February 6, 2023

USGLC Convenes Senators Chris Coons, Rob Portman, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and National Leaders at 2023 Mid-Atlantic Summit

Panel Conversation with Jake Sullivan, Senators Chris Coons and Rob Portman (moderated by CNN’s Kasie Hunt):
WILMINGTON – Today, Monday, February 6, 2023, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted its Mid-Atlantic Summit with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)U.S. National Security Advisor Jake SullivanKenyan President William Ruto, CNN’s Kasie Hunt, and other foreign policy experts for a dynamic conference with leaders from across the region.

The Summit explored how the rising threats on the global stage are impacting the United States – from the economic competition with China to Russia’s war in Ukraine to the security implications of climate change. Leaders also discussed strengthening America’s role in Africa – following the U.S-Africa Leaders Summit – and the importance of U.S. diplomacy and development programs overseas to strengthen America’s security and economic interests at a time of global disruption.

Leading speakers also included the NSC’s Judd Devermont, USAID’s Dr. Atul Gawande, Amazon’s Teresa Christopher, and Prelude Therapeutics’ Dr. Kris Vaddi, Delaware State University’s Donna Patterson, and USGLC President and CEO Liz Schrayer. From the state of Delaware, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-LongWilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer all joined the program.

Quotes from the 2023 Mid-Atlantic Summit:

Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
“The single most important message that President Biden will reinforce on February 24, 2023, is: One year later, Kyiv still stands, Ukraine still stands, and it stands strong and proud and brave. That’s because of the incredible bravery and sacrifice of Ukrainian people and Ukrainian armed forces, but it is also because the United States has played a central role in galvanizing a global response.”

“I think it was extremely important that we sustained a bipartisan foundation for our policy towards the People’s Republic of China. And I actually believe that the record over the past couple of years has been strong.”

“Organizations like USGLC can play a very vital role in helping to sustain the broad level of public support that has enabled us to provide this massive level of assistance to Ukraine, which in turn, has helped them be able to defend their sovereignty, protect their country and safeguard their freedom.”

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
“If we want to imagine the world is a better, safer, and more sustainable place, a more free and more secure place – in a century that will also be dominated by climate change and by massive global inequality – we have to bring our values to how we engage with the world. We have to continue to earn the respect of the world, to be accountable, and to demonstrate a democracy that works and a society that is driven by values.”

“With regards to the developing world, in particular Africa, we have to show up… There has been a noticeable fading of American engagement, investment, and influence on the African continent. We are the principal provider of public health support, of humanitarian relief. We were the foreign trade partner of choice, but China has dramatically invested in their diplomatic presence and their economic presence and in their infrastructure investments. We should not be forcing countries to choose. We should not expect that we will be the exclusive security partner or the exclusive trade partner.”

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

“The world is a less peaceful place. It’s more dangerous and volatile place and I think that’s a place where I hope Republicans continue to work with Democrats and ensure that our unique role in the world whether we want it or not – by destiny, rather than choice here we are… We’re the ones that keeps international commerce moving through the Straits of Hormuz and the South China Sea and we’re the ones who ensure that there is more transparency, less corruption around the world through trade and other ways… America has played a singular role there to help millions of people to be able to achieve their God given potential in life.”

“The final thing I will say is that to my Republican colleagues who say, ‘You know, this is a war that we should not be in.’ One, we’re not in it, they’re in it. We’re helping them to defend themselves… This is the fight for freedom. But think of the alternative… When they [the Russians] talked about recreating the Russian Federation or the Soviet Union or the Empire, this means all these other countries, it does mean Poland, it does mean the Baltics, it does mean Romania, it does mean Slovakia and so… What would we do? We’d be providing a lot of our military might for those countries [inaudible] Article Five reciprocal partners of ours. It’d be military equipment, there’d be troops, we would have to write and the whole world would be destabilized by this. So, when people say ‘Gosh, why don’t we just stay out of this?’ You can’t stay out of it. This is affecting the entire global economy in terms of energy in terms of food, and certainly instability in Europe.”

President William Ruto, Republic of Kenya
“Africa has huge opportunity for agriculture. Africa will host a quarter of the world’s population by 2050. This is where the future is.”

“This continent is the breadbasket of the world. In fact, 65% of all arable uncultivated land is in Africa. There is opportunity for U.S. companies to look at this continent and partner with this continent. By making technology available, mechanization available, mechanization going all the way to irrigation infrastructure, even in the face of climate change.”

Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for African Affairs, National Security Council

“Africans need a bigger voice in these important institutions. And that’s essential for us for the United States. The world is just too interconnected…  If Africans are at the table, we have a better chance of an open, free, stable, and prosperous world.”

Dr. Atul Gawande, Assistant Administrator for Global Health, USAID
“The U.S. is the largest donor of vaccines to the world… it has shown the way that some other countries have taken a transactional approach… We show what it meant to be a friend that cares about the equity in health of the world.”

Teresa Christopher, Head of Climate, Sustainability, and Environmental Policy, Amazon
“Amazon with our size and scale really looks to climate as one of our priorities… we’re committed to bold climate action… even though we are big, we know we can’t get to get to that goal alone. We now have almost 400 signatories. Collectively the pledge signatories represent about $3 trillion in annual revenue.”

Dr. Donna Patterson, Director, Africana Studies Program, Delaware State University
“Vaccine production right now on the continent is about 1%. So, this will take a great scaling up. The continent definitely needs the partnership of the US government… Global health security is interconnected. What happens in Africa affects the world and as we’ve recently seen, with the Ebola epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic… Is that what happens in Africa, what happens in China doesn’t stay there, and I think this is very important.”

Dr. Kris Vaddi, CEO, Prelude Therapeutics
“Many people think that climate and health don’t have that many deep connections, but they are, in fact, very fundamental.” 

Liz Schrayer, President and CEO, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
“With growing global threats from China to Russia to climate change, today’s Mid-Atlantic Summit could not come at a more critical moment to bring together the diversity of the USGLC network from across the region – and we’re honored to do so alongside Senator Chris Coons, who is the true rock star when it comes to America’s global leadership. Ultimately, we have learned the dangers of America turning inward. And we have seen results when America shows up with our allies and partners: greater global stability and greater American stability.”


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.