The Global Citizen: Prevent War
At Wednesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on “U.S. Policy in Syria,” the message from senators and witnesses alike was that the situation in Syria has passed a point of no return, making the question no longer if Assad will step down, but if the international community can take action to force his regime from power before more innocent lives are lost.
Witnesses included Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Luke Bronin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes. Feltman and Bronin both spoke to the overwhelming success of U.S. and European sanctions in financially crippling the Assad regime, in the hopes of forcing the dictator out. But they also both cautioned that serious action must still be taken if the international community wants to ensure that the country inherited by protestors isn’t one broken by economic hardship and sectarian violence.
On Sunday I experienced one of the greatest aspects of living in Washington DC. I heard Dr. Vandana Shiva, world renowned environmental and social activist, speak at the Right2Know March for labeling Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food products, and then walked only three blocks over to the Occupy DC camp, where people have come to protest their unhappiness with corporate greed and the state of the economic system, among many other things.
I was struck by the similar mentalities yet fundamental differences of these protests. The Right2Know March began in New York On October 1st, and ended here in Washington DC at Lafayette Square on Sunday, October 16th. Their goal is clear; they fight to create and pass legislation that requires all genetically engineered food ingredients to be labeled. Nutritionists, organic farmers, and concerned moms spoke out that it is our "right to know," what is in the food we eat (Read more here). Right2Know, like the Occupy Wall Street Movement, is fighting for the rights of common people.
GlobalSolutions.org, as a partner organization in the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping, launched a new peacekeeping report today at the National Press Club. The report provides Congress and the Administration with tangible recommendations on how the U.S. can improve its participation in international peacekeeping missions.
The impetus for the report came from a desire to implement the aspirations of the Obama Administration for the U.S. to increase involvement in peacekeeping missions. In 2009, President Obama delivered a speech to the leaders of the top troop contributing countries where he said,
"We will consider contributing more U.S. civilian police, civilian personnel, and military staff officers to U.N. missions."
This report's goal is to provide a plan for implementing this mission.
The event featured a key note address from Amb. Nancy Soderberg, President of the Connect U.S. Fund and former Alternative Representative to the U.N. Soderberg believed the report's recommendatoins were important, and said,
"This report should be read by senior policymakers within the U.S. government writ large."
Soderberg also noted,
GlobalSolutions.org, as part of the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping, has released a new report entitled, "U.S. Engagement in International Peacekeeping: From Aspiration to Implementation."
The report calls on Congress and the Obama Administration to improve U.S. participation in international peacekeeping operations and offers recommendations in four areas:
- U.S. funding of U.N. peacekeeping
- Women in peacekeeping
- Training and Equipping Peacekeepers
- Standing Civilian and Police Capacity
GlobalSolutions.org CEO Don Kraus and co-founder of the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping noted,
"In 2009, President Obama considered 'contributing more U.S. civilian police, civilian personnel, and military staff officers to UN missions.' Ambassador Susan Rice urged that 'the chronic shortages of ... helicopter, engineering, and medical units' and an 'expanded Standing Police Capacity' be resolved. These aspirations have yet to be implemented."
This report provides 26 recommendations for Congress and the Adminstration with tangible steps to improve U.S. participation in these vital operations.
Highlighted recommendations include:
Longtime CGS activist Tad Daley will appear on C-SPAN BOOK TV at 3 AM, 8:30 AM, and 4 PM EDT Sunday, October 9th. He'll be talking about his book APOCALYPSE NEVER: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon Free World, and laying out his plan for abolishing nuclear weapons before they abolish us. Tad spoke at Busboys and Poets in Washington DC on August 9th, 2011, the 66th anniversary of the atomic obliteration of Nagasaki, in an event sponsored by GlobalSolutions.org, Peace Action, and Progressive Democrats of America.
Looking for your first paid step into the world of peace and security organizations? The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship is now accepting applications for the spring 2012 semester.
Spring fellows will begin between January 15 and April 1, 2012 and work for six to nine months. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree by the time the fellowship begins; those with graduate degrees may also apply. All U.S. citizens, as well as non-U.S. citizens living in the U.S. who have an appropriate work permit, are eligible to apply; foreign nationals living outside the U.S. are not. The deadline for receipt of all materials has been extended to October 10, 2011 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time/21:00 UTC.
Established in 1987, the Scoville Fellowship is a highly-competitive national program that provides college graduates with the opportunity to gain a Washington perspective on key issues of peace and security. Supported by a stipend, the fellows serve as full-time junior staff members at the participating organization of their choice. Citizens for Global Solutons has had some awesome Scoville Fellows!
Many former Scoville Fellows have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in international relations and related fields and taken prominent positions in the field of peace and security with public-interest organizations, the Federal Government, and in academia. To date, 135 fellowships have been awarded.
Last week I attended the Social Good Summit in New York City, hosted by the United Nations Foundation, Mashable and Ericsson. In every panel and key note the underlying theme of the interdependence between individuals and UN Agencies made itself known. In some cases individual countries were instrumental to the success of a program and in some cases technology was, but in every case without the institutional support, expertise and legitimacy of the UN and without the innovation, willingness to risk and passion of the individuals, success was impossible. Nowhere was this partnership highlighted more than on the panel discussing the 46 million displaced people in the world. The moderator put it best when he stated: "Technology must come with a generous helping of hope, because technology alone is not the answer."
GlobalSolutions.org, along with several partner organizations, sent a letter yesterday to President Obama and other key administration officials outlining several recommendations for the administration's new Atrocities Prevention Board.
The letter was written by the Prevention and Protection Working Group, a coalition of humanitarian organizations working to improve U.S. government policies towards preventing violent conflict and mass atrocities. This letter follows the issuance by the Obama administration of the Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities (PSD 10), affirming that the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide is both of vital interest to U.S. national security and also a key moral responsibility for our government, creating the Atrocities Prevention Board to address these issues. The letter outlines steps that this new interagency Board should take to advance the goals of violent conflict and genocide prevention, including engaging Congress, strengthening U.S. Foreign Service Officer training, and including indigenous civil society organizations in peacekeeping efforts.
President Obama took to the podium today at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and spoke to that body-and the world--about the progress that's been made since last year's UNGA and the multitude of challenges that lie ahead. This was a speech more focused on lofty goals than concrete proposals or policy commitments, but nevertheless it was powerful and touched on many key issues at the heart of GlobalSolutions.org' mission.
The key theme of Obama's speech? "Peace is hard." But it's also worth the effort.
Watch the Video:
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