May 2, 2012—With support from the ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility, managed by Nathan Associates, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) spent 10 days in Washington DC and New York City initiating discussions on how to address serious matters affecting women and children in Southeast Asia, including prenatal and maternal healthcare, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, and human trafficking. The ACWC delegation consisted of representatives from all ten ASEAN Member States as well as the ASEAN Secretariat.
In Washington DC, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer, welcomed the delegation on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and outlined U.S. government priorities, activities, and programs that support the advancement of women. The delegation also met with U.S government officials and numerous NGOs and academics to discuss international migration, human trafficking, gender-based violence, the importance of building coalitions, and strategies for reaching out to the ASEAN community.
“It was a pleasure to welcome the ACWC to the United States and to facilitate what I hope were mutually informative exchanges between the ACWC representatives and their U.S. counterparts,” said Ambassador Verveer. “I am confident that their visit here will be just the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership between the United States and ASEAN to protect and raise the status of women and children everywhere. Our global prosperity and stability depend upon it.”
In New York City, the delegation met with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, the United Nations Population Fund, and UNICEF. They also met with representatives of Goldman Sachs, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast to discuss how private foundations and organizations can support the rights of women and children; joined a roundtable discussion hosted by New York University’s Center for Global Affairs; and visited a middle school supported by the Children’s Aid Society.
“This study visit to the United States has substantially widened ACWC’s perspective with regard to the promotion and protection of women’s and children’s rights in ASEAN,” said Mdm. Kanda Vajrabhaya, Chair of the ACWC and Thailand’s Women’s Rights Representative. “ACWC welcomes the possibility to collaborate in the projects and activities of mutual interest in the future and hopes that the networks established during the visit will be maintained and strengthened.”
The ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility is one of five projects in ASEAN managed by Nathan Associates and funded by USAID and the Department of State.