Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  14 / 84 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 14 / 84 Next Page
Page Background

14

OCTOBER 2016

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

As a group, we have galva-

nized unprecedented action for our

oceans, protecting millions of square

kilometers, more than twice the size

of India. We’ve elevated these issue

to a global stage, and we’ve educated

our leaders and the public on how

much our climate, food security,

economic security and ultimately

our future on this planet depends

on the health of our oceans.

—Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, speaking

at the Our Ocean conference,

Department of State,

Washington, D.C., Sept. 15

Contemporary Quote

for those who face an “ongoing serious

threat” as a result of having provided criti-

cal linguistic support in Afghanistan and

Iraq. In the last two years, 8,000 Afghans

and their immediate families were issued

visas through the program.

Congress has responded to the

program parsimoniously, allocating the

special visas piecemeal through its annual

defense policy bill. Since the end of 2014,

7,000 visas have been authorized for

translators and interpreters. Only 3,000

of these visas remain to be allocated, but

meanwhile more than 12,000 individuals

remain in line.

Efforts to authorize more visas have

been stymied in the Congress. “People

are going to die,” Senator John McCain

(R-Ariz.), a staunch supporter of the

program, stated bluntly during a Senate

debate on the question. “Don’t you under-

stand that gravity of that?”

Much of the resistance seems to stem

from a growing discomfort with immi-

grants. One counterproposal is that for

every interpreter-and-translator visa, the

number of other visas available to ordi-

nary immigrants should be reduced—to

maintain a ceiling on the total number of

immigrants entering the country.

Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker sus-

pects a more sinister motivation, asking if

anti-Muslim sentiment might be behind

lawmakers’ reluctance to approve the

special visas.

Debating whether to help those who

helped the United States is itself damag-

ing, says Mr. Crocker, because it leaves

people wondering, as he put it, “What

kind of people are those Americans?”

Restroom Rights

A General Services Administration bulletin published in the Federal Register on Aug. 18 confirms that feder

al

employees have the right to use the rest-

room that corresponds with their gender

identity.

This issue has received national cover-

age during the last year, as schools and

organizations at the state level sought to

legislate the use of restrooms by transgen-

der people.

GSA states that failure to allow all

federal workers to use a restroom cor-

responding to their gender identity would

be considered sex discrimination. The

memo also confirms that no proof is

required of federal workers wishing to

avail themselves of this right.

Finally, it states that employers may

not restrict a transgender person to a

single-user restroom, unless that restroom

is also available to all employees who

might choose to use it.

Our Ocean, Our Future

State’s Instagram Taken Over by

Actor Activist Adrian Grenier

T

he Our Ocean conference

hosted by the State Depart-

ment on Sept. 15-16 drew world

leaders from government, business,

philanthropy and the nongovern-

mental community, as well as

Hollywood actor activists. The State

Department Delegates Lounge was

turned into an underwater wonder-

land, and the Georgetown University

campus was also utilized. Almost

all of the events were live-streamed.

More than $5 billion was committed

to the cause of saving the oceans,

and dozens of initiatives were

launched. Many of the major speak-

ers at the conference called out Sec.

John Kerry especially to thank him

for his leadership on the issue.