Monday, June 19, 2006 4:00-5:00 PM
Speakers: Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ)
Nancy Birdsall (Center for Global Development)
Moises Naim (Foreign Policy Magazine)
The event started with Moises Naim relaying a conversation that he had previously had with Nancy on the need to annually recognize individuals who had made a great contribution by working to change the world. During the past few years, Foreign Policy Magazine and the Center for Global Development have been awarding companies or individuals who have made a positive difference in the world. Moises then introduced Nancy Birdsall who presented Congressman Jim Kolbe with this year’s award.
Congressman Kolbe graciously accepted his award and praised the Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy Magazine for all of the work they have done. Later he spoke about the reforms that the United States needs to adopt in order to follow through with its duties. He discussed the importance of funding international development and focused specifically on health, trade, and governance. He expressed the moral obligation that the United States has to commit itself to alleviating poverty and stated that the Foreign Aid Bill received the highest number of votes that it had ever received last year. While stating that Congress does support international development, he stressed the importance of funding international development programs in order to prevent the current support from simply representing a “crest” in US history.
While praising the work of foreign aid programs by stating that they do not receive the credit they deserve and highlighting the fact that they have saved millions of lives due to successful vaccinations, he stated that one area that everyone needs to improve on is long-term eradication of poverty, as 3 billion people are living on less than $2 a day. He stressed the importance of the need for USAID to begin recruiting excellent personnel as many of the best workers are going to be eligible for retirement within the next 5 years.
When asked about the need for the US to partake in multilateralism, specifically with the UN, Kolbe had an interesting answer. He praised the work of the UN, specifically as a technical organization. He stated that there were problems though within the General Assembly and Security Council and expressed disagreement on the decision to allow Britain, France, and Russia to be members of the Security Council while not allowing Brazil or India to join it. While commending the fiscal and personnel reforms of the UN, he stated that there was a need for political reforms. He ended his brief discussion of the UN by stating that the US needs to keep supporting the UN.
by Megan Shaw