Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
The Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) facilitates, supports and coordinates international activities of the Department to advance the Department's mission and support complementary U.S. foreign policy priorities. The Office conducts the following activities:
Coordinates international activities involving more than one bureau.
Identifies international policy issues relevant to the Department, consults with Departmental and Bureau experts, analyzes and facilitates the development of the Department's policy positions.
Initiates and coordinates efforts to marshal the Department's expertise in support of complementary U.S. foreign policy priorities.
Serves as principal contact for requests from outside the Department for international cooperation and provides guidance in responding to requests.
Represents the Department in interagency forums on international issues and in international diplomatic meetings that are relevant to the Department's mission or that can benefit from Departmental expertise.
Reviews Departmental and Bureau agreements with foreign countries.
Promotes and facilitates the provision of technical assistance to foreign countries from experts within the Department and its bureaus, and coordinates with bureaus to maximize the extent to which such efforts further United States Government, Department and bureau policies and objectives.
Develops and implements projects to provide technical assistance to foreign countries in areas of Departmental expertise, pursuant to agreements with other Federal agencies, international organizations or foreign governments consistent with the Foreign Assistance Act, 22 United States Code Chapter 32, as amended.
Facilitates coordination and sharing of information among Departmental and Bureau international staff, including by chairing regular meetings of the International Activities Liaison Committee composed of the chiefs of the international offices of the Bureaus.
The Office of International Affairs is housed within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior and reports to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget (PMB). The Assistant Secretary for PMB is designated to act for the Secretary to analyze, develop and review Department policy and programs pertaining to international activities; to serve as focal point and principal contact for requests from outside the Department for international cooperation; to coordinate international activities involving more than one program area; to represent the Department on interagency or other mechanisms dealing with such activities; and to review foreign travel of all Departmental employees to assure consistency with Departmental guidance and appropriateness in light of international political conditions.