Soft Power: A “Mission Critical” Component of National Security
Innovative ideas and technologies are driving the future of global development, and nowhere is this more evident than at Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), a flagship program at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that is leveraging innovation to meet today’s most pressing development challenges. A recent analysis of DIV’s grants found an incredible rate of return of $5 in social benefits for every dollar spent on innovations. Now, policymakers on both sides of the aisle—and practitioners alike—are focused on the role of innovation and technology in scaling development progress.
When people think about U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF), they might envision romanticized scenes from television or the movies. But what they don’t see is what goes on behind the scenes. While SOF plays a lead role in defending our country, U.S. national security also relies on the strength and support of our civilian forces—particularly our diplomatic corps and development personnel—in countries around the world.
Indonesia is one of six countries whose waters lie within the Coral Triangle, an area in the western Pacific Ocean that is under threat from overfishing and illegal fishing as well as climate change, land-based pollution, and the wildlife trade—all of which is putting a strain on Indonesia’s economy and threatening the livelihoods and food security of Indonesians. That’s why the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with Tetra Tech, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and others on the USAID SEA Project.
This week’s kick-off session for USGLC’s inaugural class of Next Gen Global Leaders was a proud moment for our organization. In 2020, we recruited nearly 100 bipartisan, diverse, and talented young leaders from 33 states to join our inaugural class of Next Gen Global Leaders. And this week, at the start of 2021, we welcomed them into the USGLC family as they signed into the Zoom classroom for their first session.
While fighting the pandemic is an international priority, global collaboration is also required to tackle critical and complex challenges facing Americans and the world alike. At the World Economic Forum last week, policymakers from the United States and around the world spoke to the need for global cooperation on health security, countering authoritarianism, humanitarian crises, and climate to solve the most pressing issues affecting Americans’ lives and people all over the globe.
With the hope of new vaccines comes the urgent need to not only distribute them equitably around the world but to shore up global public health systems and mitigate the virus’ destabilizing global health and economic impacts to truly bring the pandemic under control. As new variations of COVID-19 spread around the globe, a growing public outcry reminds us that no one is safe until everyone is safe.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and a mere two weeks after violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Like other Democratic and Republican presidents before him, President Biden’s Inaugural address highlighted a clear vision for the role of American leadership and engagement in the world to support “peace, prosperity, and security.”
As hospitals around the world battle the COVID-19 pandemic, a small nonprofit in Houston, Texas is helping to lead the global response amidst this crisis. At the helm of this global operation is Walter Ulrich, president and CEO of Medical Bridges and a member of USGLC’s Texas State Advisory Committee. USGLC’s Troy Williams recently spoke with Mr. Ulrich on the impact of COVID-19 and how Medical Bridges is stepping up to help at home and abroad.
When Ethiopia—a longtime hub for American engagement and development in East Africa—postponed its national elections due to COVID-19 concerns, political conflict ensued and turned violent. A humanitarian crisis quickly escalated. Regional impacts of the global pandemic are making it harder to get critical assistance into the region, especially to refugees who are living in conditions that do not allow for social distancing, hand-washing, and other health precautions.