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secretary of state hillary clinton waving from her airplane Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves as she leaves for Indonesia, at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on February 18, 2009. (Photo: Katsumi Kasahara/AP Images)

Getting to Know You

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton takes America's foreign policy message to nations around the world

Where in the world is Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton?

As the President's chief foreign affairs adviser, the Secretary of State must travel the globe and confront many types of international challenges. And since taking office in late January, Secretary of State Clinton has traveled to China, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea.

This week, Clinton made her first trip to the Middle East as Secretary of State.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Clinton was in Israel and the Palestinian territories. One of her primary goals was to lay the foundation for a renewal of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Clinton followed her Middle East trip with one to Europe. To Brussels, Belgium, to be specific. There, she met with the leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance of democracies in Europe and North America. In this first meeting with NATO as Secretary of State, Clinton proposed an international conference on how to help and protect Afghanistan.

"I'm looking to demonstrate that the United States intends to be an active participant within NATO and with our NATO partners," Clinton said before leaving for Brussels.

Clinton's primary job is to help President Barack Obama decide how the U.S. can best work with other countries. Traveling around the world as America's chief diplomat is a new role for Clinton. But that doesn't mean she's a rookie when it comes to going to other countries on diplomatic missions.

When she was First Lady to President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton visited more than 80 countries, representing the United States.

As First Lady, Clinton drew attention to a range of issues, especially women's rights. She also worked with the first female U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to launch the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative. Vital Voices is a nongovernmental organization that trains and organizes female leaders around the world.

Today, as Secretary of State, Clinton is working to improve America's status overseas.

In the trips she has taken in her first six weeks in office, Clinton has met with many international leaders. She has been telling them that President Obama and the American people are ready to work with them as partners.

"There's a lot of work to be done," Clinton said on Thursday. "But I'm not only very committed but eager to see that work take off in a meaningful way. I think we laid the groundwork over the last three days."

Clinton will continue building relationships with foreign leaders. Her next stop after Belgium is Geneva, Switzerland, where she'll meet with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. And from Switzerland, Clinton will travel to Ankara, Turkey, to meet with Turkish officials.

You can follow Secretary of State Clinton on her travels on the U.S. State Department website.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

Read today’s story and answer the following question.

blog it Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton must travel to many different countries in order to do her job. If you were the Secretary of State, what country would you want to visit? Why?

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