Ezra Douglas

Research Associate

Citizens for Global Solutions: The Importance of your Gift


‘Tis the season of giving! An expression that becomes customary as acts of giving become commonplace around this time of year. As we walk down the street and see toy donation stands being constructed or hear that charming bell ringing for the Salvation Army, the holiday season is the time when charitable giving is at its prime. Each donation that we give is cherished in our hearts, as we believe our act of kindness will go towards the greater good, advance a cause, or even put a smile on someone’s face.

When I first came to Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), I was eager to learn about development and its significance to our organization. I soon gained valuable insight into the importance of charitable giving from foundations and from members like you, and how they help support CGS in attaining its mission and values.

But receiving donations does not come as easily as one might think. During my internship, researching prospective foundations for charitable giving was critical to fueling our movement. After I located prospective foundations that represented our ideas and beliefs, I wrote letters of inquiry (LOIs) that explained the link between our organization and that foundation and why they should consider us as a potential beneficiary. These LOIs enable our organization to receive funds, which allow us to push our mission forward.

From War to Hunger: The Refugees in Syria’s Civil War


Since the start of the horrendous civil war attempting to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, the neighbors of Syria—Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in particular—have seen endless lines of refugees cross their borders seeking safety. Many travel night and day to reach these countries. Their faces tell the story of war; fatigued, exhausted, broken, these refugees arrive in overcrowded camps that are unprepared to deal with the vast numbers of people fleeing Syria.

What is heartbreaking is that many of these refugees will be left without the aid needed to deal with the hurdles and challenges that they had overcome to get to these camps.

On December 1, 2014, the World Food Programme (WFP), a subsidiary agency of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian agency geared toward fighting hunger, announced that it was going to cut aid to Syrian refugees due to a lack of funding. Earlier this year, the organization reduced food rations to those in need and has stated that many may not receive any food due to the fighting in Syria. The cuts are expected to hurt as many as 1.7 million Syrian refugees.

Refugees crossing the borders will be forced to make do with already strained resources and government services. An estimated 3.2 million Syrians have fled the country and another 7.6 million are displaced. Countries such as Lebanon, with a population of 4.4 million, have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of refugees, taking in nearly 1.1 million Syrians. The mass influx proves to be problematic for regional governments, as many are now reducing the flow of refugees or closing their borders.

Diplomacy: The West vs. Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions


For the past couple of months, negotiations have been taking place between the West and Iran on Iran’s nuclear program. These negotiations have serious implications that are critical to fostering a lasting peace in the region and preventing further conflict. Despite the goals these negotiations aim to accomplish, a deal between these two conflicting sides has not been reached and has instead been pushed back for another seven months.

These talks serve to illustrate the importance of using diplomacy in solving the crisis of nuclear proliferation rather than aggressive action. Ever since the Joint Plan of Action deal was reached last year in Geneva, Iran has opened up its willingness to negotiate, and progress has been made on the handling of Iran’s nuclear program.

The negotiations that the two sides aim to accomplish are based on Iran's easing its nuclear enrichment program and the West's lifting its sanctions against Iran. The duration of such agreements are also in question. Many in the West and in the vicinity of Iran would argue that a short deal would do little to hamper Iran’s capabilities and would not solve the crisis. Nations such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, key US allies in the region, fear a nuclear Iran. Back when former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president of Iran, he advocated for the destruction and annihilation of Israel. Such statements foster fear that a nuclear-armed Iran would cause conflict and push for other nations in the region to invest in nuclear technology.