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NGO Briefing on Foreign Policy Debate

NGO Briefing on Foreign Policy Debate

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Published by InterAction

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Published by: InterAction on Jan 30, 2013
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InterAction10/19/201211:00 am ET
NGO Briefing on Foreign Policy Debate
Good day and welcome to the NGO briefing on foreign policy debates.Currently, all lines are on listen-only mode. Later there will be anopportunity to ask questions during the question and answer session. Youmay register at any time during the program to ask a question by pressingthe * then 1 on your touchtone phone. Please be advised
today’s program
is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to turn the program over to Mr.Sam Worthington. Mr. Worthington, you may begin.
Sam Worthington:
Thank you, Aaron. Good morning and thank you all for joining this call. Iam Sam Worthington the president of InterAction.
re the largestalliance of the US international NGOs and our some 200 memberorganizations are working around the world, literally saving millions of lives and giving people a chance to thrive. I think our focus on this calltoday is on President Obama and Governor Romney as they move intotheir final debate this Monday in Florida and presenting their own view of the world and that the role of America should play in it and in making it abetter place. Let me start with President Obama. He
’s made it clear that he
sees the concept of promoting development as a strategic economic andmoral imperative. At the same time, Governor Romney has spoken aboutthe importance of American values and highlighted the link between aidand trade and indicated his support for the President
’s Program for AIDS
Relief (PEPFAR) and other programs as well. Now we hope that bothcandidates recognize the importance and how critical it is to engage inboth robust funding for poverty focus and humanitarian accounts, andtheir support of these accounts. They are a tiny sliver of the overall USbudget, literally less than 1%, and we know that this assistance not onlysaves lives, it stabilizes countries, it opens markets, it basically shows thecompassion that we have as Americans to those in need. And I think 
InterAction10/19/201211:00 am ET
think very strongly that continued US investment and development inhumanitarian programs that are ultimately linked to global prosperity and
in many ways as we’ve heard from many of our leading officers who
haveserved in the armed services around the world that this has the potential tosignificantly reduce costly military interventions, and allows us as acountry to take action in humanitarian situations. So, we have a frame herethat is ultimately that this
our programs that are about our nationalsecurity
, they’re
about our economic interest, they’re about engaging in
global markets. But as non-profits, who as Americans who engage aroundthe world, we recognize ultimately that this is about our goodwill asAmerican people and showing our values and our ability to help peopleand save lives. So, this is critical for our security, our global leadership.And when it comes to the budget, we recognize the difficult times that
we’re in, but that deficits should not – 
the reduction of deficit should notbe done in a way that sacrifices
 basically the gains we’ve seen in reducin
gglobal hunger and poverty or in a way that would result in a loss of life.We are in a time of a heightened crisis in many countries, we see a focuson Syria and other places, and it is not the time for America to pull back.When we as a country help those who are in extreme poverty, both hereand abroad, w
e’re in essence
reinforcing our values and our compassion asAmerican people and this is something that we hope both candidates keepin mind with whomever wins this November. So with that brief introduction, I would like to take the opportunity to turn over to ouresteemed lineup of humanitarian leaders and would like to start with you,Sharon, and Sharon Waxman is the vice president of the InternationalRescue Committee.
Sharon Waxman:
Okay, thanks Sam. I just want to underscore looking forward to thesedebates, that you know America
always a leader in foreign policy andforeign assistance is really more critical than ever, that we face an
InterAction10/19/201211:00 am ET
unprecedented number of humanitarian crises and complex emergenciesacross the globe. How we respond and commit resources to theseemergencies are really going to shape global events and our standing inthe world for decades to come. The numbers speak for themselves andrepresent the dramatic need. 44 million people right now are displaced by
conflict around the world and that’s the highest number in 15 years.
Droughts and food shortages and hunger are taking an increasing toll andthere are 18 million people now food insecure in the Africa Sahel regionalone. This year, these large-scale emergencies that Sam referred toworsened or unfolded [Pause]
Hello, Sharon Waxman?
Sharon Waxman:
Yes, hi. Sorry about that.
We lost you for a second.
Sharon Waxman:
Are we ready?
Yes, go ahead.
Sharon Waxman:
Okay. So yes, I just want to underscore that looking forward to the
debates, America’s role as a leader in foreign policy and foreign assistance
is more critical than ever. How the US responds and commits resources tothese evolving emergencies will shape global events and our standing inthe world for decades to come. Millions of lives literally hang in thebalance; the numbers speak for themselves and represent dramatic need.Some 44 million people are displaced by confli
ct around the world, that’s
the highest number in 15 years. Droughts and food shortages and hungerare taking an increasing toll with some 18 million people now food

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