Natsios, Fontaine Join Experts to Talk Poverty, Foreign Policy, and Their Impact on National Security

MINNEAPOLIS , Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today at the Republican National Convention, eight leaders in the area of foreign policy and national security called on the next President to reform America's approach to national security and international development. Panelists including Ambassador Andrew S. Natsios , distinguished professor in practice of diplomacy at Georgetown University, and Richard Fontaine , foreign policy advisor for McCain '08, discussed critical steps and considerations for the next President to reestablish America as a respected world leader.

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"Right now, US foreign aid is not doing all it can to reduce poverty. As commodities, goods, labor, and services cross borders with increasing speed, so do disease, ideology, and unrest. Skyrocketing food prices have set off riots in countries across the world where people were already living on a knife's edge," said Raymond C. Offenheiser , panelist, and president of international relief and development agency Oxfam America. "In this closer, more interdependent world, persistent poverty anywhere in the world threatens our own future. The next president must reform US foreign aid so that it more effectively reduces poverty."

Oxfam is advocating that four reforms be prioritized by the US to deal with the global challenges of the 21st century. The US needs to create a national development strategy, rationalize its aid structure, rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act, and get its development agencies more resources and authority.

"Global interdependency has made issues like poverty increasingly a national security issue, but our current foreign aid system is a vestige of the Cold War and ill-equipped for the challenges of today," said panelist Jim Kolbe , senior transatlantic fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States and former Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations in the US Congress. " The United States must help build institutions, rule of law, and economic development in places like Afghanistan , Pakistan , Iraq , and the Horn of Africa . Making our aid more effective and increasing international cooperation will be critical to addressing such threats in the next U.S. administration."

The panel, The Future of US Foreign Assistance: Effective Development and National Security, was part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs' America's Future series during the Republican National Convention. A panel discussion examined options for the fundamental reform and modernization of United States' approach to international development and security. It addressed security measures aimed to fight poverty, encourage economic development around the world, and build a lasting national security framework for Americans at home and abroad.

Other panelists included: US Rep. John Boozman (R-AR), House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Hon. Vin Weber , chairman, National Endowment for Democracy; Hon. Michael Wilson , Canadian ambassador to the United States of America . The moderator was Matthew McLean , vice president, Millennium Challenge Corporation. The event was hosted by the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

For interviews with Offenheiser or Kolbe, please contact: Helen DaSilva , (617) 331-2984, hdasilva@oxfamamerica.org or Matt Wojtkun , (978) 857-5310, mwojtkun@gmfus.org. For more information, please visit http://www.oxfamamerica.org and http://www.gmfus.org.

Oxfam America

Forty percent of the people on our planet-more than 2.5 billion-now live in poverty, struggling to survive on less than $2 a day. Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization working to change that. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 120 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice. To join our efforts or learn more, go to http://www.oxfamamerica.org.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) (http://www.gmfus.org/template/index.cfm) is a nonpartisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding between North America and Europe . GMF does this by supporting individuals and institutions working on transatlantic issues, by convening leaders to discuss the most pressing transatlantic themes, and by examining ways in which transatlantic cooperation can address a variety of global policy challenges. In addition, GMF supports a number of initiatives to strengthen democracies. Founded in 1972 through a gift from Germany on the 25th anniversary of the Marshall Plan as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC , GMF has seven offices in Europe : Berlin , Bratislava , Paris , Brussels , Belgrade , Ankara , and Bucharest .

The Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota is a nationally ranked graduate school that inspires, educates, and supports innovative leaders to advance the common good in a diverse world. The Humphrey Institute is home to the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance (CSPG), which is directed by nationally prominent political scientist Lawrence Jacobs . Founded in 2005, CSPG strives to develop practical, independent, and non-partisan solutions through objective, high- quality analysis, public forums, and civic engagement. Visit CSPG online at http://www.politicsandgovernance.org.

SOURCE Oxfam America



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