The Global Citizen

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Students study how to be Global Citizens

About 30 international students from North Carolina State University hustled themselves out of bed on a Saturday morning to talk about what it means to be a Global Citizen. CEO Don Kraus met with the students at the CGS office in Washington, D.C., where he emphasized the need to be engaged with the rest of the world by learning, lobbying and traveling.

He demonstrated those points by showing the group the winning videos and animations from our 2008 Multimedia contest.

He also rolled out the first video in our new campaign, "What does it mean to be a Global Citizen?" The massive effort features video of people from all ages and professions, explaining in their own words, the need for global engagement, and the reasons they have decided to become more involved with world issues. The initial video features people ranging from original United World Federalist member Ed Rawson who lives in a Washington, D.C. suburb, to a college student who grew up on an isolated island off the northwestern coast of Washington state.

Don also read the group a quote by Thomas Jefferson that
is engraved on the Jefferson Memorial here in Washington, D.C.:

"as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

Kerry-Lugar Amendment Passes

Yesterday the Senate adopted by unanimous consent the Kerry-Lugar Amendment to restore $4 billion to the International Affairs Budget cut by the Senate Budget Committee. The Senate budget now includes the President's request for this account of $53.8 billion in FY 2010 to fund next year's budget ' an increase of 8%, or $4 billion, over last year's funding level of $49.8 billion.

In his statement on the Senate floor, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) said:

From pandemics to climate change to failed states, this century's security challenges demand that a new level of commitment to diplomacy and development. With this relatively small investment, we are making significant strides toward restoring America's leadership role in the world. It will make the world safer, and it will make us safer.

GlobalSolutions.org staff and members along with other members of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign worked hard to make this happen. Thank you Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar.

U.S. moves to reclaim human rights mantle

"We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." -- Franklin Roosevelt

More than 60 years ago, President Roosevelt reminded us that protecting the human rights of others is the only way to protect our own human rights.

Two Double Standards

Today, the Washington Post's lead editorial jumped on Arab states that welcomed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to the Doha Arab League summit. The Post observed the Leagues' call for the:

"international community to prosecute those responsible" for alleged 'war crimes' committed by Israel in its recent offensive in Gaza."

As well as the Leagues':

"ardent defense of Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir -- who was welcomed to the Doha summit despite an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on multiple war crimes charges."

However, the Post has failed to point out the Obama administrations' own double standard. While U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has strongly endorsed the Court's decision to issue the Bashir arrest warrants, the rest of the Administration has remained silent on the responsibility of other nations to honor those warrants and deliver Bashir to the Court, as well as the United States responsibility to do so. Instead the U.S. has continued to fund those nations, for example sending $1.3 billion to Egypt.

If the United States is to elevate the importance of human rights, as it did yesterday by announcing it will run for the Human Rights Coucil, it should demonstrate its own commitment to holding the world's most heinous criminals accountable for their actions by increasing its cooperation with the ICC.

U.S. Announces Candidacy for Human Rights Council

GlobalSolutions.org is thrilled to hear that the U.S. has officially announced its candidacy for Human Rights Council elections in May. Currently, the HRC is the primary global intergovernmental body able to address human rights issues - the U.S. has never been a member or an active participant. CGS has advocated that the U.S. run for a seat for a long time and we are now looking forward to the elections. The U.S. will compete for the seat with Belgium, Norway and New Zealand. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, echoed our sentiments when she stated:

Those who suffer from abuse and oppression around the world, as well as those who dedicate their lives to advancing human rights, need the Council to be balanced and credible. The U.S. is seeking election to the Council because we believe that working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights. We hope to work in partnership with many countries to achieve a more effective Council.

Congressman Howard Berman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee also issued a statement supporting CGS views:

I strongly support the administration's decision to engage with the United Nations Human Rights Council by running for a seat this year. This global forum has become increasingly dysfunctional and politicized, with virtually no guidance from the United States… The time is ripe to take a more positive and active role in challenging the Council and in speaking out about genuine human rights atrocities.

Lack of U.S. Commitment to Darfur

The U.S. is presently not a part of the ICC, so it does not have to follow the jurisdiction of the ICC. Yet, as a world power and a leader in promoting freedom and equality, many would agree that a stronger stance on arresting and persecuting Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir should be taken by the U.S. The U.S. State Department, during a press release on March 30, 2009, made a comment on the concern of such a warm welcome for al-Bashir by the Arab League. The State Dept.

US is Mute While Bashir Travels Freely

According to the New York Times and other media sources indicted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has visited with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Bashir has not been deterred by the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court. He visited Eritrea on Monday and is expected to attend an Arab League summit meeting in Qatar next week.

Opening Speech for the 2009 CGS Annual Meeting

The name of our organization, "GlobalSolutions.org" has two concepts built into it: "Citizens" and "Global Solutions." We put a lot of energy into thinking about global solutions. But today I want you to spend some time thinking about the first term, 'Citizens'. We are gathered here today as citizens of states from across the nation: from California to Maine. And we are here as proud citizens of the United States of America. (It's nice to be proud again.) But we are also here as global citizens.

The very definition of citizenship contains the concepts of loyalty and protection. We are loyal to a clan, a state, a nation, and for us the world - and in return for our loyalty we expect that by banding together and working within a common set of rules we will be able to make ourselves and our families more secure. But we are still working all this out at the global level. From our economy, to weapons of mass destruction, pandemics, genocide, to the very environment we exist in - we are not there yet. We are still exploring what the rules are and how we can work together. But we know that it is imperative that we accomplish this task. We are global citizens in a time of turmoil.

Moises Naim, the editor of Foreign Policy magazine said, "The gap between the need for effective collective action at the global level and the ability of the international community to satisfy that need is the most dangerous deficit facing humanity."