January 29, 2010

Leaders Endorse “Smart Power” Foreign Policy

Richard Riley and David Wilkins Lead New Bi-Partisan Advisory Council

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former Governor and U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley and former Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives and Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins announced today they will serve as Co-Chairs of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) new State Advisory Council.  This Council boasts a membership of who’s who from the military, business and faith-based communities and will work to educate South Carolinians about how important a smart power foreign policy approach is to South Carolina’s security and prosperity.

Ambassador Wilkins and other leaders spoke at a forum this evening sponsored by the USGLC and University of South Carolina.  The forum launched the Advisory Council and the USGLC’s Putting Smart Power to Work campaign in South Carolina—an effort calling for the elevation of, and increased investments in, America’s civilian-led tools of development and diplomacy, along with a strong defense.  During the 2008 Presidential election, the candidates of both major parties endorsed this concept.

“The world outside of the United States can seem very far away, but we live in an interconnected world,” said Ambassador Wilkins.  “We must invest in a “smart power” approach to foreign policy where we use our tools of development and diplomacy, along with a strong defense, to respond to the challenges we face abroad.”

“The safer and more stable other countries are, the more prosperous and secure we will be here at home,” said Secretary Riley.  “By assisting countries around the world, we are ensuring stable societies that provide real opportunities for people, which prevents conflict before it even begins and opens up new markets for South Carolina goods and products.”

The forum featured remarks from Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Ambassador Wilkins; former Governor Jim Hodges; Otis Rawl, President and CEO, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce; Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina; and Liz Schrayer, Executive Director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

“I cannot overstate the critical nature of the importance of preparing our next generation of leaders to live in an interconnected world,” said USC President Harris Pastides.  “I am very proud of the international education exchange programs we have here at the University of South Carolina, as immersing young people into other cultures is a key to building better relations between our country and those around the world.”

“We welcome this impressive group of business, military, and faith-based leaders to our bipartisan effort that is igniting across the country,” said 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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