consultation with a range of interested parties about what should happen next to the remains in terms of further research, reburial and commemoration.

It is intended that these individuals and organisations continue to be involved in this next phase of the project.

Durham University will apply to the Ministry of Justice for an extension to the timescales of the exhumation licence, to allow for further research to be completed before reburial.

Research will most likely be completed some time in late 2017, after which reburial will take place. A small sample of teeth will be retained by Durham University to allow for further research as new techniques and opportunities become available.

In making the decision on where the remains should be reburied, Durham University had to consider its ethical, moral and legal responsibilities.

The final decisions have been approved by both the University’s Executive Committee and the University Ethics Advisory Committee.

Options considered by the university included whether to rebury the remains in Durham or at an alternative site in Scotland, as suggested by some parties during the consultation.

The remains of the soldiers were found in a mass grave during construction work on Durham University’s Palace Green Library café in November 2013.

None of the skeletons exhumed is complete as, in keeping with archaeological best practice, only those remains directly affected by the construction work were exhumed.

Analysis led by Durham University showed that these were the remains of Scottish soldiers from the Battle of Dunbar, answering an almost 400-year-old mystery as to where those soldiers who died had been buried.

As an estimated 1,700 prisoners from the battle died and were buried in Durham, it is very possible that there are more mass graves under buildings on Palace Green which were constructed up to 260 years ago.

The University’s project team concluded that, given the incomplete nature of the skeletons, limiting the distance between those remains that have been exhumed and those still in the original mass graves was the most ethically responsible course of action.

It was also agreed that keeping these individuals as close as possible to their comrades would be morally appropriate.

Reburial of the remains in Durham conforms to standard legal conditions governing the exhumation of human remains, as set out by the Ministry of Justice, which usually requires reburial in the closest burial site in use. The decision is also in line with established archaeological best practice.

Professor David Cowling, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Arts and Humanities at Durham University, said: “The decision on where to rebury the soldiers was very complex.

“We were acutely aware of the strength and depth of interest amongst many about the fate of these soldiers, whilst at the same time recognising our ethical, moral and legal obligations.

“All options were explored fully by the University and in the end it was felt that the case for reburying the remains in Durham and also commemorating them here with a plaque was strongest.”

A key part of the decision-making process has been extensive consultation. The team worked with professional bodies and other academics to consider existing best practice and comparative case studies, including the decisions around the reburial of the remains of England’s King Richard III.

Meetings and public events in Dunbar and Durham also enabled the University’s project team to present its findings to over 250 members of the public and hear from interested groups and individuals.

Professor Chris Gerrard, Head of the Project Team at Durham University, said: “Consultation has helped us to make a fully informed decision regarding what happens next to the remains.

“It has been hugely rewarding to see the level of interest in the Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project.

“All those we consulted with agreed that a respectful and dignified reburial and commemoration was vital. There have been some excellent suggestions for how this should be achieved, such as using Scottish soil for the reburial and stone from Dunbar for the commemorative plaque.”

A plaque in Durham Cathedral dedicated to the soldiers, which was installed in November 2011, will also be updated so wording can reflect the fact that the final resting place of the soldiers is now known.

Durham University and Durham Cathedral intend to hold a commemorative event later this year to remember the soldiers and unveil both the new and the updated plaques.

The University hopes that individuals and groups who have shown such an interest in the project to date will work with it in the planning and delivery of these events.

Canon Rosalind Brown, of Durham Cathedral, said: “The hope of both Durham Cathedral and Durham University is that interested parties will join us in planning a fitting and dignified reburial and commemoration for the soldiers.

“We will also be working closely with both the local church and churches in Scotland to plan this.”

The announcement follows confirmation in September 2015 that the remains, uncovered during construction of a new café for the University’s Palace Green Library in November 2013, were those of Scottish soldiers taken prisoner after the 1650 Battle of Dunbar.

Following the Battle of Dunbar, one of the most brutal and short battles of the 17th Century civil wars, thousands of soldiers were marched over 100 miles from the South East of Scotland to Durham in North East England. Around 3,000 soldiers were imprisoned in Durham Cathedral and Castle, at a time when the Cathedral was empty and abandoned.

Those that survived imprisonment in Durham were transported to different parts of the world including Virginia and New England, USA, where they worked as indentured servants.

Research on the remains is being undertaken by Durham University’s Department of Archaeology. The aim is to learn more about where the soldiers came from, their health and what illnesses they suffered from at different stages of their lives.

Police arrest British soldier in Northern Ireland terrorism probe

A serving member of the British armed forces has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism linked to Northern Ireland.

The 30-year-old was held in Somerset at around 12.20pm on Wednesday and Scotland Yard said a house in South Devon and a wooded area were being searched.

He was arrested on suspicion of preparation for acts of terrorism in a pre-planned swoop as part of an investigation into Northern Ireland-related terrorism.

Scotland Yard says there’s “no intelligence to suggest an immediate threat”.

Police in the North are also carrying out searches as part of the investigation.

Scotland Yard said: “A 30-year-old man has been arrested in Somerset on suspicion of terrorism offences.

“He was arrested at 12.20pm on Wednesday August 24 by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter Terrorism Command, supported by colleagues from Avon and Somerset and Devon and Cornwall Police, on suspicion of being involved in the preparation of acts of terrorism under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act.

“Today’s arrest was pre-planned and intelligence-led as part of an investigation into Northern Ireland-related terrorism. The public can be reassured that there is no intelligence to suggest an immediate threat to our communities.”

No armed police were involved in the arrest.