October 2, 2015

Congressman Kinzinger, General Wald, Top Chicago Leaders Urge U.S. Engagement Overseas

Walgreens’ Nimesh Jhaveri and Opportunity International’s Dennis Ripley join call for strategic investments in American global leadership, economic development, and diplomacy

CHICAGOCongressman Adam Kinzinger and retired General Chuck Wald joined the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) in Chicago today to discuss how America’s development and diplomacy efforts abroad spur economic growth here in Illinois and promote our national security.

“The best way to prevent using the military is to give opportunities to people around the world, because there is an iron curtain of poverty that exists. When poverty goes away, terrorism loses a foothold,” said Congressman Adam Kinzinger. “The United States cannot retreat because in the absence of American leadership, chaos, violence, death, and poverty follow suit.”

Today’s discussion took place as the Syrian refugee crisis and foreign policy take an increasingly central role in the 2016 presidential election and 63 percent of Americans support an increase in foreign aid.

“As we look at the challenges we face across the world today from the Syrian refugee crisis to the stalemate in Ukraine, our nation’s economic development and diplomacy tools are more critical than ever to promote stability and reduce threats overseas,” said retired four-star General Chuck Wald. “Throughout my military career, I have fought to protect American values and interests, and have witnessed firsthand how our national security is directly connected to the strategic investments in our nation’s international affairs budget.” General Wald served as the Deputy Commander of the U.S. European Command from 2002 to 2006.

USGLC President and CEO Liz Schrayer shared, “I always love returning home to Chicago because the leaders here understand why American global leadership matters. Illinoisans get how increasingly interconnected our world has become and how important our nation’s small, but strategic investment in economic development and diplomacy advances America’s interests overseas and back here at home.”

Chicago is headquarters to some of the largest global brands and organizations in the world with rapidly growing international operations in emerging markets. In 2014, Illinois exported more than $68 billion in goods and services to foreign markets making American global leadership a strategic issue for the Chicago community.

“Today, trade supports nearly 22 percent of jobs in Illinois,” said Nimesh Jhaveri, a senior executive from Walgreens. “We in the business world can take some credit for numbers like that, but we must share that credit with our development and diplomacy programs. These programs, funded by the U.S. international affairs budget, provide the foundation that allows business and development to take place.”

Dennis Ripley, Chief Business Development Officer of Opportunity International, said, “Here in Chicago, the USGLC has assembled a distinguished group of leaders – both Republican and Democrat – who believe that America must be a global leader, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s the smart thing to do.”

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.