February 8, 2010

General David Petraeus Discusses Smart Power Approach to Global Challenges

New State Advisory Council Announced in Support of International Affairs Efforts

TAMPA, FLGeneral David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, spoke this evening about how important our nation’s civilian efforts, particularly development and diplomacy, are alongside defense in keeping the United States safe and prosperous.  In a conversation moderated by CNN contributor and Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University Frank Sesno, Petraeus interacted with Florida leaders on how the country can best meet the global challenges we face in the post-9/11 world.

“Maintaining a close civil-military partnership is a critical part of a comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign,” said General Petraeus.  “In fact, tens of thousands of civilians are working closely with their military counterparts in the Central Command region to achieve the conditions we hope to establish, and this is obviously a hugely important aspect of our operations.”

Hosted jointly by the Tampa Bay Council on World Affairs and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), the event also launched the USGLC’s new Florida State Advisory Committee and Putting Smart Power to Work campaign in Florida.  Comprised of government, military, business and faith-based leaders from across the state, the committee will work to educate Floridians about how important a smart power foreign policy approach is to the state’s security and prosperity.

The evening featured remarks from Richard Wainio, CEO of the Tampa Port Authority; Dick Batchelor, former State Representative; Betty Castor, former President of the University of South Florida and Florida Commissioner of Education; Ken Hagan, Chairman of the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners; Stephen Albee, President of the Tampa Bay Council of World Affairs; and Liz Schrayer, Executive Director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

“The future prosperity of Florida is tied to the global economy and our investments abroad,” said Tampa Port Authority CEO Richard Wainio, who is also a USGLC Advisory Council member. “We have the largest port in Florida right here in Tampa Bay, and when more markets open abroad for Florida’s goods and products, that means more jobs and more export opportunities for businesses in our community.”

“We have to train our next generation of leaders to know the importance of cultural exchange,” said former University of South Florida President Betty Castor.  “Our universities in Florida have a proud history of supporting international education and exchanges, and this is one of the best ways for us to promote understanding between our country and others.”

“We live in an interconnected world, and it is vitally important that Floridians know how important international understanding is to both our safety and our prosperity,” said Tampa Bay Council of World Affairs President Stephen Albee, who is also a USGLC Advisory Council member. “When we assist other countries around the world, we help build stable societies and prevent conflict before they even begin.”

“We welcome this impressive group of business, military, and faith-based leaders to our bipartisan effort that is igniting across the country,” said USGLC Executive Director Liz Schrayer. “Americans recognize that in order to keep our country safe, save lives, and create markets, we need to invest in our smart power tools of development and diplomacy.”

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.

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