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Providing a house is not the same as providing a home: an interview with PRM Refugee Coordinator Sam Healy

(Featured image source: ShareAmerica.gov)

On September 12-13, 2016, the United States Mission to the European Union (USEU) sponsored and helped organize the “Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion” conference in Brussels, along with the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), the Council of Europe, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Canadian Mission to the European Union. In a number of speeches, panels, and workshops, the conference participants discussed the important next step in resolving the refugee crisis that Europe is trying to manage: integrating them into our societies.

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Sam Healy, PRM’s Refugee Coordinator at the U.S.Embassy in Belgrade (Source: USEU)

Members of the U.S. government played important roles during the conference. Chargé d’Affaires Adam Shub delivered a welcome address and two members of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migrants (PRM) presented case studies during the workshops. PRM’s Domestic Resettlement Section Chief Barbara Day’s workshop was titled “From Solidarity to Political Change,” and PRM’s Refugee Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Sam Healy, took part in a workshop titled “Housing Crisis vs. Refugee Crisis.”

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Fighting Traveling Child Sex Offenders

By Kamila Slanska, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Mission to the European Union

Special agents who investigate sexual crimes against children are my heroes because they rescue and protect the most vulnerable segment of our population, are confronted with disturbing content on a daily basis, and can be at significant risk during undercover operations.

We need to be talking more about the work that these heroes do. We also need to address what they are fighting against:  people who have been abusing four year-old girls since infancy causing them to require reconstructive surgery of their sexual organs; predators who kill prepubescent orphans with their hardcore sexual practices and then dispose of the bodies in makeshift graves (pedophiles then buy videos documenting these attrocities for up to $10,000), or families in developing countries who rent out their babies and toddlers to child sex offenders. One of the things we must aggressively address is the issue of traveling child sex offenders. Governments need to not only inform the population of the horrendous acts that these predators commit, but also work together to fight them. One way in which this can be accomplished is by developing systematic and automated information exchanges between countries.

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Organizing movie screenings, debates, panels, and trips: the USEU PD’s Programs and Exchanges Unit

By Tobias Van Assche, Information Specialist, U.S. Mission to the European Union.

Diplomacy does not have to be boring! Through the United States Mission to the European Union’s (USEU) Public Diplomacy Section, people interested in EU policy making can learn about topics that the United States (U.S.) cares deeply about in an interesting and entertaining fashion: by attending movie screenings, networking events, panel discussions, and even receiving scholarships or getting sent on an educational visit to the United States.

Since the United States was founded in 1776, it has always had a very close relationship with Europe, which has only grown stronger with the establishment of the European Union (EU) after World War II. In Brussels, USEU is tasked with helping to preserve and strengthen the ties between the two strong political and economic blocks and advancing U.S. policy priorities. This interaction does not only happen between senior diplomats behind closed doors; USEU also directly engages with scholars, researchers, activists, journalists, citizens, and public servants who are active or interested in EU policy making in Brussels—often referred to as the “Brussels Bubble”—through its Public Diplomacy (PD) section. Continue reading “Organizing movie screenings, debates, panels, and trips: the USEU PD’s Programs and Exchanges Unit”

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Fighting Terrorism through Customs Trade Partnerships

By Shawn Beddows, Deputy Attache, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Mission to the European Union

It is no secret that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 forever changed the world we live in. As a legacy U.S. Customs Inspector working in Newark, NJ on that fateful day, I can vividly recall the chaotic moments following the impacts of the planes into the World Trade Center buildings, which I could see from my office in the Newark/Elizabeth Seaport. Several of us quickly secured the perimeter of the U.S. Customs office building as the Twin Towers eventually collapsed in front of our eyes. It was at that moment that one of my colleagues, looked at me and said, “This job will never be the same again!” He could not have been anymore prophetic on that day.

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Transforming science through international collaboration at the NSF Brussels office

Nicole Peterson, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at NSF, and Jessica Arriens, NSF’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs

Scientific cooperation is stronger today than ever before. With increasing access to STEM education (Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics) and scientific facilities, opportunities for collaborative research are growing. Working together ensures we leverage both scientific resources and funding to improve science and relationships among people around the world. The National Science Foudation (NSF) Europe and Eurasia Office in Brussels that recently moved from Paris where it had been located since the 1980s is a hub for creating relationships with funders, scientists, and policymakers that can lead to better scientific collaborations, global research programs, and greater awareness of scientific results. With more than 55 percent of U.S. international research involving Europe or Eurasian countries, the Office plays an important role in maintaining our transatlantic connections.

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College of Europe Team Presents Social Media Project on Countering Violent Extremism at the State Department

(Featured Image Source: EUnited against Extremism Facebook page)

From the 24th to the 28th of June 2016, the “EUnited against Extremism” team from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium competed in Washington DC in the Peer 2 Peer Global Competition to challenge extremism, sponsored by the United States State Department and Facebook. In this competition, University students from around the world develop and execute campaigns and social media strategies against extremism that are credible, authentic, and believable to their peers and resonate within their communities. Of the 45 participating teams, the six finalists were invited to present their work at the State Department in Washington DC. Continue reading “College of Europe Team Presents Social Media Project on Countering Violent Extremism at the State Department”