December 16, 2013
Diverse Coalition of More Than 250 Business, Military, Nonprofit, Academic and Faith-Based Leaders Gather to Support U.S. Development Assistance and Diplomacy Initiatives
Denver, Colorado —The former Commander of U.S. Central Command, General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), and former Senators Hank Brown and Gary Hart spoke to a gathering of more than 250 Colorado business and civic leaders today on the benefits the state’s economy receives from American engagement in the world.
More than one in five Colorado jobs currently depends on international trade, and as over half of U.S. exports already go to the developing world, investing in programs funded by the International Affairs Budget is a critical investment in growing our economy. Senators Brown and Hart co-chaired the event as an effort to raise awareness of how America’s development and diplomacy programs create jobs in Colorado and protect our national security.
“I have seen firsthand how our development and diplomatic operations work to save lives and make America safer and stronger, in areas as diverse as the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia,” said General Zinni. “These important tools of national security are critical in preventing conflict before it even occurs and requires us to put our troops in harm’s way.”
Today’s event was organized by the USGLC in collaboration with The CELL, the National Homeland Defense Foundation, and Colorado State University. The program also featured a showcase of innovative, life-saving projects – many created by Colorado-based organizations – aimed at bringing better health, economic prosperity, and social stability to developing nations around the globe.
“Growing Colorado’s economy and keeping our families safe depends on America being actively engaged around the world,” said Senator Brown. “Our investment in the U.S. International Affairs Budget provides a strong return to the American taxpayer. It’s not just the smart thing to do, it’s also the right thing to do.”
“In the age of globalization, not only our economy but our national security depends on full-scale involvement in global markets and security alliances,” said Senator Hart. “Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders. That represents a massive and ever-expanding opportunity for Colorado businesses, which are constantly seeking new markets to sell their goods and services.”
Demonstrating the difference Colorado is making in the developing world, Colorado State University’s Dr. Richard Bowen described how his lab is adapting livestock systems to climate change across the globe. Funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future initiative, Dr. Bowen’s work is helping farmers in some of the poorest countries in the world support and provide for their families.
“Coloradans clearly appreciate the value America’s engagement in the world brings to the Centennial State,” said USGLC Executive Director Liz Schrayer. “Our international affairs programs make up just one percent of the federal budget, but they have a far greater impact both here at home and abroad creating jobs and keeping our nation safe. Senators Brown and Hart’s leadership demonstrates the strong bipartisan commitment that exists for our nation’s development and diplomacy programs.”
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 and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.