Washington, DC- On October 20th, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives celebrated its 20th anniversary. The Center for Strategic & International Studies hosted the forum, where USAID’s new Deputy Administrator, Alfonso E. Lenhardt, remarked on the challenges for development. As a decorated U.S. General, Lenhardt will bring his military experience to USAID… especially since he remarked on the “multipolar” nature of power. “OTI is an incubator,” remarked Lenhardt, heavily borrowing business terminology to update development mission. At the end of it all, though, there must be a policy change where priority must be given to human life with the increasing problem of refugees and internally displaced populations.
Since World War II, CSIS has documented 125 conflicts–the majority of them being intra-state. csisc3 ‘s 2010 study shows that conflict erupts every 2 weeks around the world. Of those 125 conflicts, only 20 percent received U.S. intervention.
Security and development are like the kissing cousins of U.S. reconstruction and relief efforts. Regarding the Middle East & North Africa region, “
@USAIDMiddleEast provided ambulances in #Syria & helped #tunisia & #libya draft their constitutions,” claimed Lenhardt. Other examples going as far back to the Pakistan Earthquakes also came up as success stories for the U.S.
For the security side of the discussion, there was a heavy focus on ISIS on the MENA extremism panel. As Mona Yacoubian stated, “Arab uprisings represent end of an old order, and we don’t know yet what will fill void. That’s why there is chaos.” Violent extremism will continue for decades as the challenge is dynamic, complex and multi-faceted. In 21st century, power has become more diffuse.
At the same time, violent Extremism NEEDS to be demystified as it is a symptom of a larger problem. “They often have a short-shelf life,” observed D. Hunsicker of USAID. Nonetheless, as Hunsicker continued, “development transformations in society is a long-term game that plays out in decades. ‘Streams of info on devices don’t get to root causes of extremism.”
Not too far away, it can take a young woman in some parts of
#Afghanistan, it takes 3 days to 1 week to get to a hospital. -Fawzi Koofi remarked in “Girls At the Center” discussion for the Millennium Development Goals.
Lessons Learned for Development Mission Moving Forward