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Washington Post Publishes Leadership Roundtable Opinion Pieces On Foreign Aid And Somalia

The Washington Post on Wednesday published a leadership roundtable on U.S. aid and Somalia, featuring the following five opinion pieces:

  • Amid budget crisis, a defense of foreign aid,” Sen. John Kerry: “[O]n one point we must remain resolute: This is not time for America to pull back from the world. This is a time to step forward” (8/3).
  • With famine in Somalia, a case of leadership (not compassion) fatigue,” Fletcher School Professor Astier Almedom: “We have inadequate and incoherent bureaucratic international humanitarian systems, and beneath them equally inadequate and incoherent sub-systems. The crude famine criteria cited by [U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia] Mark Bowden in a slow, deliberate, killing tone indicate leadership fatigue, not compassion fatigue – and with each devastating photo or story out of Somalia, it’s this that should scandalize the compassionate American public” (8/3).
  • A famine in Somalia, and a chronic political failure on humanitarian aid,” Share Our Strength Founder Bill Shore: “Humanitarian relief efforts still require vast amounts of private support when governments across the globe fail to respond sufficiently. That represents a chronic and collective failure of political leadership. … A situation such as the one in East Africa demands compassion, far-sightedness and generosity of spirit from a nation and its leaders – a lot more than Washington was able to muster during the current debt ceiling debacle” (8/3).
  • U.S. foreign aid: Business skills needed,” Wharton School Professor Stuart Diamond: “It comes down to leadership: creating a vision and motivating a staff to carry it out, in all its details. Instead of cutting aid outright, Congress could hold the State Department to business standards for allocating and monitoring aid. Then aid proponents would be able to choose between effective leadership or, perhaps, no money at all” (8/3).
  • A new strategy for solving America’s foreign aid problem,” Executives Without Borders CEO Robert Goodwin: “Foreign aid money should be partnered with private capital to share the risk of working in such a country. Likewise, corporate social responsibility dollars and corporate expertise should be partnered with foreign aid programs to improve health and education outcomes. … Successful business development overseas in turn leads to more jobs for U.S. workers as we identify markets for our products and services. Done well, this creates a virtuous cycle: at the same time as we drive new opportunities for American companies and workers, we also drive a better image of the United States abroad. And as our image improves, so does our engagement and diplomacy with other nations” (8/3).

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