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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Turning the Beat Around on Foreign Assistance Reform: Two Events Shift Debate From Why to How

Two former administrators of the U.S. Agency for International Development -- Peter McPherson and Brian Atwood -- said the U.S. government should give greater prominence to development and rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 in their testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week. Their testimony and other events around town signal growing momentum for a dramatic overhaul of U.S. foreign assistance.

Viewers Respond to "A Funny Video about Foreign Assistance?"

Last week, CGD launched a new video to help convey why the next president needs to give U.S. foreign assistance policy something akin to an extreme makeover. "Bring U.S. Foreign Assistance into the 21st Century" has since been watched on YouTube by nearly 10,000 people and many have taken the time to send us their thoughts. The overwhelming response from viewers is: this video is "fun," "short" and "makes the point" but that they want more details of the underlying policy analysis and recommendations.

InterAction Forum Brings a Dose of Political Realism (and Optimism) to 21st Century Foreign Assistance Efforts

Hundreds of development advocates gathered in Crystal City last week for the annual InterAction Forum urged a fresh effort to bring U.S. foreign assistance efforts into the 21st century.
At a luncheon plenary session during the conference, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) summarized:

Foreign assistance is more important to America's national security and foreign policy than ever before. But our Cold-War mechanisms aren't up to the challenge.

Retired Military "Brasstops" Call for Elevation of Development and Diplomacy in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security

This morning, the House Foreign Affairs Committee convened its members to discuss with Defense Secretary Robert Gates the "persistent imbalance between U.S. funding for defense and diplomacy." According to a House Foreign Affairs Committee press release Chairman Berman referred to President Bush's 2002 National Security which affirmed that diplomacy and development are as important as defense. Berman said:

Why the Next U.S. President Should Create a Cabinet-Level Department of Global Development

*This is a joint post with Steve Radelet
The extraordinary challenges and opportunities of today require a new vision of American global leadership based on the strength of our core values, ideas and ingenuity. They call for an integrated foreign policy that promotes our values, enhances our security, helps create economic and political opportunities for people around the world, and restores America's faltering image abroad. We cannot rely exclusively or even primarily on military might to meet these goals. Instead, we must make greater use of all the tools of statecraft through "smart power," including diplomacy, trade, investment, intelligence, and a strong and effective foreign assistance strategy.