Marsha McLean
Senior Consultant, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Washington, DC
April 9, 2010

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QUESTION: 2010 is a big year for the Americas. Tell us why.

MS. MCLEAN: We have four countries in the hemisphere celebrating 200 years of democracy. The countries are Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. And we have a number of events planned throughout the year, including academic conferences. And all of us across America are joining in these celebrations and in honoring our shared history and partnership with these countries and across our hemisphere. So I am pleased to be a part of that team that's putting together and pulling together some of these events. And for more information on that, you might want to go to, where Secretary Clinton has done a bicentennial address.

QUESTION: We understand there is a big event coming up in Denver in celebration of the bicentennials. Could you talk to us about that?

MS. MCLEAN: We're really looking forward to celebrating what we are calling the "Denver Biennial" in July. This is a celebration that is put on by the city of Denver. In fact, Mayor Hickenlooper, it was his idea, and it coincides with the bicentennials that we're celebrating in our hemisphere. And so, it's really a celebration of the Americas. And it's the very first time that an American city--a U.S. city--will have hosted a bicentennial and a celebration of the entire hemisphere. And, it's very exciting because they have three streams of activity planned. The first stream is on art and culture. So, it will feature, really, a wide array of exhibits and artistic endeavors, including foods of the Americas. The second stream is called the "innovation stream." And they have set aside a big building in the center of Denver which is going to be called the "Hall of Innovation," and it's going to feature the cutting edge, exciting innovations from throughout the hemisphere. The third stream, which we are mostly involved in here at the State Department, is a series of high-level round table dialogues, and they are going to cover a wide range of topics, seven topics, which will include things like: women as drivers of the new economy, energy and climate change, health and transnational threats, and closing the education gap. We are very excited to be part of this, a lot of officials are going to be joining them, and we're looking forward to spending a very productive month in Denver.

QUESTION: We understand you are conducting some lead-up events to Denver throughout the region. Tell us about them.

MS. MCLEAN: I am actually leaving for Argentina on Monday to do the first of a series of inquiries in the hemisphere. We felt it was important to augment the high-level roundtable dialogues in Denver with a series of discussions which bring the voices of the hemisphere into Denver in July. So the first inquiry is going to be on energy and climate change, and that will be in Argentina. So, four of our embassies have volunteered to do this. Argentina will be the first and that will be on energy and climate change, as I said. The second will be El Salvador. They are going to be talking about trade and trade partnerships and how that can help leverage the economy. The third one in May will be in Guatemala, and they would like to discuss the topic of education in closing the achievement gap. And lastly in Honduras, we will be talking about democracy and poverty reduction. So in each of these countries, there will be about 40 people gathered from a good cross-section of the population, and I will be leading some discussions to help them focus on the topic of their choice. A couple of those people then will get to join us in Denver in July, and the highlights of those discussions from the voices of the hemisphere will be fed into the roundtable dialogues. So that will be a really exciting time, and it will be really top off the celebration of the bicentennials in this year 2010.