November 13, 2017
Press handout photos here: http://bit.ly/2AATt5G
Watch the full event here: http://bit.ly/2iGWaLG
WILMINGTON – The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), USAID Administrator Mark Green, top foreign policy experts, and over 400 local leaders today for a series of panel discussions on the importance of American diplomacy and global development programs for our national security and Delaware’s economy.
Senator Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, kicked off the USGLC’s half day conference. “Investing in our nation’s diplomatic and development programs is in the best interest of every American,” said Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). “By making these long-term, strategic investments, we not only empower the world’s most vulnerable, we advance our security interests and expand opportunities for local businesses right here in Delaware. As we contend with humanitarian crises and escalating security threats around the world, funding programs that save lives and help keep Americans safe has taken on a renewed sense of urgency.”
Following the Senator’s remarks, the first of three panels turned the conversation to the challenges and opportunities facing U.S. engagement in Africa.
“Our military relies on the expertise of diplomats and development workers to advance U.S. national security interests on the African continent as part of our 3D approach,” said Lt. Gen. Kip Ward, U.S. Army (Ret.). “Extremist groups are more likely to gain a foothold in countries that are unstable and have high rates of poverty and disease. By eliminating these types of conditions, our civilian partners help combat the spread of violent extremism before having to put our troops into harm’s way.” Lt. Gen. Kip Ward served as the inaugural Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and was one of 120 three and four star retired generals and admirals who wrote to Congress earlier this year to protect resources for the State Department and USAID.
“In fragile nations that lack strong governance and stability, violent extremism is more likely to influence vulnerable populations,” said Nancy Lindborg, President of the United States Institute of Peace. “Violent conflict not only has major security implications— it can lead to devastating humanitarian consequences. We need to deploy the full suite of development, diplomacy and military tools to prevent and resolve conflict, establish rule of law, and create stable communities. This, in turn, makes us safer and stronger”
Caroline Roan, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility for Pfizer zeroed in on the value of global health and development programs for America’s economic competitiveness, explaining that “public-private partnerships are true drivers of better health and better economic development. Through our global public health programs, we are able to provide access to quality health care, medicines, and vaccines, which help strengthen health systems— allowing people to live healthier, more productive lives. This work is core to our commitment to patients.”
With over 125,000 local jobs tied to trade and exports to foreign markets totaling $4.4 billion a year – building new markets for American goods is of tremendous importance to Delaware’s economy.
USAID Administrator Mark Green joined Senator Coons and USGLC President & CEO Liz Schrayer for the third and final panel, where he underscored the need for continued investment in America’s diplomatic and development tools.
“From a national security perspective, if you leave communities to be taken over by despair and hopelessness – you make them vulnerable to the worst kinds of influences in the world,” said USAID Administrator Mark Green. “If we are really going to make this world a safer place, if we’re really going to take on as a generational challenge – violent extremism – we have to make these investments.”
“We are facing a critical moment– from refugees to famines, to millions of lives at stake,” said Liz Schrayer, President and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. “Delaware is lucky to have Senator Chris Coons in Washington. A long-time champion of America’s diplomatic and development programs, who understands that these programs are not only effective – but make a difference here at home for our national security and economy.”
Also participating in today’s conference was Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), The Coca-Cola Company’s Curtis Etherly, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Delaware Secretary of Labor Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Rachel Glennerster, Chief Economist for the UK Department for International Development, and Mark Schweiker, former Governor of Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 500 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.