Dabke 101 – Learn How To Dance Dabke #InternationalDanceDay

Click Here!

Samir-BW-Dabke“To all people who want to learn Dabke, Have you ever wondered what may be holding you back from learning and being great at Dabke?  From being confident and joining in the fun at weddings and parties?  Are you ready to let loose and really enjoy yourself? Are you ready to learn Dabke that connects you with your culture, your friends and your family?  Are you ready to learn Dabke that will get you attention from a potential husband or wife? Maybe the attention of a group of guys or girls? If so, then you have come to the right place… My name is Samir Hasan, and with the help of my student Youssef,  I am here to help you!  Here is the thing…Training dozens of people to do Dabke and personally performing in hundreds of shows has given me a rare insight into how to perform and teach Dabke moves from many countries including Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and the Gulf.  I’m about to share with you some common errors along with my collection of Dabke moves I’ve called “Dabke101″ which I think are necessary for people to know if you are attending any Arab Wedding or Party.  LET ME TEACH YOU HOW TO DABKE!  On this very page you are reading at this very moment, I’m going to reveal to you the most efficient teaching methods for quickly learning Dabke while training in your own home at your own pace! WARNING: There are no pills or potions and this will take some hard work, so if you’re looking for a magic-fix then you’ve landed on the wrong site.  But if you are looking to have great fun, learn all sorts of Dabke steps, moves and routines from someone who has spent 15+ years in the industry then you’ve come to the right place. 

The Problem: Limited Time + Lack of Teachers

Let’s face it, like most other people you’ve looked around on the Internet, you’ve looked for clubs to join, you’ve looked for books and you might have even tried to YouTube it…There is nothing worth while out there.  If you’re lucky enough to find a teacher you have to make time to travel to their studio or pay lots of money for each session.  If you tried to form a group you deal with people not taking it seriously and missing classes.  If you’re really lucky and you find a group, they’re usually too advanced and you stand there with a puzzled look on your face trying to keep up!  Waste of time and STRESS! Let me ask you this… If you did find some videos on the Internet, who would you rather learn from?  An average guy who knows a few moves or a teacher who has done Dabke in front of International leaders and has taught countless numbers of people?! If you said “the teacher”, you’ve nailed it! Let’s say you got really lucky and you found a skilled Dabke dancer by chance.  If they don’t know how to teach you properly then you’ll both just waste your own time.  They also wont have any type of planned step by step structure that slowly teaches you and improves your Dabke skills even if you’ve never danced Dabke before…ever!

The Truth: There is Nowhere to Learn Dabke

The truth is that most of the great routines you find online and see at weddings take time and are taught personally from one person to another.  People don’t have tie time to learn or even teach these days especially if you’ve got a job, school or family to manage like the rest of us. Reality is your only chance to learn Dabke is a few hours every once in a while when you go to a wedding.  Here is what normally happens at weddings:  You get intimidated and go to the end of the line where people are doing the same old two step move.  You stay there and watch in awe as the guys at the front of the line jump around in laughter and fun.  You wish you were able to join in.  You should be at the front of the line! Imagine how proud your family and friends would be of you!  Imagine all the attention you will get from your friends and even the opposite sex!  Imagine the confidence! Imagine the fun…imagine!  Join me and turn your dream, your imagination into reality.

 

The Solution: Learning Directly From a Teacher on Your Own Time

Let me ask you another couple of questions…

  • Are you the go-to coach for Dabke in your City?
  • Have you trained dozens of dancers for shows all the way to dancing for the President of France?
  • Have you spent all of your spare time over the last 10+ years researching, attending workshops, dancing in shows and teaching people Dabke?

I have

And when you put that kind of dedication – that kind of passion – into developing and testing your moves, routines and teaching methods, you truly gain an incredible understanding of what is needed for people to learn Dabke and maybe more importantly, what must be left out, saving your time, energy and money.”

Blue For You #ootd #fashionpost #style

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Private Bitcoin And Digital Currency Trading Community

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Restoration of ancient sites and celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem Volunteer Opportunity posted by: CADIP

Volunteer Opportunity description

The project seeks to bring people of various cultures together to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace. The long term goal of the project is to prepare youth to make positive contributions to their future and society through the values of understanding, helping, contributing tolerance, and respectful coexistence. These goals are achieved through education, awareness, youth empowerment and international volunteer projects.

Restoration of ancient sites in Bethlehem

The volunteers will work in different areas in Bethlehem city. The work includes renovation of old sites near the Church of the Nativity and assisting the Bethlehem municipality in preparing for the Christmas season. The activities involve painting the streets, distribution of booklets and flyers to tourists, decorating walls, etc.

Restoration of ancient sites in Bethlehem

The volunteer project will be running at Christmas time, and Bethlehem is the best place to celebrate Christmas in.

More info: http://www.cadip.org/volunteer-in-palestine

Celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem

Volunteering at Christmas

Share the spirit of Christmas and spread some holiday cheer while lending a helping hand on one of our charitable projects around the globe.

www.cadip.org

How to apply

Enrollment and other similar volunteer projects: http://www.cadip.org

Give us a call:

USA: 310-882-7400; 646-657-2900; 617-841-0400;

Canada: 604-628-7400; 416-943-4900; 514-316-8500

Get involved with Israeli Apartheid Week

mail@bdsnationalcommittee.org

Want to support Palestinian freedom, justice and equality?

Join #IsraeliApartheidWeek 2016

Each year, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) takes place in more than 150 universities and cities across the world. With creative education and action, IAW aims to raise awareness about Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people and build support for the nonviolent Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In response to the impressive growth of BDS in the last few years, Israel and its right-wing allies in the west have launched repressive, anti-democratic attacks on the movement and the right to boycott, instead of fulfilling their obligations to end Israel’s violations of international law. This makes this year’s #IsraeliApartheidWeek more crucial than ever.

Support Palestinian popular resistance to oppression–join IAW 2016.

Check out apartheidweek.org and #IsraeliApartheidWeek to find out what’s happening in your area. More events in different cities are being added all the time, so do check back if there’s nothing in your city listed yet. 

Want to organise #IsraeliApartheidWeek events on your campus or in your city? Register your organisation here and you’ll receive an info pack full of ideas about how to organise #IsraeliApartheidWeek.

Dates:
UK: February 22-28
Europe: February 29-March 7
Palestine: March 1-10
South Africa: March 7-13
Arab World: March 20-26
US: various, including March 27-April 3
Latin America: April 10-24
Canada: various throughout March, check with local organisers

MEDIA NOTE: U.S. Treasury Sanctions Major Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Leaders, Financial Figures, Faciliatators and Supporters

 

U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

 

September 29, 2015                          

 

 TREASURY SANCTIONS MAJOR ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND THE LEVANT LEADERS, FINANCIAL FIGURES, FACILITATORS, AND SUPPORTERS

Coordinated Treasury, State, and United Nations Designations in Advance of the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism Underscore an International Focus on Defeating ISIL

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of 15 key Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorism facilitators pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. These designations focus on attacking ISIL’s finances by inhibiting ISIL’s financial leaders and facilitators from using the international financial system, and support President Obama’s strategy to disrupt and ultimately destroy ISIL. The State Department concurrently announced 15 additional ISIL-related designations, and amended the designations of two additional groups, under E.O. 13224. Demonstrating international resolve to counter ISIL, the United Nations (UN) today also added some of these domestic ISIL designations to the UN al-Qaida Sanctions List. These designations precede the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism to be held later today on the margins of the UN General Assembly meetings, and which will bring together leaders from more than 100 countries, 15 multilateral bodies, and 120 civil society and private sector organizations to review progress on and announce initiatives to counter ISIL, the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, and violent extremism.

As a result of today’s actions, any property or interest in property of the individuals and entities designated by Treasury or State within U.S. jurisdiction is frozen. Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated individuals and entities are generally prohibited.

“Treasury remains relentless about depleting ISIL’s financial strength and denying this violent terrorist group access to the international financial system,” said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “We will continue to hinder ISIL’s ability to gain, move, and use funds, and will work closely with our partners across the U.S. government and the international community to destroy this brutal organization.”

Treasury designated domestically the following ISIL officials and facilitators: Hasan al-Salahayn Salih al-Sha’ari, Ali Musa al-Shawakh, Tarad Mohammad Aljarba, Morad Laaboudi, Mu’tassim Yahya ‘Ali al-Rumaysh, Mounir Ben Dhaou Ben Brahim Ben Helal, Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi, Tuah Febriwansyah, Muhammad Sholeh Ibrahim, Nasir Muhammad ‘Awad al-Ghidani al-Harbi, Hafiz Saeed Khan, Muwaffaq Mustafa Muhammad al-Karmush, Bajro Ikanovic, Aqsa Mahmood and Omar Hussain. Several of these individuals were also included today on the UN al-Qaida Sanctions List. Consequently, all member states of the United Nations are obligated to deny these individuals access to the international financial system and prohibit any travel. 

The designations announced today also support the efforts of the Counter ISIL Finance Group (CIFG), which was formed in March 2015 in Rome and is co-led by Italy, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. The CIFG, which focuses on disrupting the financial and economic activities of ISIL, is one of five working groups that were established by the Coalition to Counter ISIL. The CIFG seeks to prevent ISIL’s use of the international financial system; counter ISIL’s extortion and exploitation of economic assets; deny ISIL funding from abroad; and prevent ISIL from providing financial or material support to its foreign affiliates. The third CIFG meeting is scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on October 6 and 7, 2015.

 

Hasan al-Salahayn Salih al-Sha’ari (al-Sha’ari)

Salih al-Sha’ari is being designated for providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Libyan national al-Sha’ari is an ISIL facilitator who has previously been associated with the group’s predecessor, the U.S. and UN-designated al-Qaida in Iraq. Now-deceased former AQI leader Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi trained al-Sha’ari. In mid-2012, al-Sha’ari was released from an Iraqi prison and returned to Libya, where he continued to support ISIL, subsequently starting a branch of ISIL in late 2014. From late 2012, al-Sha’ari provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to several individuals, including senior ISIL member and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Tariq Bin al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-‘Awni al-Harzi (AKA Tariq Abu Umar al-Tunisi), and provided experienced, trusted personnel to aid al-Harzi. By early 2014, al-Sha’ari and other associates had sworn themselves to ISIL and in the fall of 2014 he led ISIL convoys in Darnah, Libya.

Ali Musa al-Shawakh (al-Shawakh)

Al-Shawakh is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

As of mid-2015, Syrian national al-Shawakh served as ISIL’s governor for Raqqah, Syria, after previously serving as ISIL’s senior security official for Syria and as governor in Aleppo, roles in which he directed combat assignments for foreign fighters.  Al-Shawakh was in charge of ISIL’s detention of foreign hostages, and oversaw the appointment of other ISIL leaders. Al-Shawakh supervised security matters, including executions, interrogations, and transfers of ISIL prisoners, at an al-Raqqah detention facility used to hold foreign hostages and ISIL foreign recruits who had refused to fight. In mid-2014, al-Shawakh ordered the beheadings of two ISIL hostages. Al-Shawakh also served on a governance council chaired by ISIL leader and U.S. and UN-designated SDGT Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (AKA Dr. Ibrahim al-Badri).

Tarad Mohammad Aljarba (Aljarba)

Aljarba is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

As of April 2015, Saudi Arabian national Aljarba was ISIL’s senior Syria-Turkey border and logistics official. In 2014, Aljarba facilitated the travel from Turkey to Syria of prospective ISIL fighters from Australia, Europe, and the Middle East and managed ISIL’s processing center for new recruits in Azaz, Syria. As of mid-2014, Aljarba was also ISIL’s leader for operations outside of Syria and Iraq. He facilitated the travel to Syria of several European ISIL members in 2013.

Morad Laaboudi (Laaboudi)

Laaboudi is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Moroccan national Laaboudi is an ISIL-affiliated extremist, and as of early 2015, a Gaziantep, Turkey-based travel facilitator for ISIL, assisting fighters in crossing the Turkish-Syrian border into Syria.

Mu’tassim Yahya ‘Ali al-Rumaysh (al-Rumaysh)

Al-Rumaysh is being designated for providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Yemeni national al-Rumaysh is a financial and foreign fighter facilitator for ISIL who also has held membership in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Rumaysh also helped an ISIL member procure funds for the travel of foreign fighters from Yemen to Syria transiting Turkey. As of December 2013, al-Rumaysh coordinated with SDGT entities AQAP and Al-Nusrah Front to facilitate the travel of ISIL members. In November 2013, al-Rumaysh sent a group of Yemeni extremists to Turkey to U.S.-designated SDGT and UN Security Council Resolution 1267 designee Maysar Ali Musa Abdallah al-Juburi, who brought them to an AQAP facilitator in Syria.  

Mounir Ben Dhaou Ben Brahim Ben Helal (Helal)

Helal is being designated for providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, and for providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, AQIM, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Tunisian national Helal facilitates the travel and activities of foreign terrorist fighters, utilizing his experience in establishing and securing travel routes. As of late 2012, Helal was involved in a Tunisia-based terrorist facilitation network that recruited and transported volunteers to Syria, and supplied arms to U.S. designated SDGT al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Helal has provided material support to AQIM in North Africa and worked to assist foreign terrorist fighters’ travel throughout North Africa to Syria to join ISIL.

Aqsa Mahmood (Mahmood)

Mahmood is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

United Kingdom national Mahmood is an ISIL recruiter and member of an ISIL all-female police unit, who as of 2015, used social media to lure foreigners, especially Western women, to travel to Syria and join ISIL. In February 2015, Mahmood helped recruit three UK minors to travel to Syria, where they joined ISIL. At least one of the three minors had been in direct contact with Mahmood via social media in the days prior to their departure. As an ISIL recruiter, Mahmood posts practical information and advice to young women interested in joining ISIL on her blog. In blog posts, Mahmood has described the benefits of living under ISIL and urged individuals in the West to travel to Syria before it became difficult, among other topics.

In addition to recruiting for ISIL, as of September 2014, Mahmood served in the al-Khansaa Brigade, an all-female ISIL police unit enforcing the ultra-strict brand of sharia law imposed by ISIL in Raqqa, Syria. As of August 2014, Mahmood received a monthly salary for her role as an enforcer in the al-Khansaa Brigade, which imposes beatings, lashings, and executions for infractions of ISIL’s laws and manages ISIL’s brothels of Yazidi sex slaves in Raqqa, Syria.

Omar Hussain (Hussain)

Hussain is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

As of September 2015, UK national Hussain (AKA Abu Sa’eed al-Britani) was considered to be one of ISIL’s most prominent recruiters. As an ISIL fighter, he offered tips on evading British security to individuals interested in leaving the United Kingdom to fight with ISIL. In July 2015, Hussain confirmed that he had joined ISIL and was in Aleppo Province, Syria. Via his blog, he provided guidance about traveling to Syria to fight with ISIL and described alternate occupations to support the group for those unable to fight.

Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi (al-Jaburi)

Muhammad al-Jaburi is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, and providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, ISIL.

As of March 2015, Iraqi national al-Jaburi supervised ISIL’s oil and gas, antiquities, and mineral resources operations. In April 2015, al-Jaburi and now-deceased ISIL oil and gas official Fathi ben Awn ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi (AKA Abu Sayyaf) worked to establish a new funding stream for ISIL from increased production at oil fields held by the organization. In August of 2014, al-Jaburi was ISIL’s shari’a council chief and second in command in southern Mosul, Iraq.

Tuah Febriwansyah (Febriwansyah)

Febriwansyah is being designated for providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Indonesian national Febriwansyah is the leader of an Indonesia-based ISIL-aligned organization and has provided support to ISIL in the areas of recruitment, fundraising, and travel. The organization led by Febriwansyah has publicly sworn allegiance to ISIL.

On March 21, 2015, Indonesian police arrested Febriwansyah and five other Indonesian citizens for recruiting and funding Indonesians to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIL. Febriwansyah and his accomplices were accused by Indonesian police of facilitating travel for as many as 37 Indonesians on behalf of ISIL. Indonesian police charged Febriwansyah with terrorism offenses, including funding terrorism and violating the country’s “Information and Electronic Transactions Law.”

As of mid-2014, Jemmah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) leaders sought Febriwansyah’s support to bolster JAT during a schism over allegiance to ISIL. JAT, which seeks the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia, and has carried out numerous and deadly attacks against Indonesian government personnel, police, military, and civilians, was designated an FTO and SDGT on February 23, 2012.

Muhammad Sholeh Ibrahim (Ibrahim)

Ibrahim is being designated for acting for or on behalf of JAT, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Indonesian national Ibrahim has served as the acting emir of JAT since 2014. Ibrahim has supported ISIL and swore allegiance to the group in 2014. Ibrahim has also been involved in raising funds for JAT. As of 2014, Ibrahim served as a leader of JAT’s Solo (or Surakarta), Indonesia office. He previously was responsible for the JAT Solo office’s planning and strategy.   In mid-2011, Ibrahim organized buses to transport JAT supporters from Central Java to Jakarta for the trial of JAT founder Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, designated as an SDGT in April 2006. Additionally, Ibrahim was involved in registering new JAT paramilitary recruits in 2010 and took part in JAT paramilitary training in 2008.

Nasir Muhammad ‘Awad al-Ghidani al-Harbi (al-Harbi)

Al-Harbi is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

In mid-2015, Saudi Arabian national al-Harbi, an ISIL leader in Yemen, allegedly recruited for ISIL’s military forces in Yemen. Around 2014, al-Harbi received funding to implement ISIL’s strategy in Yemen. In late 2014, al-Harbi, the self-proclaimed ISIL leader in Yemen, facilitated the movement of people and material for ISIL operations in Saudi Arabia. He was in Yemen with a group that pledged allegiance to ISIL and received significant funding from either ISIL or an unidentified donor. As of September 2014, al-Harbi and others established contact with ISIL, and sought pledges of allegiance on ISIL’s behalf. Al-Harbi was commissioned by ISIL in Syria to gather pledges of allegiance in Yemen. He declined to recruit and facilitate efforts in Yemen on behalf of AQAP in favor of an alleged promise of 4,000 AQIM fighters by U.S. and UN-designated SDGT and ISIL leader Dr. Ibrahim al-Badri (AKA Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi). As of 2014, al-Harbi had provided funds to ISIL.

Hafiz Saeed Khan (Khan)

Khan is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

As of early 2015, ISIL leader al-Badri (AKA al-Baghdadi) appointed Pakistani national Khan as the emir of ISIL in the Khorasan (ISIL-K), the organization’s branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Khan was recruited to ISIL by al-Badri and pledged allegiance to him in October 2014.

Khan, as leader of ISIL-K, plays a central role in expanding ISIL’s operations in the region, commanding militants and coordinating the delivery of supplies and munitions, the travel of associates, and other arrangements. In mid-2015, Khan appointed ISIL representatives in Kunar Province and Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan and approved funding for the establishment of a training camp for ISIL fighters in western Afghanistan. ISIL militants under Khan’s command had taken control of several districts in Nangarhar Province in mid-2015. Khan in early 2015 claimed ISIL was responsible for the April 18, 2015 suicide attacks in Jalalabad City, Nangarhar Province which killed approximately 33 people. Khan formerly served as a senior commander in Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, an SDGT designated by the U.S. government in September 2010.

Muwaffaq Mustafa Muhammad al-Karmush (al-Karmush)

Al-Karmush is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

As of December 2014, al-Karmush supervised ISIL’s financial affairs, including salary payments. He previously oversaw ISIL’s military financial affairs and served as one of AQI’s financial chiefs.

Bajro Ikanovic (Ikanovic)

Ikanovic is being designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Bosnian national Ikanovic has held various leadership positions within ISIL in Iraq and Syria over the past several years, including on ISIL’s Shura Council in 2014. In December 2013, ISIL commander and SDGT Tarkhan Teymurazovich Batirashvili (AKA Abu Omar al-Shishani) promoted Ikanovic to head of the largest ISIL training camp in northern Syria.

 

For the identifying information regarding today’s action, click here.

 

###

New Immigrant Communities in the American Heartland: Nashville, Tennessee

New York Foreign Press Center

U.S. Department of State

======================================

WHAT:   New York Foreign Press Center Reporting Tour

TOPIC:   New Immigrant Communities in the American Heartland: Nashville, Tennessee

WHEN:   Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20

 

WHERE: Nashville, Tennessee

                

RSVP:     Please RSVP to nyfpc@state.gov by Friday, March 13, 2015.

 

BACKGROUND:  Nashville, Tennessee is traditionally known as Music City, USA for its thriving country music production scene.  In recent years, Nashville has also become a booming immigration hub as well, leading President Obama to hold a town hall meeting on his executive order on immigration there in December.  Since 2012, Nashville has the fastest-growing immigrant population of any American city, with the largest Kurdish diaspora population (11,000) outside of the Middle East, and increasing numbers of Sudanese, Somali, Burmese, Laotian, and Cambodian immigrants, along with a large, well-established Latino community.

Six years ago, the city was deeply divided during a referendum on whether to make English the official and only language of the city government. A broad cross-section of the city — businesses, civil liberties groups and others — united to defeat the measure.  Since then, Nashville has launched new public-private partnerships to become a model for integrating immigrants and other minority groups. Government initiatives, including Mayor Karl Dean’s Office of New Americans and MyCity Academy, involve immigrants in local government, expand economic and educational opportunities, and create partnerships between Metro and community organizations.

 

PROGRAM:  The schedule includes visits to the Mayor’s Office of New Americans, including a meeting with Mayor Karl Dean and a launch event for MyCity Academy, Casa Azafrán, where President Obama spoke on his executive action on immigration, the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration office for a naturalization ceremony, the Islamic Center of Nashville, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Japanese Consulate-General, and Metro Nashville Public Schools. We will also meet with local community and immigrant empowerment organizations such as the American Center for Outreach, American Muslim Advisory Council, Conexión Américas, Mesa Komal Commercial Kitchen, Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, and Justice for Our Neighbors.

LOGISTICS:  Journalists are responsible for airfare, meals, hotel, and any other costs associated with filing their stories.  Local transportation will be provided to meetings in Nashville.  Hotel recommendations will be provided once participation is confirmed.

Foreign Media Only, Please

======================================

NOTE: All events are subject to change.  Please call (646) 282-2830 or visit the FPC web site: http://www.fpc.state.gov for information on this schedule and other FPC programs.

=======================================

New York Foreign Press Center
799 UN Plaza, 10th Floor
New York, NY  10017
Phone: (646) 282-2830 || Fax: (646) 282-2847

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENTS OF EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, AND HONDURAS, AND THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA REGARDING: THE PLAN FOR THE ALLIANCE FOR PROSPERITY OF THE NORTHERN TRIANGLE

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release

 MEDIA NOTE

March 3, 2015

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENTS OF EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, AND HONDURAS, AND THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA REGARDING:

THE PLAN FOR THE ALLIANCE FOR PROSPERITY OF THE NORTHERN TRIANGLE

Begin Text:

The Presidents of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén; Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina; Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández; and, the Vice President of the United States, Joseph Biden, met in Guatemala City on March 2-3, 2015, with the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, to discuss the important commitments which will accelerate the implementation of the Plan for the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle of Central America.  The senior representatives also agreed to conduct joint high-level dialogues on security issues with relevant authorities, to discuss social issues with civil society, and to review trade and investment issues through meetings between the U.S. private sector and the private sectors of the Northern Triangle of Central America.  All these meetings will be held in the first half of this year.

The leaders stressed that their governments agreed to continue the development of the Plan for the Alliance for Prosperity of the North Triangle in an expedited and comprehensive manner, through coordinated efforts among the three countries of the Northern Triangle and with the technical support of the Inter-American Development Bank. They will continue this work throughout 2015.  The draft implementation plan and roadmap for each of the above-mentioned topics will be presented in Washington on March 16.  For its part, the Government of the United States reiterated its commitment to support these efforts.

The leaders agreed that the joint regional plan and its continued implementation represent significant milestones for the collaboration among the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The leaders reviewed recent progress in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, including the following examples:

  • El Salvador has passed an Investment Stability Law, giving investors assurances that tax and customs regulations will not change over the course of an investment.  It has also begun the process of restoring one-stop business registration for foreign investors.
  • The Government of El Salvador has created the National Council for Public Security and Coexistence to promote consensus on a public security strategy and a forum for dialogue between the government and multiple social actors; it has also established an Anti-Extortion Task Force.
  • El Salvador has passed the Development and Social Protection Law, which establishes a legal framework to support development, citizen protections, and social inclusion. Likewise, El Salvador conducted ambitious reforms in the area of health, laying the groundwork for a new, integrated health system.  El Salvador also has implemented important educational programs, such as “Full-Time School,” which allows for a holistic approach to expanding the educational system’s intervention model.
  • Guatemala has inducted new police officers through regional academies throughout the country that will be assigned to police stations for those geographic areas, continuing the policy of regionalization with a goal of deploying 35,000 agents nationwide.  This has already reduced murder rates from 46 to 31 persons per every 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Under its plan to implement the National Policy on Integrated Rural Development, the Government of Guatemala has reached agreement with 33 communities on reparations for communities where human rights were violated by the construction of the Chixoy dam, through Government Agreement 378-2014 of the Cabinet Council.
  • Guatemala has achieved a diversified energy grid incorporating new technologies such as natural gas, wind, and solar power, allowing for 60% of its energy generation to be based on renewable sources of energy, which contributes to reducing greenhouse gas effects and fulfills the objectives of Guatemala’s Climate Change Law of 2013.
  • The Government of the Republic of Honduras, in its renewed commitment to transparency in public administration, has become the first country to sign a Cooperation Agreement with Transparency International for the Promotion of Transparency, Combating Corruption, and Strengthening International Transparency Systems, which includes plans to make human resources and government procurement information publicly available.
  • Honduras developed mechanisms aimed at restoring peaceful coexistence, highlighting the following efforts and results: i) air, sea, and ground shields to prevent the entry of drugs into the country; ii) counternarcotics actions to combat the drugs that enter the country; iii) development of effective judicial authorities; iv) strengthening of democratic institutions; v) anti-corruption measures; vi) emphasis on the protection of human rights; vii) actions against poverty; and, viii) a security tax.  These actions resulted in a significant decrease in homicide rates from 86.5 in 2012 to 66.4 in 2014 for every 100,000 inhabitants.  Based on the same commitment, Honduras has extradited 7 Honduran and 8 foreign high-profile drug traffickers involved in Latin American drug networks.
  • In the area of fiscal management, Honduras reduced its fiscal deficit by more than 3 percentage points of GDP, closing at 4.5 in 2014.  Honduras increased tax revenue by 21% in 2014, and took specific actions to control public spending to include specific measures strengthening transparency in its public finances.

These examples of progress are the results of the commitments that the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are making to Central America’s success.  In this context, and well aware of the continued challenges, the leaders expressed their commitments on the following points:

1. The presidents of the Northern Triangle of Central America and the Vice President of the United States of America expressed a shared commitment to promote the strategic areas of the Alliance for Prosperity, such as: energizing the productive sectors of the economy; creating economic opportunities; developing human capital, citizen security, and social inclusion; improving public safety and enhancing access to the legal system; and strengthening institutions to increase trust in the state.

To that end, we, the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, recognizing the importance of promoting the productive sector of the economy in our countries, will:

1.1 Advance economic integration based on the legal frameworks of the Central American integration process, CAFTA-DR, and other existing trade agreements.

1.2 Welcome the signing by Honduras and Guatemala of the General Framework for the Establishment of the Customs Union, which includes, inter alia, the elimination of border crossings between both countries and the establishment of a unified customs area.  The details of this agreement will be defined and supported through negotiations to occur before December 2015.

1.3 Take steps to promote an integrated, efficient energy market among the countries of the Regional Electricity Market (MER), and the markets of neighboring countries.  Review existing regulations and gradually standardize them so that commercial transactions between countries may be conducted in an equitable, competitive, transparent manner, to ensure legal certainty and allow for the promotion and development of markets with reduced costs.  This will be addressed in subsequent forums in 2015, to be completed before the end of 2016.

1.4 During 2015, continue to promote the conditions for increased investment in the diversification of the energy grid, specifically to support measures resulting in the operation of the natural gas pipeline between Mexico and Central America, for which an agreement between the member countries of the Alliance will be required.  By March 13, Guatemala and Honduras will sign an additional protocol to the Mexico-Guatemala agreement, which will permit this interconnection work to go forward.

1.5 Promote a public-private dialogue regarding the implementation and monitoring of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle governments by mid-2015, through existing public-private partnerships.

1.6 Continue efforts to establish and run one-stop business registration windows for foreign investors before the end of 2015.

2. The Government of the United States will support the governments of the Northern Triangle to promote their productive sections with a view toward greater inclusion, by:

2.1 Facilitating trade with the support of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities, who can share proven risk management strategies and provide other types of training to make the transfer of goods across borders more secure and efficient.

2.2 Helping to implement actions to improve trade between the countries of the Northern Triangle, within the Central American Integration System.

2.3 Providing support for the integration of energy markets in Central America, Panama and Mexico, including by supporting the review of existing regulation to promote long-term contracts.

2.4 Providing technical assistance to develop laws that will incentivize the adoption of technologies and best practices for energy-efficiency.

2.5 Supporting rural development of the countries of the Northern Triangle.

2.6 Providing potential investors and project developers the financial and risk mitigation tools to make investments in the Northern Triangle more attractive, with the support of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

3. We, the countries of the Northern Triangle, will strengthen our strategies for social and economic development to achieve the following:

3.1 In line with national plans, identify the geographic areas of greatest need to focus development and investment by April 2015.

3.2 Establish a plan to strengthen and streamline investment in education, especially at the pre-school, secondary, and vocational levels by 2016.

3.3 Create the conditions to facilitate access to credit for micro, small, and medium enterprises through financial education programs, improvements to legal frameworks, and development of specific financial products beginning in 2015.

3.4 Expand existing programs to improve health services, nutrition, and child development.

3.5 Strengthen equal opportunities policies, especially for the economic empowerment of women, ethnic groups, and at-risk youth by 2016.  During the same year, each country will double the number of women and youth served and provided training by specialized community centers.

4. The United States government will support the Northern Triangle governments in meeting commitments for the development of economic and social opportunities for its citizens, giving special attention to the following:

4.1 Advancing economic prosperity with programs and training that accelerate business development in urban and rural areas.

4.2 Helping to create a better climate for micro, small, and medium businesses to create conditions to expand their access to credit and strengthen proven results throughout specialized business centers in the hemisphere, thus strengthening value chains.

4.3 Continuing efforts to boost family farming and food security through various programs, such as “Feed the Future.”

4.4 Implementing plans to improve access to education and educational quality for underserved populations, including indigenous and afro-descendant children in rural schools, as well as the expansion of educational and vocational training opportunities for at-risk youth.

4.5 Supporting populations along Central American border areas in order to bolster a surge in new economic activity in these communities.

4.6 Backing the efforts of the Northern Triangle countries to redouble their assistance to women and youth in specialized community centers.

5. We recognize the need to improve public security and access to justice; therefore, the leaders of the Northern Triangle agree to:

5.1 Expand security policies and programs, especially those that dismantle gangs and prevent gang violence, as well as by combating common crime, extortion, money laundering, human trafficking, illegal trafficking, and drug trafficking.   We will strengthen justice institutions, among others, using international best practices, depending on the specific context of the priority areas.

5.2 Promote approaches to strengthening the justice sector, emphasizing efficiency, transparency, and accountability, as well as decreasing case backlogs and promoting alternative dispute and domestic violence resolution techniques.

5.3 Improve prison systems, including infrastructure based on prisoner risk profiles, the capacity of prison staffs, and rehabilitation programs, including those focused on juvenile offenders and their prison conditions.

5.4 Deepen police reforms, including reforms focused on money laundering and human trafficking throughout 2015.  During the first half of 2015, Honduras will announce a proposal for the comprehensive reform of its educational system and its police training initiative, as well as its plan to train and contract 6,000 new police officers over the next three years.  Guatemala announced that it is in the process of reforming its immigration law in order to criminalize the trafficking of Guatemalans, especially children and adolescents.

5.5 Approve and strengthen laws against money laundering.  El Salvador has established an Anti-Extortion Task Force, and will begin in mid-2015 a legal reform to criminalize bulk cash smuggling.

5.6 Guatemala will promote reforms in its civil and commercial procedure codes to establish and streamline oral hearings and make more efficient its judicial proceedings during 2015. In addition it will create new specialized criminal investigative anti-money laundering units, asset forfeiture units, and cyber-crime units, in the first half of 2015.

6. The Government of the United States, along with the governments of the Northern Triangle, will back efforts to improve public safety and access to justice by supporting:

6.1 Police reforms, to including police training in the areas of internal affairs, vetting, and oversight and transparency mechanisms, as well as through the provision of equipment and information systems.

6.2  The work of governments to strengthen local mechanisms for the prevention of crime and violence.

6.3 The work of religious and civil organizations within the framework of government strategies to provide at-risk youth with life skills, job training, and recreational activities, and supporting civic groups to recover public spaces controlled by gangs and improve basic infrastructure.

6.4 The expansion and strengthening of centers against domestic violence and violence against women.

6.5 The strengthening of juvenile justice and alternatives to incarceration and detention.

6.6 The efforts of States to improve criminal investigations, especially through improved forensic laboratories.

6.7. The work of the security agencies to effectively dismantle transnational organized crime networks that carry drugs and money in coastal waters and across land borders.

7.  With the goal of promoting strengthened institutions, Northern Triangle countries will continue to promote transparency and engender confidence in our citizens.  In this regard we will:

7.1. Promote independent monitoring mechanisms, using best practices to ensure governmental transparency throughout 2015.

7.2. Increase and strengthen tax revenues through greater efficiency and effectiveness in tax collection, strengthening tax authorities, simplifying tax codes, and professionalizing tax collection authorities.

7.3. Join forces to improve the professionalization of the civil service, starting in 2015.

8  The Government of the United States will support governments of the Northern Triangle in strengthening its institutions, by:

8.1. Working with Central American governments to provide expert advisors, such as those from the Department of the Treasury, and including assistance to governments to leverage additional resources through more efficient tax administration and public-private partnerships.

Finally, with regards to implementing this plan, we agreed to take into account existing best practices in the region, such as the model implemented by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, to maximize the impact of our initiatives and actions that seek to be effective and transparent, and which recognize the leading role of the state and its public institutions.

Agreed to in Guatemala City on March 3, 2015.

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