VA Hosts Senior International Forum and Ministerial Summit on Veterans Affairs

VA Hosts Senior International Forum and Ministerial Summit on Veterans Affairs

April 8, 2014

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Ministers responsible for Veterans Affairs and officials from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States today completed a series of meetings at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY discussing the latest research, best practices and various areas of collaboration to address the growing needs of Veterans.

“VA was honored to host this event. I am pleased to collaborate and share information with our international partners in order to ensure that our Veterans have access to quality health care services and benefits that they have earned,” said Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “The discussions that occurred during the Summit help provide insight into how we can address the complex issues facing today’s Veterans and their families.”

The following statement was released by Summit participants at the conclusion of the meetings:

The Ministerial Summit is an event held every 18-24 months and the objectives are to address challenges facing Veterans communities. As host of the 2014 Summit, the United States welcomed guest representatives from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Participating officials discussed the importance of collaborative research in the areas of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Transition and Employment Initiatives, Strategic Communications, Women’s Health, and Memorial Affairs.

Providing services and honoring our Veterans is one of the foundational strengths of our alliances. All participating governments at the Summit have programs aimed at the growing needs of their Veteran populations. Research continues to play a vital role in further understanding the complex array of issues Veterans face both when they return from the battlefield, and when they transition to civilian life. Close collaboration on these shared values allows each country to continue to provide quality care to their Veterans.

While each nation has unique challenges in providing services to Veterans, we all are committed to finding solutions to improve the quality of service for Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. As a result each country places great emphasis on the sharing of research methods, findings, and best practices. This spirit of cooperation and collaboration will ensure that our Departments will have the understanding and ability to help our nation’s heroes as they take off the uniform and enter civilian life.

With the impending end of major military operations in Afghanistan, participants emphasized the importance continuing collaborative efforts through information exchanges and research so agencies can continue to provide insight into the complex issues that face our Veterans and their families. With the vast knowledge and expertise of each participating country, we can continue to share findings and look for ways to enhance services for our nation’s Veterans.

Representatives at the 2014 Ministerial Summit included:

Member Countries:

• Canada – The Honorable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs

• New Zealand – The Honorable Michael Woodhouse, Minister of Veterans Affairs

• United Kingdom – The Right Honorable Anna Soubry, Minister of State for Defense, Personnel, Welfare and Veterans

• United States – The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

• Australia – Secretary Simon Lewis, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

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