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World Refugee Day: Turning Tragedy into Opportunity

By Oriana Luquetta, Pickering Fellow at the Department of Public Affairs at the United States Mission to the European Union

(Featured Image: Cmacauley)

Every day, the world is confronted with gut wrenching images of refugees trying to make it to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean in makeshift boats and rafts. In the first half of 2016 alone, more than 2,500 refugees have been reported dead or missing trying to make the perilous journey.[1] Others remain in refugee camps in countries such as Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. The UN estimates that currently some 65.3 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced, of whom 21.3 million are considered refugees [2]. Over half of all refugees come from just three war torn countries: Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan. Refugees worldwide share important characteristics – they all have been seperated from homes, families, and communities. They all have experienced loss and face uncertain futures. And they all look to the rest of the world, for support, for hope.

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USEU Co-Hosts a Screening of the Academy Award Nominated Documentary “Winter on Fire”

By Tobias Van Assche, Information Specialist at the U.S. Mission to the EU

On Tuesday, May 24, The United States Mission to the European Union (USEU), together with the Ukrainian Permanent Representation to the European Union, and the European Parliament, hosted a screening of the Academy Award nominated documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015)” about the large-scale Euromaidan protests against then-President Yanukovych in Kiev during the winter of 2013-2014. Some 200 senior diplomats, European politicians, members of the policy community, and press attended the event held in the regal Bozar theater in the center of Brussels, where two years earlier, President Obama delivered his first major foreign policy address following Russia’s occupation of Crimea (see transcript). After welcome remarks by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Andrej Plenkovic and Ukrainian Vice-Prime Minister for European And Euro-Atlantic Integration, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Winter on Fire director Evgeny Afineevsky introduced his documentary with a moving speech on the strength and conviction of the protestors who stood up for their beliefs. After the screening–which received a standing ovation–Afineevsky responded to questions from the audience.

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Screening of the Anthropologist: “Never work with children and animals”

By Tobias Van Assche, Information Specialist at the U.S. Mission to the EU

‘They say, never work with children or animals’, and now I know why.” With this statement, director Seth Kramer introduced his climate change documentary “the Anthropologist” to more than 300 attendees at the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels on May 19th, 2016. The screening, organized by the United States Mission to the European Union (USEU) and the United Nations (UN), was followed by a panel discussion with the movie’s director Seth Kramer, Anthropologist and Program Manager at the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Christine Haffner-Sifakis, Greenland Representative Minniguaq Kleist, and USEU Environmental Officer Mark Robinson.

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Why I’m Passionate about Standards……and you should be too!

By Marianne Drain, Commercial Officer, Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union There’s a look I get when I tell people I work on Standards. Eyes glaze. Subjects change. People suddenly need to use the restroom. Upon entering the EU, an immigration official, after asking a routine question on work, once told a Standards colleague, “wow – that sounds really boring!” So, … Continue reading Why I’m Passionate about Standards……and you should be too!

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Interview with U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Daniel B. Baer: “We will continue to push for all the aspects of the Minsk agreement to be honored”

 

On April 18th 2016, the United States Ambassador to the Organization for Security and  Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Daniel B. Baer, led a discussion with diplomats, journalists and civil society members at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels (GMF), in cooperation with the U.S. Mission to the European Union (USEU), on the OSCE’s role in the Russia/Ukraine crisis.

The OSCE, founded in Helsinki in 1975, offers a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. Continue reading “Interview with U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Daniel B. Baer: “We will continue to push for all the aspects of the Minsk agreement to be honored””