Clinton Town Hall Talks About Future of Global Policy
This morning, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke with media and youth around the world during the 59th Global Town Hall meeting of her tenure as Secretary of State. She has held Town Hall meetings around the world, giving journalists and citizens of countries she has visited the opportunity to ask her questions about the United States and its international relationships and policies. Today’s town hall meeting was special, as Clinton’s last day as Secretary of State is Feb. 1.
Youth and members of the press from around the world video-conferenced with Sec. Clinton in a one-hour question-and-answer dialogue moderated by Leigh Sales of the Australian Broadcasting Company. Questions were also taken via Facebook and Twitter. Featured countries included Lebanon, India, Japan, Colombia, and the United Kingdom.
Topics discussed ranged from foreign policy to economic relations to Clinton’s political plans after Feb. 1. EGPAF took the opportunity to tweet several questions about international public health and HIV/AIDS, including:
- We have the power to eliminate pediatric AIDS by 2015. Will we meet that goal? If not, why? #askstate @StateDept
- @PEPFAR has allowed us to protect babies around the world from HIV. How will @StateDept work to protect global HIV/AIDS funding?
- @PEPFAR's Blueprint focuses on eliminating new HIV infections in children. What are the biggest obstacles to achieving this goal? #askstate
It was disappointing not to hear any questions or discussion about the U.S. Government’s commitment to improving public health around the world. The majority of the conversation focused on foreign policy, with few references to international aid programs. However, it was good to see representation and questions from Nigeria, the country with the second-highest HIV burden in Africa (behind South Africa). Sec. Clinton suggested during the dialogue that countries need to take more ownership of their internal issues, and I hope that the U.S. Government will continue its partnerships with countries around the world, particularly those so deeply affected by HIV/AIDS, to strengthen their ability to meet these challenges head on in sustainable ways.
Michelle Betton is Associate Communications and Development Officer for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.