Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
December 22, 2011

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

This is the last “community letter” of 2011from your PRM team. It has been a year of enormous political, security, and humanitarian challenges across the globe, and with good budget news last week from the Congress, our latest travel to Jordan and Lebanon demonstrated why our work remains so very important as we look forward to the new year.

Along with Dorothy Shea, Jennifer Williams, and our teams in Amman and Beirut, I saw first-hand the conditions of displaced Syrians who fled the violence of the Asad regime. Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey are providing lifesaving support for some 15,000 who already left Syria and our international and non-governmental organization partners on the ground are doing a terrific job in coordination with them. We spoke with Syrian men, women and children, as well as their generous host communities, about their concerns and experiences, and I conveyed to government officials our appreciation for the protection they are providing and encouraged them to continue meeting rising humanitarian needs. We remain fully committed to supporting these important humanitarian efforts.

During our visit, we also focused on the vital programs in education, health, and relief and social services that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) provides on a daily basis to five million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. UNRWA’s commitment to peace and tolerance is a force for stability in the region and is an indispensible counterweight to extremism.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Kelly Clements delivers remarks at the inauguration
of UNRWA’s Amman New Camp Health Center
November 30, 2011

In Jordan, I had the pleasure to officially open the reconstructed Amman New Camp Health Center, which now offers preventive and curative health services to more than 145,000 Palestinian refugees in the camp and surrounding area. With a 2009 contribution of $1.9 million dollars from the United States, thousands of children will enjoy a healthier future.

A Palestinian refugee mother brings her newborn baby to the Amman New Camp Health Clinic for immunizations
November 30, 2011

Our visit to Nahr al-Bared Camp in northern Lebanon was a good opportunity to review UNRWA’s progress towards reconstructing the homes of 29,000 displaced Palestinian refugees. We toured the camp and had a chance to chat with a group of displaced residents currently staying in temporary shelters. As of October 2011, more than 300 families have received keys to their new homes and some local businesses have been able to return. The completion of the first of three school buildings has allowed more than 2,400 refugee children to relocate from overcrowded temporary schools.

A group of displaced Palestinian refugee women from Nahr al-Bared Camp in north Lebanon
share their experiences with DAS Clements and the U.S. delegation
December 2, 2011

Supporting Iraqi refugees in the region continues to be one of our top priorities. In Beirut, we met with U.S. Government-funded partners who provide vocational training and job placement services for them, and we also visited a site where a faith-based organization is offering protection assistance to Iraqis without legal status in Lebanon. We deeply appreciate the generous help the Governments of Jordan and Lebanon are giving Iraqi refugees until durable solutions are found for them.

This visit to the region strengthened my conviction that the critical work the United States is supporting in the Middle East will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of millions of displaced men, women and children. Over the coming weeks and months, we look forward to continuing these important conversations with host governments, international partners, and civil society as we all work toward the goal of providing a hopeful, bright future for each refugee. Thank you for all your support.

Happy New Year,

Kelly T. Clements
Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Population, Refugees, and Migration