October 11, 2023
The South Summit marked the launch of USGLC’s Arkansas Advisory Committee
LITTLE ROCK, AR – Today, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Arkansas military and business leaders for its inaugural South Summit. The event, with support from South Initiative Chair Coca-Cola, highlighted the ways states like Arkansas are impacted by America’s leadership abroad, and featured conversations showcasing why diplomacy, development, and democracy matter to the national and economic security of communities, families, and businesses across Arkansas and the American South.
In addition to Senator Boozman, the inaugural South Summit featured former South Carolina Governor and Executive Director of the World Food Programme David Beasley, Nisha Biswal, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Lt. Gen. Richard Newton, USAF (Ret.), Jim McGreevy, Vice President of Public Policy & Government Relations, The Coca-Cola Company, Sarah Thorn, Senior Director for Global Government Affairs, Walmart, Joyjit Deb Roy, President & CEO, Winrock International, and Randy Zook, President & CEO, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas.
The summit marked the launch of USGLC’s Arkansas Advisory Committee—a new and growing coalition of Arkansas’s top business, military, non-profit, faith and community leaders that have joined together to highlight the importance of America’s global leadership and why it matters to Arkansas. The Arkansas Advisory Committee—one of 33 across the country—will help the USGLC educate and engage community leaders and policymakers on why investments in development and diplomacy help keep America safe and strengthen Arkansas’s economy.
For more and to see the full program: https://www.usglc.org/south-initiative/
“The USGLC is thrilled to be in Little Rock for our inaugural South Summit. The southern United States is the fastest growing region in America. With 20% of jobs tied to global trade, states like Arkansas, which exported $6 billion in goods last year, are deeply impacted by what happens in the world. And with about $4 billon of those exports coming from agriculture alone, Arkansas farmers are also on the front lines of fighting the global hunger crisis. So it’s critical we continue to engage citizens across our southern states about why leading globally matters locally,” said USGLC President and CEO Liz Schrayer. “That is why I am especially proud to officially launch USGLC’s Arkansas State Advisory Committee. This new and growing coalition of the state’s business, non-profit, faith, policy and community leaders will help lead our work to help more Americans understand the outsized impact of America’s foreign affairs spending on our nation’s security and economic interests.”
“Economic opportunity is crucial for healthy communities, and global investments can have ripple effects locally,” said Sarah Thorn, Senior Director Government Affairs for Walmart. “As one of the world’s largest food retailers, Walmart knows firsthand the power engaging locally can have in a community – we see it every day through our stores and with our purchase orders. We’re thrilled to work with local farmers to help create these opportunities, grow their potential, and bring the South to the world.”
Featured Speaker Quotes from the 2023 South Summit
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
“Food security is national security, and the weaponization of food is even an international peace and stability issue that cannot be underestimated. Agriculture is central to the economy in Arkansas and many other states where our farmers and ranchers help produce a safe, affordable supply of food that allows us to have an outsized impact on combating hunger and malnutrition. Over and over again, we’ve seen examples of U.S. leadership and investment successfully leveraged to help fight food insecurity and other challenges that threatened to disrupt order and stoke conflict. I’m proud to work in a bipartisan way, along with groups across the public and private sectors, to maintain America’s position as a global force for good that benefits Arkansans, our fellow citizens and the world.”
David Beasley, former Executive Director, World Food Programme, and Governor, South Carolina\
“If people don’t have food, they go do what they need to do to feed their children. And so, if we can come in strategically and provide food and sustainable programs, resilience programs, it’s 1000 times cheaper than not doing anything, and the flood gates open, and we have war conflict, mass migration destabilization of nations.”
Nisha Biswal, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
“What DFC has sought to do with the tools that we have is providing loan financing, risk insurance, equity investments that help de-risk private investments into emerging and developing markets. And we’re doing that around the world. We are working in food security, in health, and infrastructure, and in ways that are also important and tie back to U.S. interests and in U.S. national security.”
Lt. Gen. Richard Newton, United States Air Force (Ret.)
“The world is becoming much more complicated. And what I would call the global disorder that manifested itself just on Saturday with the assault on Gaza, has really complicated things beyond just what we’re talking about vis-à-vis China and so forth. Based on that global disorder, the United States cannot dodge those consequences. We have to lead, and I think it’s impactful not only for what we’re doing economically, financially, internationally, diplomatically, militarily, but it’s impactful for future generations as well.”
Joyjit Deb Roy, President & CEO, Winrock International
“What we see across our programming of more than 100 projects across 40 countries, is the youth are often unemployed and marginalized. And these are youth who do not have practical employable skills right now. We need to look at the strategic use of our global development resources to see how we can engage them because the issues like migration are essentially driven by the lack of livelihood opportunities where they are on the ground. If you can meet them on the ground with programs, building their resiliency and their livelihood opportunities keeps them where they are and allows them to expand economic opportunities around them.”
Randy Zook, President & CEO, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas
“Not everybody is really tuned up about foreign aid or sees the potential for global trade. I see it as just a huge opportunity for many of our manufacturers, in addition to our farm community.”
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.