President Joe Biden visited the US State Department to give his first major foreign policy speech in which he declared emphatically, “America is back.” He noted the importance – the obligation – of America to assert its global leadership, and said he would repair the alliances broken and weakened by the Trump Administration, along with reinforcing his respect and commitment to the people who serve in the diplomatic corps, often in dangerous and difficult circumstances.
He emphasized that diplomacy is not just because of the moral imperative, but also helps America and Americans prosper and live in peace.
And he said he would reassert American values in diplomacy: reinstating a refugee admissions program that would accommodate up to 125,000 in the first full fiscal year of his administration; would seek a ceasefire in Yemen and would send humanitarian aid; and would stand up for human rights.
He said he would assert American interests in Russia and China, and suggested there would be sanctions against the military leadership that fomented a coup in Myanmar. “In a democracy, force should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election,” he declared, in a statement that had eerie resonance in the United States.
“Investing in our diplomacy isn’t something we do just because it’s the right thing to do for the world. We do it in order to live in peace, security, and prosperity. We do it because it’s in our own naked self-interest. When we strengthen our alliances, we amplify our power as well as our ability to disrupt threats before they can reach our shores.
“When we invest in economic development of countries, we create new markets for our products and reduce the likelihood of instability, violence, and mass migrations.
“When we strengthen health systems in far regions of the world, we reduce the risk of future pandemics that can threaten our people and our economy. “When we defend equal rights of people the world over — of women and girls, LGBTQ individuals, indigenous communities, and people with disabilities, the people of every ethnic background and religion — we also ensure that those rights are protected for our own children here in America.
“America cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage. I come today to the State Department, an agency as old and as storied as the nation itself, because diplomacy has always been essential to how America writes its own destiny.”
Here is a highlighted transcript of President Biden’s remarks:
It’s great to be here and stand alongside our most recent and senior diplomat, Secretary Tony Blinken. Mr. Secretary, thank you for welcoming us today. We’ve worked together for over 20 years. Your diplomatic skills are respected equally by your friends and our competitors around the world.
And they know when you speak, you speak for me. And so — so is the message I want the world to hear today: America is back. America is back. Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy.
As I said in my inaugural address, we will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s. American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy.
We must meet the new moment accelerating global challenges — from the pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation — challenging the will only to be solved by nations working together and in common. We can’t do it alone.
That must be this — we must start with diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.
That’s the grounding wire of our global policy — our global power. That’s our inexhaustible source of strength. That’s America’s abiding advantage.
Though many of these values have come under intense pressure in recent years, even pushed to the brink in the last few weeks, the American people are going to emerge from this moment stronger, more determined, and better equipped to unite the world in fighting to defend democracy, because we have fought for it ourselves.
Over the past few days, we’ve been in close cooperation with our allies and partners to bring together the international community to address the military coup in Burma.
I’ve also been in touch with Leader McConnell to discuss our shared concerns about the situation in Burma, and we are united in our resolve.
There can be no doubt: In a democracy, force should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election.
The Burmese military should relinquish power they have seized, release the advocates and activists and officials they have detained, lift the restrictions on telecommunications, and refrain from violence.
As I said earlier this week, we will work with our partners to support restoration of democracy and the rule of law, and impose consequences on those responsible.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve spoken with the leaders of many of our closest friends — Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, NATO, Japan, South Korea, Australia — to being [begin] reforming the habits of cooperation and rebuilding the muscle of democratic alliances that have atrophied over the past few years of neglect and, I would argue, abuse.
America’s alliances are our greatest asset, and leading with diplomacy means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and key partners once again.
By leading with diplomacy, we must also mean engaging our adversaries and our competitors diplomatically, where it’s in our interest, and advance the security of the American people.
That’s why, yesterday, the United States and Russia agreed to extend the New START Treaty for five years to preserve the only remaining treaty between our countries safeguarding nuclear stability.
At the same time, I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions — interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens — are over. We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people. And we will be more effective in dealing with Russia when we work in coalition and coordination with other like-minded partners.
The politically motivated jailing of Alexei Navalny and the Russian efforts to suppress freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are a matter of deep concern to us and the international community.
Mr. Navalny, like all Russian citizens, is entitled to his rights under the Russian constitution. He’s been targeted — targeted for exposing corruption. He should be released immediately and without condition.
And we’ll also take on directly the challenges posed by our prosperity, security, and democratic values by our most serious competitor, China. We’ll confront China’s economic abuses; counter its aggressive, coercive action; to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.
But we are ready to work with Beijing when it’s in America’s interest to do so. We will compete from a position of strength by building back better at home, working with our allies and partners, renewing our role in international institutions, and reclaiming our credibility and moral authority, much of which has been lost.
That’s why we’ve moved quickly to begin restoring American engagement internationally and earn back our leadership position, to catalyze global action on shared challenges.
On day one, I signed the paperwork to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. We’re taking steps led by the example of integrating climate objectives across all of our diplomacy and raise the ambition of our climate targets. That way, we can challenge other nations, other major emitters,to up the ante on their own commitments. I’ll be hosting climate leaders — a climate leaders’ summit to address the climate crisis on Earth Day of this year.
America must lead in the face of this existential threat. And just as with the pandemic, it requires global cooperation.
We’ve also reengaged with the World Health Organization. That way, we can build better global preparedness to counter COVID-19, as well as detect and prevent future pandemics, because there will be more.
We’ve elevated the status of cyber issues within our government, including appointing the first national — Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology. We’re launching an urgent initiative to improve our capability, readiness, and resilience in cyberspace.
Today, I’m announcing additional steps to course-correct our foreign policy and better unite our democratic values with our diplomatic leadership.
To begin, Defense Secretary Austin will be leading a Global Posture Review of our forces so that our military footprint is appropriately aligned with our foreign policy and national security priorities. It will be coordinated across all elements of our national security, with Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken working in close cooperation.
And while this review is taking place, we’ll be stopping any planned troop withdrawals from Germany. We’re also stepping up our diplomacy to end the war in Yemen — a war which has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. I’ve asked my Middle East team to ensure our support for the United Nations-led initiative to impose a ceasefire, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks.
This morning, Secretary Blinken appointed Tim Lenderking, a career foreign policy officer, as our special envoy to the Yemen conflict. And I appreciate his doing this. Tim is a life — has lifelong experience in the region, and he’ll work with the U.N. envoy and all parties of the conflict to push for a diplomatic resolution.
And Tim’s diplomacy will be bolstered by USAID, working to ensure that humanitarian aid is reaching the Yemeni people who are sufferinguunendurable devastation. This war has to end.
And to underscore our commitment, we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks, UAV strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries. We’re going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people.
We also face a crisis of more than 80 million displaced people suffering all around the world. The United States’ moral leadership on refugee issues was a point of bipartisan consensus for so many decades when I first got here. We shined the light of lamp on — of liberty on oppressed people. We offered safe havens for those fleeing violence or persecution. And our example pushed other nations to open wide their doors as well.
So today, I’m approving an executive order to begin the hard work of restoring our refugee admissions program to help meet the unprecedented global need. It’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that’s precisely what we’re going to do.
This executive order will position us to be able to raise the refugee admissions back up to 125,000 persons for the first full fiscal year of the Biden-Harris administration. And I’m directing the State Department to consult with Congress about making a down payment on that commitment as soon as possible.
And to further repair our moral leadership, I’m also issuing a presidential memo to agencies to reinvigorate our leadership on the LGBTQI issues and do it internationally. You know, we’ll ensure diplomacy and foreign assistance are working to promote the rights of those individuals, included by combatting criminalization and protecting LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers.
And finally, to successfully reassert our diplomacy and keep Americans safe, prosperous, and free, we must restore the health and morale of our foreign policy institutions.
I want the people who work in this building and our embassies and consulates around the world to know: I value your expertise and I respect you, and I will have your back. This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you. We want a rigorous debate that brings all perspectives and makes room for dissent. That’s how we’ll get the best possible policy outcomes.
So, with your help, the United States will again lead not just by the example of our power but the power of our example.
That’s why my administration has already taken the important step to live our domestic values at home — our democratic values at home.
Within hours of taking office, I signed an executive order overturning the hateful, discriminatory Muslim ban; reversed the ban on transgender individuals serving in our military.
And as part of our commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability, we stated on day one — we started on day one with daily briefings of the press from the White House. We’ve reinstituted regular briefings here at State and at the Pentagon. We believe a free press isn’t an adversary; rather, it’s essential to the health of a democracy.
We’ve restored our commitment to science and to create policies grounded in facts and evidence. I suspect Ben Franklin would approve.
We’ve taken steps to acknowledge and address systemic racism and the scourge of white supremacy in our own country. Racial equity will not just be an issue for one department in our administration, it has to be the business of the whole of government in all our federal policies and institutions.
All this matters to foreign policy, because when we host the Summit of Democracy early in my administration to rally the nations of the world to defend democracy globally, to push back the authoritarianism’s advance, we’ll be a much more credible partner because of these efforts to shore up our own foundations.
There’s no longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy. Every action we take in our conduct abroad, we must take with American working families in mind. Advancing a foreign policy for the middle class demands urgent focus on our domestic economic renewal.
And that’s why I immediately put forth the American Rescue Plan to pull us out of this economic crisis. That’s why I signed an executive order strengthening our Buy American policies last week. And it’s also why I’ll work with Congress to make far-reaching investments in research and development of transformable technologies.
These investments are going to create jobs, maintain America’s competitive edge globally, and ensure all Americans share in the dividends.
If we invest in ourselves and our people, if we fight to ensure that American businesses are positioned to compete and win on the global stage, if the rules of international trade aren’t stacked against us, if our workers and intellectual property are protected, then there’s no country on Earth — not China or any other country on Earth — that can match us.
Investing in our diplomacy isn’t something we do just because it’s the right thing to do for the world. We do it in order to live in peace, security, and prosperity. We do it because it’s in our own naked self-interest. When we strengthen our alliances, we amplify our power as well as our ability to disrupt threats before they can reach our shores.
When we invest in economic development of countries, we create new markets for our products and reduce the likelihood of instability, violence, and mass migrations.
When we strengthen health systems in far regions of the world, we reduce the risk of future pandemics that can threaten our people and our economy.
When we defend equal rights of people the world over — of women and girls, LGBTQ individuals, indigenous communities, and people with disabilities, the people of every ethnic background and religion — we also ensure that those rights are protected for our own children here in America.
America cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage. I come today to the State Department, an agency as old and as storied as the nation itself, because diplomacy has always been essential to how American — America writes its own destiny.
For the diplomacy of Ben Franklin helped assure the success of our revolution. The vision of the Marshall Plan helped prevent the world from foundering on the wreckage of war. And the passions of Eleanor Roosevelt declared the audacious idea of universal rights that belong to all.
The leadership of diplomats of every stripe, doing the daily work of engagement, created the very idea of a free and interconnected world. We are a country that does big things. American diplomacy makes it happen. And our administration is ready to take up the mantle and lead once again.
Thank you all. And may God bless you and protect our troops, our diplomats, and our development experts, and all Americans serving in harm’s way.
On World Refugee Day, Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, issued this statement attacking the “fear-mongering, xenophobia and racism” as the “unabashed tenets of Trump’s refugee and immigration policy, and promised to “recommit to building a more inclusive and welcoming America. That’s how we will restore the soul of our nation.”
Here is his statement:
World Refugee Day is the time when all nations recognize the humanity and resilience of the millions of people forced from their homes by persecution, war, and violence and renew our commitment to protect the most vulnerable. The United States has always strived to serve as a beacon of hope — a role model in resettling refugees and leading the humanitarian response abroad. But today is also a bitter reminder of how Donald Trump has tried to change America from a nation of refuge and liberty to one of division and intolerance.
Fear-mongering, xenophobia, and racism are the unabashed tenets of Trump’s refugee and immigration policy, and his divisive, dangerous, and undemocratic response to Black Lives Matter is a reminder of this administration’s devaluation of Black, Brown, and other minority communities not only in the United States, but around the world. But we will not, and we cannot, allow hate and rage to divide us further. Decades ago, giants of the civil rights movement like Bayard Rustin recognized the universal fight for freedom and safety and urged the United States to accept more refugees. Their call is even more urgent today as the number of those forcibly displaced worldwide reaches nearly 80 million people worldwide — roughly 1 percent of humanity.
Donald Trump has made clear that he does not believe our country should be a place of refuge. He has slashed refugee admissions by more than 80 percent and, just this past week, released an immoral and likely unlawful rule that makes it nearly impossible for most asylum-seekers to qualify for protection in the United States . He has cruelly separated thousands of children from their parents, sought to prevent victims of gang and domestic violence from receiving asylum, and severely limited the ability of members of the LGBTQ+ community, an especially vulnerable group in many parts of the world, from qualifying for asylum.
And he has turned his back on the men and women who served honorably alongside our soldiers, diplomats, and aid workers in Iraq and Afghanistan as interpreters and guides, and now find that their lives, and the lives of their families, are threatened for this service. This cannot stand. As one of the co-sponsors of the 1980 Refugee Act, I believe that resettling refugees helps reunite families, enriches the fabric of America, and enhances our standing, influence, and security in the world. Right now, many refugees are also working on the frontlines of the pandemic response, as nursing aides, doctors, meatpackers, and grocery clerks, among other essential workers.
Restoring America’s historic role as leader in resettlement and defending the rights of refugees everywhere will take concrete action.
As President, I will increase the number of refugees we welcome into this country, setting an annual global refugee target of 125,000 — up from a ceiling of 18,000 under Trump — and will seek to further raise it over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need.
I will support efforts to work with Congress in a bipartisan fashion to protect our refugee policy from drastic and arbitrary reductions we have seen during the Trump Administration and establish a minimum admissions number of at least 95,000 refugees annually.
I will pursue policies that increase opportunities for faith and local communities to sponsor refugee resettlement.
I will make more channels, such as higher education visas, available to those seeking safety. I will repeal the Muslim ban — and other discriminatory bans based on ethnicity and nationality — and restore asylum laws, including ending the horrific practice of separating families at our border.
I will work with our allies and partners to stand against China’s assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms and mass detention and repression of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities and support a pathway for those persecuted to find safe haven in the United States and other nations.
I also recognize that it is not enough to simply reverse or dismantle the heartless policies of the Trump Administration. We need to look for ways to do better. On this World Refugee Day, we all must stand together and recommit to building a more inclusive and welcoming America. That’s how we will restore the soul of our nation.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York State intends to file a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump Administration on the grounds that the federal government is violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children and their parents who have been separated at the border. We now know of more than 70 children who are staying in federal shelters in New York State and that number is expected to increase as other facilities are contacted. The Governor is directing the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services to commence legal action against the federal government’s “Separation of Families” policy. Following the callous and inhumane treatment of immigrant families at the border, New York is suing to protect the health and well-being of children being held at least 10 different facilities across the state including some on Long Island, and at others throughout the nation.
“The Trump Administration’s policy to tear apart families is a moral failing and a human tragedy,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will not tolerate the Constitutional rights of children and their parents being violated by our federal government. New York will act and file suit to end this callous and deliberate attack on immigrant communities, and end this heartless policy once and for all.”
The Governor announced that New York plans to sue the federal government for:
Violating the Constitutional Rights of Children and Families
Parents are being separated from their children at the border as a result of the Trump Administration’s new “zero tolerance” prosecution of the minor federal offense of improper entry into the country. In prior administrations, families who appeared with children at the border would be processed together and released with a date to appear in court. Now, parents, many of whom are seeking to protect their children and families from gang violence, are being systematically detained, separated from their children, and, in some cases, deported with no meaningful opportunity to participate in making decisions concerning the care and custody of their children. Yet these parents are still afforded rights under the United States Constitution to familial integrity and to decide to exercise their parental rights in New York State.
Violation of the Terms of the Flores Settlement
The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement set national standards regarding the detention, release, and treatment of all children in immigration detention and prioritizes the principle of family unity. It requires that juvenile immigrant detainees be released from custody without unnecessary delay, or when no appropriate placement is available, be held in the least restrictive setting appropriate to age and special needs. The Flores Settlement explicitly requires family reunification with a clear preference for custody by a parent, which supports New York’s call for ending the “zero tolerance” policy.
Callous Policies Based on the Outrageous Government Conduct Doctrine
The Supreme Court has asserted that “it may someday be presented with a situation in which the conduct of law enforcement agents is so outrageous that due process principles would absolutely bar the government from invoking judicial processes to obtain a conviction.” Clearly that day has come. New York State will challenge the federal government’s zero-tolerance policy which leads to the unnecessary and inhumane separation of families and detention of childrenand which serves no legitimate national security or public safety purpose.
Governor Cuomo issued an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence condemning the “zero-tolerance” policy and urging the federal government to end the mistreatment of immigrant families at the border.
The Governor’s call for legal action builds on the launch of new initiatives and increased services and support for New Americans across New York. In January, the Governor announced actions to protect thousands of immigrants from President Trump’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans, Haitians and Nicaraguans, including directing the Department of State to increase resources available to communities across New York.
On June 8, the Governor issued a letter to Department of Homeland Security Acting Inspector General John Kelly calling for an investigation into the conduct of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and on Sunday, June 17, the Governor again called on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the treatment of immigrant families at the border. On Monday, June 18 the Governor declared that New York State will not deploy National Guard to the border and will not support the federal government’s inhumane treatment of immigrant families.
Liberty Defense Project
This latest call for action builds on the comprehensive efforts of this administration to protect the rights of immigrants, including the Liberty Defense Project, created by Governor Cuomo in 2017. The LDP was established in response to hostile federal policies and is the nation’s first state-led project to assist immigrants – regardless of status – in obtaining access to legal services and process. The Liberty Defense Project provides essential legal services on deportation defense, direct representation, consultations, application assistance, and more. The public-private partnership is administered by the Office for New Americans and run in partnership with law firms, legal associations, advocacy organizations, colleges, universities, and bar associations across the state.
Since July 2017, the Liberty Defense Project has provided more than 10,000 free and confidential services to individuals needing legal assistance through its network of 47 community-based groups.
Application Deadline Extended for NaturalizeNY Initiative
Part of the Governor’s efforts to help immigrants and minority populations fully participate in New York’s civic and economic life, NaturalizeNY assists low-income immigrants in gaining U.S. citizenship. The nation’s first statutorily created immigrant services office, NaturalizeNY is administered and supported by Governor Cuomo’s Office for New Americans in partnership with Robin Hood, New York Community Trust, Stanford University’s Immigration Policy Lab, as well as faculty from SUNY Albany and George Mason University.
Eligible immigrants may register and enter a lottery for a voucher to cover the $725 naturalization application fee. Applicants may apply online at NaturalizeNY.org, via the New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636 or by visiting an ONA Opportunity Center. The registration period began May 1 and has been extended from its original June 15 end date to July 3, 2018.
Since Governor Cuomo established the Office of New Americans in 2013, more than 200,000 New Americans have received help navigating the naturalization process, starting and growing their own businesses, learning English, and becoming part of New York’s diverse cultural fabric. Of these:
19,543 were Naturalization and DACA applications and referrals;
34,938 participated in ESOL classes throughout the state;
4,986 partook in entrepreneurship classes across New York;
500 graduated with at least 20 hours of English language coursework via Cell-Ed, a phone-based English learning system for individuals who have difficulty reaching an actual classroom; and
1,540 are actively engaged in Cell-Ed throughout the state.
In addition to providing free, direct assistance to individuals, the Office for New Americans has conducted more than 6,000 seminars and meetings to educate New Yorkers on how to apply for a passport, how to apply for college, what to do if/when immigration officers come to their homes, and what avenues are available for victims of domestic violence.
“It is outrageous government conduct and there is an outrageous government conduct doctrine,” Governor Cuomo told reporters in a press call announcing the plan to sue the Trump Administration. “The Supreme Court has expressed openness to the idea that, iit may someday be presented with a situation in which the conduct of law enforcement agents is so outrageous that due process principles would absolutely bar the government from invoking judicial processes to obtain a conviction.’
“And clearly that day has come. We’ve had a number of experiences with ICE in this state where I believe they have been turned into a political police apparatus. We had a situation in Rome, New York on April  where they trampled an immigrant’s rights without a warrant. Went onto a farm, grabbed a worker, left. Unidentified. Never showed the farmer a piece of paper. They just trampled the immigrant’s rights as they trampled the farmer’s field. We’re involved in a situation now that happened on June  where they detained Pablo Villavicencio, who was a pizza delivery person delivering pizza in Brooklyn, married, two children, in New York, and he has been detained. They moved to deport him immediately. We intervened through what we call our Liberty Defense Project. We provided counsel and we put that off, but it’s just another example of the overzealous activity of ICE in pursuing the President’s political mandate. The separation between police powers and political wishes is sacrosanct in this country, and I think that’s being violated.
“You should also know that the State regulates the facilities that the federal government is using and the State offered health services and mental health services to these children. Obviously it’s traumatic for a child to be separated from their parents and the State has been informed that the federal government has essentially gagged the facilities and that if we want to provide any services to the children, we’d have to go through the federal government and it’s a protracted process that would take weeks.
“Why the federal government would want to be in a position to stop a state from offering mental health services, support services, for young children suffering trauma just adds further insult to further injury.
“We’re going to sue through a multi-agency coalition, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, what we call OTDA, the Department of Health, and the Office of Children and Family Services on the grounds that I mentioned earlier. So politics aside, philosophy aside, children have legal rights. Parents have legal rights. That’s established firmly in the federal and state constitutions and in case law. They have fundamental rights. They apply whether they’re documented, undocumented, short, tall, Mexican, seeking asylum, or not seeking asylum. Those fundamental rights apply and we believe they’ve been violated.”
The question that came to my mind as I listened to Natanya Briendel, director of the Westchester Division at the Pace Women’s Justice Center, speak at the monthly meeting of Reach Out America, a Long Island-based activist group, was how Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ roundups of undocumented immigrants rests on a concept that the Constitution – specifically due process – does not apply to non-citizens. Technically, then, any foreigner in the United States could be picked up and denied habeas corpus – the right to appear speedily in front of a judge, hear the charges and put up a defense.
She described situations where people are being rounded up based on an accusation, and if they are undocumented, immediately incarcerated and deported. No warrant. No reasonable cause to justify a search. No right to legal counsel or even a hearing before a judge.
Even people who are claiming asylum based on escaping violence in their home country, are treated as if they were criminals.
The result has been sheer terror for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. Why so many? Because Republicans going back to Reagan have refused to establish a workable immigration program; during Obama’s Administration, the House Republicans literally shoved a Comprehensive Immigration bill in the desk and never voted on it. Employers have benefited from having a pool of people who are abused, cheated, and treated like indentured servants.
Here in Long Island, we have an instance where just being Hispanic renders a high school student vulnerable to accusations of membership in the dreaded M-13 gang based on what colors you wear to school.
Donald Trump in his national security speech (really a rehash of his dystopian inaugural address), equates all immigrants as terrorists, regardless if they have lived, worked and paid taxes in the United States for decades, describing the need to shut off refugees, cancel DACA, end the possibility of family members obtaining legal status. Even individuals currently serving in the military, who were promised citizenship at the end of their tour, will be subject to deportation.
Our strategy advances four vital national interests. First, we must protect the American people, the homeland, and our great American way of life. This strategy recognizes that we cannot secure our nation if we do not secure our borders. So for the first time ever, American strategy now includes a serious plan to defend our homeland. It calls for the construction of a wall on our southern border; ending chain migration and the horrible visa and lottery programs; closing loopholes that undermine enforcement; and strongly supporting our Border Patrol agents, ICE officers, and Homeland Security personnel.”
The callousness, the stupidity, the sheer contradiction of American values, principles, and law.
Meanwhile, 12,762 DACA recipients – 122 a day – have lost their protected status since September 5, when President Trump rescinded the executive order that protected immigrants who arrived here as children from deportation, who were raised in the United States which is the only country they know. Trump gave a deadline of March, but the Republican Congress has shown it doesn’t actually care. Trump has reneged on the “deal” he appeared to make with Schumer and Pelosi; Democrats have threatened to use the only leverage they have – shutting down government by refusing to reauthorize a budget resolution – but that is unlikely.
Immigrants are no longer welcome. That is, unless the immigrant can buy a visa by investing $500,000 in a Trump family real estate venture, or a migrant imported to work at Mar-a-Lago (when there are tens of thousands of Puerto Rican hotel workers who lost their jobs after Maria and have sought refuge in Florida – why is he not hiring them? Answer: because they can register to vote in Florida. After all, Puerto Ricans are American citizens.)
On the other hand, the way Trump and Sessions are inflicting their might, it means that undocumented individuals are no longer protected by law – they can be physically abused by a spouse, cheated by an employer of their wages, have their children taken from them without recourse to seek custody. They have no way of protecting their civil rights, their human rights, because the courthouse has become a locus for them to be snatched up by immigration officers. They are fearful to report crimes; certainly to warn officials of any terror threats.
Here on Long Island – the very place where Trump gave a speech suggesting that police officers don’t have to be “so nice” when they stuff someone into their patrol car, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Monday, arguing that it lacks authority under state law to honor detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Detainers ask local officers to hold immigrants after they would otherwise be released from custody. This suit seeks the release of Susai Francis, a resident of Long Island for 21 years, where he has raised two sons, who should have been released after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct but instead was being held for ICE in a Suffolk County jail.
“Not only should local law enforcement reject the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, but state law is also clear that local law enforcement can’t violate people’s rights in order to do ICE’s bidding,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “The role of local law enforcement is to protect and serve all New Yorkers, and that is incompatible with the unlawful detention of our neighbors and family members at the behest of the Trump deportation machine.”
The day before Trump gave his national security speech calling again for a border wall and shutting down immigration, and offering not a crumb of possibility of the comprehensive immigration reform that should have been in place for 30 years so that people can get some legal status and not live in the shadows where they can be exploited, was United Nations International Migrants Day. Not a peep from the White House. Instead, the United States announced it would end participation in the UN process to develop a Global Compact on Migration (GCM) based on the claim that it would undermine “sovereignty”.
With civil war, ethnic conflict, gang violence, drought, famine, floods, wildfires and climate disasters, there are the largest number of refugees and displaced people in numbers not seen since World War II: 40 8 million displaced people worldwide as a result of conflict and violence at the end of 2015; an estimated 64 million are impacted by climate.
(Trump, in his national security speech, dismissed climate change as a national security threat, suggesting instead that increasing American energy production would be the counter balance.)
Immigrants are lumped together. “You think the countries are giving us their best people? No. What kind of a system is that?”Trump said at a press conference. “They give us their worst people, they put them in a bin, but in his hand when he’s picking them is really the worst of the worst.”
Trump’s view – big on a wall stretching along the southern border, a travel ban which shuts down access from six Muslim majority nations (none of which have been responsible for terrorism in the US), reducing the number of refugees who will be accepted to a trickle (45,000) while threatening to throw out others (Haitians, Nicaraguans) – is to pull up the drawbridge, much like the Soviet Union’s Iron Curtain or China’s Bamboo Curtain, and keep us equally isolated and ignorant, reciting the Trump mantra of America’s Greatness.
Combined with banning words and phrases at agencies, scrubbing reports and websites, spying on federal workers, Trump’s declaration is more ominous: “With this strategy, we are calling for a great reawakening of America, a resurgence of confidence, and a rebirth of patriotism, prosperity, and pride.
It is more: the disdain for civil rights for noncitizens within our borders means that the Trump Doctrine, which we now know is purely transactional, means that there is zero interest in upholding human rights.
“We want strong alliances and partnerships based on cooperation and reciprocity. We will make new partnerships with those who share our goals, and make common interests into a common cause. We will not allow inflexible ideology to become an obsolete and obstacle to peace.”
Trump’s view, enabled by the Republican Congress, is so warped. But there is another way: reauthorize DACA with a path to citizenship; provide legal status (not citizenship) for people who came illegally but who have worked and made homes here and have no significant criminal record, particularly the parents of DACA recipients and American children; have vetting for travelers, but accept travelers; exercise moral responsibility in accepting refugees, helping resettle refugees, and contributing funds toward refugee communities. And participate in the world to reduce the causes for refugees, migrants and immigrants: help end the conflicts and violence that sets people on their precarious journey; address climate change that is resulting in communities being uninhabitable; and advance the quality of life in these countries.
None of these generators of the desperation that motivates people to uproot their lives and take a treacherous journey to a strange place are satisfied by Trump’s “national security strategy” which puts American First and to hell with the rest of the world.
In one stroke of his pen, Trump overturned and violated foundational American principles and values enshrined in the Constitution that bars favor or disfavor for any religion, that guarantees due process of law and that every person deserves equal justice under law. His ban on travel, immigration and refugee asylum goes against American history and heritage as a nation built by immigrants, many who came as refugees fleeing war and persecution. It ignores the many instances in American history when government violated its own principles, such as its original sins, the genocide of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans, going on to the Chinese Expulsion, the Japanese internment, the ramifications of turning back boatloads of Jews fleeing the Nazi Holocaust. Trump would like to go back to those bad ol’ days.
And he did it on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Note: Trump’s statement released on Friday failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism, clearly the imprint of White Nationalist Steve Bannon, Trump’s key advisor.)
Trump, through his dismissive foreign policy tweets concerning NATO, nuclear weapons, climate change, indeed his entire America First policy – reinforced by the new UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in a defiant, “You have our back or we’re taking names” threat; his trade war launched with Mexico which likely will spread to China and others, his stance to pull the US out of global climate action – will turn the US into a pariah among nations, opening the way for China to step up influence in Mexico (a Pacific nation), and Africa, and Russia in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (after all, who will stop Putin’s push to establish a new Soviet Empire?).
The immoral, unconstitutional, anti-American, and ultimately self-destructive impacts of Trump’s Muslim Ban will not make the United States safer, but rather feeds into radical Jihadists’ war cry against the Crusader West, not to mention the misery, anxiety it has imposed on thousands of immigrants and refugees who have already suffered the terror of war and the trauma of leaving homelands, sending them back into dangerous and desperate circumstance.
The callous disregard for the toll on humans because of the horrendous way the order was rolled out – making the first two weeks of the Obamacare roll out look like the 1969 moon landing – gives proof to the lie of Trump as a “businessman” rather than King of Debt who drove his businesses into the ground, while screwing the workers and contractors, and raises real terror than he will in fact run the country as he ran his businesses.
There has been superb reporting on the individuals caught in Trump’s limbo. But I want to focus on the economic and social impacts of undermining travel and tourism, reviving anti-Americanism abroad and undermining the appeal of the United States as a destination.
Trump, with an America First philosophy, says he wants to expand economy and jobs, lower the trade deficit, but his policies already are guaranteed to damage one of the nation’s most vigorous, reliable engines of economic growth, jobs and social mobility, lifting minorities and women into the middle class, not to mention international goodwill: international travel.
Indeed, tourism is part of trade. Travelers coming into the United States are an “import,” and the dollars spent here go a long way to reducing the trade deficit. How much? According to the US Travel Association, travel and tourism generates $2.1 trillion in economic output (2.7% of GDP) from domestic and international visitors (includes $927.9 billion in direct travel expenditures that spurred an additional $1.2 trillion in other industries through a ripple effect). Travel expenditures support 15 million jobs (8 million directly); account for $221.7 billion in wages, and generate $141.5 billion in tax revenues to federal, state and local governments, levels that increased significantly over the past eight years, helping to lift the nation out of the Great Recession.
Just as Trump unleashed his ban – catching up people who were already in transit, many after years of vetting, and even green card holders and legal residents who happened to be traveling outside US – I was at the Javits Center for the New York Times Travel Show, a stunning gathering of travel suppliers and representatives from around the world and people who sell travel and value travel.
I stopped at a booth of an operator who organizes trips to Iran (earlier, Iran was cited as one of the “hot” new destinations for Americans, along with Cuba). In response to Trump’s ban on all arrivals from Iran, Iran retaliated with a ban on Americans coming in (Iraq is now talking about expelling Americans, where we have some 5,000 troops, already primed to hate Americans after Trump told the CIA he would like a “second chance at getting Iraq’s Oil” after all, “to the victor belong the spoils.”).
Cuba is another destination that Americans have been flocking to since Obama normalized relations and eased travel restrictions – a way to succeed where 50 years of isolation have failed, to introduce a taste for democracy to Cubans living under a Communist dictatorship. Now that is up in the air.
“If [Trump] makes it look like Mexico is the enemy, people will stop traveling to the enemy,” Alejandro Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group said on a “State of the Travel Industry” panel. “That would hurt us badly, but it would also hurt the United States. Most importantly, it would hurt the humanity and the morals and the principles of the United States.”
Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group, a travel agency company, noted that on a trip to Mexico recently, he found Mexicans who normally take ski vacations in Aspen and Vail are going to Vancouver, Canada, instead.
The 20% tariff that Trump proposes against Mexico (which would be paid for by American consumers, not Mexico), the second largest trading partner with the US which supports 6 million US jobs, will likely be retaliated with a tariff on American goods, making them more expensive and unaffordable for Mexicans, whose economy will likely be devastated (already the currency is taking a hit), and further destabilizing the country.
Trump’s domestic and foreign policies have a singular theme: disruption and destabilization. And he doesn’t care who is killed or how many suffer. A bully takes pleasure out of terrorizing vulnerable people.
In just his first few days occupying the Oval Office, Trump has managed to overturn the goodwill, and foment anti-Americanism. A travel insurance company actually came out with an alert to travelers to be more aware. The headline: “What to Be Aware of When Traveling in the Apocalypse; APRIL Outlines Simple Precautions for Traveling in a Post-Trump World”
“It’s not our role to influence or pass judgment on the political process in America, but regardless of personal opinions on Trump’s presidency, travel counselors recall the anti-American sentiments prevalent during the George W. Bush administration. They are therefore cognizant of shifting perceptions of Americans internationally,” explained Jason Schreier, CEO of APRIL USA.
“Vacationing is a staple of American society and one of the primary ways Americans enrich themselves culturally. World events should not deter one from traveling, but vacationers need to be aware of their vulnerabilities and protect themselves accordingly.” Sad.
The value of international tourism goes beyond economic growth, jobs and tax receipts, though these are vitally important – but in essence literally brings peoples together. American travelers are unofficial ambassadors of American values and ideas, fostering good will. In the same vein, Americans who meet people face to face, where they are no longer “others” to be feared, but rather seen as human beings more similar than different. Travelers are the first line of diplomacy, the first line or promoting peace and cooperation.
President Obama understood this, which is why he encouraged young people to study, work and travel abroad and created mechanisms to help them find opportunities to do that; why he encouraged foreign students to attend our schools, to foster people-to-people exchanges, and why he eased restrictions on travel to Cuba.
Trump’s ill-conceived and executed travel & immigration ban is heinous (the chaoic, dysfunctional way it was rolled out – without even consulting his new Defense and Homeland Security Secretaries, without instruction to Customs and Border Patrol agents, making the roll out of Obamacare look like the 1969 Moon Landing), a violation of law (due process, religious freedom) and American values and morals. And though Trump justifies it as keeping Americans safe, it is not designed to do that – none of the 7 countries that are banned have ever been connected to terrorism on US soil, while the countries that have (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan) were not part of this ban. Not to mention that his wall along the Mexico border (where hysterical rightwing conspiracy theorists have said that ISIS has infiltrated) would do nothing to block the actual war-weary refugees that welcoming Canada has taken in.
Trump excuses his callous and grotesque policy as “extr-e-e-e-me vetting.” But these refugees already go through batteries of screening – at least 18 federal agencies – in an intensive process that takes years. And through all of this, Trump has not actually said what he would add to the process to make it more secure. The fact is, none of the refugees that have come through the process set out by the Obama Administration have had anything to do with terrorism in the US. What is happening in Europe, with the flood of hundreds of thousands of refugees that flowed through the continent, has nothing to do with what is happening in the US.
Trump’s America First foreign policies (trade, climate action, weakening NATO for example) are intended to isolate the United States, to put up our own Iron Curtain, our own Bamboo Curtain so that an autocrat can keep its people in darkness, ignorance, fear and insecurity and therefore malleable and controllable, which is what dictators and autocrats like Vladimir Putin of Russia, Kim Jong-un of North Korea, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, and the Iranian Ayotollahs.
“President Trump’s travel ban on Iranians is a gift to the Islamic republic and its hard-line rulers,” writes Hadi Ghaemi, founder and executive director of the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in the Washington Post. “It will not deter terrorism on U.S. soil. Not a single terrorist involved in the 9/11 attacks or other fatal terrorist attacks in the United States since then has been of Iranian origin. Instead, Trump’s policy is a collective punishment of a diverse and changing nationality, and will ironically serve the purposes of Iran’s hard-line rulers.”
As for terror, let’s compare the number of Americans killed on American soil as overt acts of radical jihadist terrorism (as opposed to domestic terrorism, such as anti-abortion, anti-Muslims) including the Boston Marathon, San Bernadino and Orlando: there have been 15 deaths since 9/11, compared to 445,000 killed by gun violence on US soil. Toddlers are more lethal than terrorists, killing one person a week.
As for the number of foreign infiltrators, immigrants or refugees who participated in terror attacks in the US? The Washington Post reporting on a study by nonpartisan think tank New America Foundation, of 400 individuals charged with or credibly involved in jihad-inspired activity in the U.S. since 9/11 2001, 197 were U.S.-born citizens, 82 were naturalized citizens, and 44 were permanent residents; just 11 were on a non-immigrant visa, 8 were illegal immigrants, and 12 had refugee status.
Indeed, the United Arab Emirates, Bahamas, France, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Germany are among the countries that issued travel advisories against travel to the US over concerns about epidemic gun violence, mass shootings, police violence, as well as anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT attitudes and the Zika virus.
Tina Müller, 54, of Berlin, was quoted in USA Today (“Overseas Travel Warnings about USA Mount”) saying she had no plans to visit the US anytime soon, “They need to get rid of their guns. It would solve a lot of their problems. We have racism and prejudice in Europe, but we don’t have mass shootings and violence on that level.”
Yet Trump bases an unconstitutional ban on refugees, immigrants, green card and visa holders on a slogan of “protecting the safety of Americans”. But if he cared that much for Americans’ health, welfare, national security and safety, he would be signing executive orders for sensible gun restrictions starting with “No Fly, No Buy,” and smart-guns, instead of proposing a “Guns Everywhere” policy; he would be expanding the public option instead of repealing the Affordable Care Act to save tens of thousands of premature, needless death and suffering, and spending money to create vaccines against Zika and Ebola; and he would be expanding trade instead of putting up barriers and launching trade wars, to uplift people around the world from deprivation and poverty rather than exacerbating destabilizing income inequality.
Trump has demonstrated that he intends to rule as he campaigned, by stoking fear and terror and insecurity. That may well serve another goal: keeping Americans insulated from the world so they are kept in darkness and ignorance and malleable to his policies.
That is not a recipe to “Make America Great Again,” nor keeping Americans safe. That is a recipe for widening violence and terror as well as economic insecurity. There will be a domino effect, through the global economy, just as the US mortgage crisis triggered a global meltdown, starting with retaliatory policies such as trade tariffs and travel bans.
The anti-globalism, anti-trade isolationism implicit in Trump’s populism is quite frightening. The undermining of global institutions which effectively prevented World War III – the United Nations, European Union, NATO, even the international cooperation in outer space – edges us closer to the existential apocalypse given the technological capacity in the control of a single person.
I am so sick of Donald Trump and his sleezy band of “surrogates” attacking the Clinton Foundation as if it were run in the same way and for the same purpose as the corrupt and self-serving Trump Foundation, rather than being the catalyst for sustainable development that has meaningfully lifted millions out of poverty, provided life-saving medications and vaccines, expanded health care and educational opportunities, fostered the cultural changes to lift up women and girls and reduce gender violence and inequality. And that’s just for starters.
At an emotional Closing Plenary Session of the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative – the annual meeting that brings together philanthropists, corporations, government leaders and non-governmental organizations to partner together on sustainable projects that actually help solve the intractable problems of the world, from poverty to gender inequality to conflict resolution -, President Clinton delivered a personal reflection on what the last 15 years of the Clinton Foundation have meant to him and discussed how CGI helped redefine philanthropy.
“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said.
During the three days of the gathering, CGI “members” (who are obligated to make and implement commitments) discussed and announced 96 new Commitments to Action to continue driving progress on pressing global issues, including preventing the spread of Zika, addressing the refugee crisis in Syria, reducing violence against women in the developing world, peacebuilding in post-conflict areas, and strengthening business supply chains so that companies can do well by doing good.
What started with 600 commitments in 100 countries in CGI’s first two years has since grown to more than 3,600 commitments spanning more than 180 countries, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people. The impact of CGI will continue through the work of CGI members who are implementing their Commitments to Action. When fully funded and implemented, commitments announced by CGI members over the past 11 years will ensure that:
More than 52 million childrenhave access to a better education.
More than 33 million peoplehave increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
More than 13 million girls and womenhave been supported through empowerment initiatives.
More than $1.6 billionhas been invested or loaned to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Nearly 35 million peoplehave access to information technologies.
More than 50 million farmers or small-scale producers have gained access toinputs, supports, and markets
More than 8 million people have gained skills to cope with the risks of environmental stress and natural disasters.
More than 401 million acres of foresthave been protected or restored.
Nearly 4 million clean jobs have been created.
More than 114 million peoplehave increased access to maternal and child health and survival programs.
More than $318 million in research and development funds has been spent on new vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics.
“I started CGI in 2005 because I believed people wanted to come together and work together to solve big problems and seize key opportunities.,” said President Clinton. “It has changed the landscape of modern philanthropy. Putting ideas into action is no longer the exception but the rule. I look forward to seeing new Commitments to Action announced which will continue to improve lives long into the future.”
“Every year, CGI’s Annual Meeting has been a place where we see unlikely partnerships form – in the hallways, at a discussion table, or right on stage,” said Chelsea Clinton. “I’m excited to see what partnerships emerge this year to tackle challenges in education, global health and development broadly – and to look back and continue to learn from the impact of CGI partnerships through the years on pivotal issues like Ebola relief, disaster response, increased opportunities for girls and women, climate change, and sustainable economic development.”
CGI built a forum for government, business, and civil society to come together and turn ideas into action through the Commitment to Action model — the defining feature of CGI. Since the first Annual Meeting in 2005, CGI has brought together nearly 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of business, philanthropic, non-profit leaders, and influential civic voices. Timed to continue the dialogue on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the CGI Annual Meeting has guided members to expand and replicate proven solutions to pressing challenges.
At the meeting, several CGI members expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the work of CGI within their remarks, including:
Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International, said, “I have been a proud member of CGI since 2005. I have witnessed its unique, practical, and measurable contributions in the world, the opportunities it created for marginalized voices to be heard, and how it helped push social issues otherwise ignored to the limelight. This may be the last Annual Meeting, but the work and the spirit of President Clinton’s mission and the CGI committed community will live on forever.”
The theme of CGI is “Turning Ideas Into Action,” and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever noted, “the Clinton Global Initiative has done much more than that. It has been an enormous convening power to bring people together who otherwise would not have come together.”
“The question you need to ask them is it’s not just about how to innovate, but how to innovate and develop a business model which produces global access to that idea. Because innovation that nobody gets access to is not innovation,” said Andrew Witty, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
“The truth is you cannot find a more dedicated group of problem solvers, visionaries and altruists anywhere in the world than at CGI,” Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group, said. “The Clinton Foundation had done more to help alleviate poverty and disease, and further global development than any platform I know.”
The final CGI was a kind of valedictory, reflecting back on what has been achieved, and in some ways, ending up the way it started, with a strong focus on Women and Girls (because when women succeed, society succeeds), and conflict resolution, with extremely stirring presentations that featured Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister, Serbia, together with Camil Durakovic, Mayor, Municipality of Srebrenica who have managed to come together 21 years after the massacre at Srebrenica, and Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President, Colombia, honored as with a Global Citizen Award for
making peace after 50 years of civil war; Advija Ibrahimovic a survivor of Srebrenica, who presented a Global Citizen Award to Nadia Mura for the courage to tell her story of being kidnapped and exploited by ISIS who after her escape has become a voice for the thousands of women and children who have been trafficked in situations of conflict.
What can the Trump Foundation show? It does not have a legal certificate to solicit the millions of dollars, does not spend Donald’s own money but takes credit for others’ contributions, uses contributions to bolster his business and his personal reputation. He went on TV to solicit funds for veterans groups (as an excuse to not show up at a Republican debate) but only actually gave up the money after being exposed by the press (illegal to do that). He used his contribution to sway the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi from investigating the Trump University fraud. Donald Trump has launched a new personal attack saying “follow the money”. Well here it is:
Among the new commitment announcements from the 12th and final Annual Meeting were those addressing critical issues such as the refugee crisis and the containment of infectious diseases like Zika, and a score of commitments aimed at addressing violence against women and gender inequality.
Here are details of just some of the commitments, in the hopes they will provide models for others to follow after there is no more Clinton Global Initiative to catalyze such partnerships, to inspire and to monitor and bring them to fruition:
U.ME.WE Campaign Commitment by: Ubuntu Education Fund Partner(s): Colin Cowie Events; De Agostini SpA; Eastern Cape Province Department of Health; Knowledge is Power Program; McKinsey & Company
PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Ubuntu Education Fund committed to launch the U.ME.WE. Campaign, a three year, $25 million initiative to provide long-term financial stability and develop the Ubuntu Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa into a world class health and education campus, transforming the lives of 2,000 children and their families from cradle to career. Led by an experienced and dedicated medical team, the organization’s health program offered comprehensive HIV/TB services from testing to adherence support, sexual and reproductive health interventions, primary care, and nutritional support. Ubuntu has provided well over 24,200 medical services to 2,000 of Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s most vulnerable children, as well as piloted an early childhood development program that has grown from 38 to 148 children, created a university preparation program for Grade 12 scholars, and enhanced household security through Ubuntu’s Family Support Specialists. Through this Clinton Global Initiative commitment, the organization has ensured that the birthplaces of 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children living in Port Elizabeth’s townships do not have to determine their futures.
Amplifying the Voices of Poor Women to Create Inclusive Cities Commitment by: Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) Partner(s): Arghyam; Cities Alliance; Shack/Slum Dwellers International; Tata Trusts; United Cities and Local Governments Africa
NEW: In 2016, the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) and their partners committed to amplify the voices of slum dwellers in Odisha and Maharashtra, India. Over the next three years, SPARC, in collaboration with partners and local governments, will train local informal residents and collect previously absent and unattainable citywide slum data, while developing projects to address the priority issue areas articulated by residents in seven towns with the greatest demonstrated WASH and vulnerable housing needs in India. The participation and leadership of slum dwellers is key to demonstrating inclusive and equitable city development planning, which should incorporate the participation of and reflect the needs of resident slum dwellers, from start to finish. Ultimately, this Commitment to Action will impact more than 1,300,000 slum dwellers in more than 1,000 slum communities throughout India.
Increasing Adoption of Clean Energy Technology in Mozambique Commitment by: Edp – Energias De Portugal, S.A. Partner(s): OIKOS – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento; Leigos para o Desenvolvimento; SAN-JFS
NEW: In 2016, EDP – Energias de Portugal, S.A. committed to launch a program that will promote community adoption and integration of electricity in the village of Titimane in Mozambique. Titimane will gain access to electricity for the first time through the development of a renewable-energy powered mini-grid. While this new access to clean energy will promote sustainable economic development, EDP is well aware of the challenges off-grid villages face in transitioning away from previous energy sources and adopting new clean energy technologies. Working with two local NGO implementation partners, EDP will develop an integrated behavior-based economic development approach that will enable all 4,000 members of the community to leverage this new access to electricity by providing comprehensive outreach, training and community programming over 2.5 years in four focus areas: entrepreneurship, education, health, and community empowerment.
Haiti Commitment Cluster
PROGRESS REPORT: Approximately 30 organizations who have made commitments through the Haiti Action Network will announce progress and celebrate the over 100 commitments that have been made to benefit Haiti, including commitments made by Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project International, Heineken, Marriot International, Inc., The Timberland Company, and West Elm. New commitments will also be announced to improve Haiti’s education, expand economic opportunity, and increase sustainability.
Tackling Childcare: Good for Business and Development Commitment by: IFC Partner(s): Aeromexico; Afrifresh; Axiata Group; Bauducco; Care.com, Inc.; Danone; Dialog Axiata Plc; EY; Grupo M; HBL Bank; HCL Technologies Limited; Institute for Women’s Policy Research; International Labour Organization; Kidogo; MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.; Pepsico; Safaricom Limited; Sumimoto Chemical
NEW: In 2016, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), brought together a group of private sector companies operating in a variety of different business sectors in emerging as well as developed markets to identify and implement childcare solutions that are good for business, employees, and communities. Private sector partners commit to at least three gender smart measures from a menu of options that focus on substantiating the business case for employer-supported childcare and putting this business case into practice. Strategic partners will provide knowledge, best practices, lessons learned, and data to help the private sector commitment members realize their commitments. The Tackling Childcare Secretariat housed in IFC will provide technical expertise, host learning events, provide communications opportunities, and compile the group’s learning on how employer-supported childcare can work in different regions, industries, and business environments in a global best practice “Tackling Childcare” report on employer-supported childcare. Ultimately, the commitment aims to directly impact the lives of working parents in participating organization, improve learning and awareness about the business case and best practices for employer-supported childcare, and encourage others to start or scale up their own employer-supported childcare efforts.
The New Luxury: Catalyzing Influencers to Curb Global Ivory Commitment by: Save the Elephants Partner(s): Tiffany & Co.; Marc Jacobs International; DNA Model Management; Edelman; Doutzen Kroes
NEW: In 2016, Save the Elephants, in partnership with Elephants Action Network Members, the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, and leading industry influencers including Tiffany & Co., Marc Jacobs International, DNA Model Management, Edelman, and Doutzen Kroes committed to the creation of a multi-stakeholder campaign leveraging their global taste-making status to curb the demand for elephant ivory in key buying markets. Fashion influencers, those brands and individuals who create and steward the goods and preferences that are so central to consumers’ identities, will communicate out their commitments to ivory-free products and lifestyles via a range of media platforms. Influencers will simultaneously drive $1 million in donations to the Elephant Crisis Fund, which supports anti-poaching efforts facing immediate need, via the unified #knotonmyplanet campaign. This messaging overtly links the consumption of ivory with the killing of elephants, and along with tailored influencer-created assets, will target populations in the United States and high-ivory demand East Asian countries at strategic intervals.
Igniting Ideas for Greece’s Future: The Angelopoulos 100 (CGI Annual Meeting 2016) Commitment by: Gianna Angelopoulos
NEW: In 2016, Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos committed to scaling up her efforts to develop young Greek social entrepreneurs by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting 100 Angelopoulos Fellows in implementing and sustaining projects that address Greece’s major challenges. Due to the financial crisis that has plagued Greece for almost a decade, career opportunities are limited and well educated young Greeks are quickly leaving the country. This commitment will connect young Greeks with relevant experts, mentorship opportunities, access to capital, and connections to international contacts and conferences to support them in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Creating an extensive, ongoing community network for the 100 Fellows will assist them in developing successful social enterprises that will positively impact communities across Greece.
Disabilities: Social & Financial Inclusion for Women & Girls Commitment by: Keystone Human Services Partner(s): Czech Development Agency; East European Foundation; Moldova, Republic of; National Agency for Employment; Soros Foundation; Step by Step Management, Inc.; Swedish Organization for Individual Relief; United States Agency for International Development; Winrock International
PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, Keystone Human Services committed to improve social and financial inclusion for women and girls with disabilities in the United States and Eastern Europe, specifically in Pennsylvania, Moldova, and Russia. Through this commitment, Keystone aims to deinstitutionalize young women with disabilities, moving them from state institutions to community homes, and provide them with the necessary, community-based support structures. A complementary program aims to establish an inclusive, family-oriented, workforce model that effectively reduces obstacles to employment for women with disabilities and women caregivers of children with disabilities. Initially, Keystone intended to impact that lives of 60 women and girls, but the program has seen incredible successful and far exceed expectations. In Moldova, The Equal Access to Education program, an inclusive education project, has been piloted in 22 schools, and is being promoted and replicated at the national level. This has benefited many girls who now have access to education, health services, orthopedic and optical items, rehabilitation centers, physical therapy, counseling, and psychological support.
Life Saving Healthcare for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Commitment by: Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA Partner(s): United Nations Refugee Agency
NEW: In 2016, Unipol committed to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 300 refugees over two years in Lebanon, which is host to the highest number of Syrian refugees in proportion to its population size. Unipol will contribute a cash donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which will provide treatment for emergency and lifesaving secondary and tertiary healthcare, such as normal and caesarian deliveries, as well as hospitalization costs and surgeries for emergency care. Rather than establishing new services, UNHCR will offset costs to ensure that Syrian refugees can access quality public healthcare. Complementing this donation, Unipol will raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees in host countries by implementing a communication campaign in Italy. With approximately 15,000 employees and over 16 million customers, Unipol will give UNHCR the possibility to reach a widespread audience. In addition, clients subscribing to Unipol life insurances will be given the option to indicate UNHCR among their beneficiaries, providing a key fundraising opportunity for UNHCR.
Building Peace: Higher Education for Syrian Youth Commitment by: Syria Relief and Development Partner(s): University of Idlib
NEW: In 2016, Syria Relief and Development (SRD) committed to supporting the University of Idlib in northwestern Syria over a period of two years to ensure continued access to higher education and prevent brain drain as a significant percentage of the population flees the country due to the ongoing civil war. Recognizing the vital – yet underfunded – role of tertiary education during times of crisis, SRD will provide free tuition to over 1,300 enrolled students (focusing on at-risk populations) and provide the departments of pharmacy, mechanical engineering, education, and agriculture with financial support, consulting services, educational technology, and assistance with curriculum development. Additionally, SRD will introduce a job training and internship program for more than 300 students, as well as reproductive health, family planning, and skills building courses for 500 women. As a result, SRD will ensure that the education of the next generation of Syrian doctors, civil engineers, and teachers will not be placed on hold.
Business and Employability Skills in Jordan Commitment by: City & Guilds Group; Near East Foundation
NEW: In 2016, Near East Foundation (NEF) and Building Markets committed to providing business development and employability skills training to over 6,000 refugees and Jordanians over two years, addressing the economic vulnerabilities that refugees and Jordanians alike face. NEF and Building Markets will focus on women and youth, thus contributing to their financial self-reliance, and will prioritize areas in Jordan with a high number of refugees and concentrated poverty. NEF will deliver training in livelihood support hubs, or “Siraj Centers”, where local Master Trainers will help women and youth refugees to build skills to either find employment or to start their own micro-enterprises and generate stable income. In addition, Building Markets and NEF will provide advanced support to at least 300 participants who demonstrate high business growth potential to scale their ventures, increasing income and creating job opportunities for Jordanians and refugees.
FARMS: Bridging the Humanitarian-Development Commitment by: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Partner(s): Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation; Jordan River Foundation; Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan
NEW: In 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) committed to establish the Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement, and Rural Stability (FARMS) to raise $100 million in new funds for agricultural development targeted towards rural communities, refugees, and displaced individuals. FARMS will support agriculture-related training, financial access and adaptation technologies to increase the self-reliance of refugees and strengthen the resilience of host communities. The commitment will focus on countries with large proportions of refugee and displaced communities and the initial focus will include Jordan, Iraq, and Sudan, with planned expansion to the broader Middle East and North Africa region. In the long term, FARMS will support projects that focus on restoring agricultural productivity in origin areas from where refugees have fled so that people who have left are motivated to return to their native countries, and those who remain have a chance to rebuild their lives.
Transitioning Girls & Women from Cash to the Workforce Commitment by: Women’s Refugee Commission Partner(s): Danish Refugee Council; Mercy Corps; Norwegian Refugee Council
NEW: In 2016, Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) committed to safely transition refugee women and girls in Jordan and Turkey from cash assistance to the workforce in order to provide economic self-reliance and support women and girls as they re-connect or enter into the formal workforce for the first time. This will help to address a common sentiment among refugee women of powerlessness, hopelessness, high stress, and various protection risks, all of which are tied to a lack of financial resources. Over the course of two years, WRC will conduct research that builds on its current studies that demonstrate how cash-based initiatives can prevent gender based violence, and will build the capacity of partners in the private sector and non-governmental organization service providers to prepare displaced women and girls of working age to safely obtain formal employment. WRC will also build global awareness on issues such as the right to work and decent work legislation for refugee women and girls.
Reinventing Refugee Employment and Integration in Italy Commitment by: Kairos Rainbow Srl Partner(s): Centro Astalli; Istituto Massimiliano Massimo; Italian Institute for Asia and the Mediterranean (ISIAMED); Jesuit Foundation for Education; Ristrutturazioni Italiana Srl; SCM Srl; Tras. Co. Italia
NEW: In 2016, Kairos Rainbow committed to address the gap that exists in Italy between skilled refugees and a lack of job opportunities by providing 180 refugees, including from Somalia, Pakistan, and Syria, with language courses, legal counseling, and job placements to facilitate their social and economic integration in the country. To do so, over a period of two years, Kairos will partner with Italian companies who will create tailored training programs and offer internships which will ultimately make it easier for refugees to obtain full time employment, as well as partner with local organizations that will provide social services, such as assistance to renew residency and work permits. Through this commitment, Kairos aims to change the perception of refugees in Italy from scapegoats to integrated and empowered participants in the country’s economy and society. The commitment will pilot in Rome and, based on its success, will expand to other cities in Italy.
Turning Waste into Energy at Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan Commitment by: Solar CITIES Partner(s): Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Blueprint for Survival, Tamera ecoVillage; Foam Tech Insulation Services; HomeBiogas Israel; Schools for Sustainability; Solar CITIES – Palestine/Jordan Chapter; UNICEF
NEW: In 2016, Solar CITIES committed to installing two biogas hubs and educating 50 new biogas technicians and closed-loop farmers in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp over the next three years. The biogas hubs will turn food and animal wastes into clean and safe fuel and fertilizer, while eliminating pathogens that cause illness and attract disease-carrying animals. The hubs will provide access to energy and opportunities for residents to learn, share and implement clean and renewable energy solutions within Zaatari, with future plans to expand to Greece, Lebanon and Turkey. The biogas technicians will become micro-waste management experts and closed-loop farmers will gain income by building farm- and community-scale biodigesters, selling the fertilizer and biogas, and working with Solar CITIES to schedule a series of workshops with local community members to scale biodigester construction. Increased access to renewable energy will reduce fossil fuel usage and indoor air pollution while controlling rodent and insect populations by better managing food waste at its source, ultimately impacting more than 11,000 residents and saving more than 100,000 KwH of energy.
SOS: Focus on Syrian Medical Students & Doctors Commitment by: Global Platform for Syrian Students Partner(s): American University of Beirut; University Dohok, Iraq; University Nova, Lisbon; The Hashemite University, Jordan; World Health Organization
NEW: In 2016, The Global Platform for Syrian Students, established by former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio, committed to providing scholarships to 200 medical students who are displaced by the Syrian Civil War and to support specialist training programs for 200 Syrian doctors still working within the country in order to allow Syrians to continue their medical residency or post-graduate specialist training. This approach will help to address the challenges that Syrian medical students face both within and outside of the country, whose education and training have been interrupted by the conflict, and will invest in critical capacity building for the Syrian medical profession. The commitment will take place over three academic years and will begin with a pilot in 2016 with scholarships for 75 Syrian students in partner universities in Portugal, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, which will be scaled to additional students over the next three years. The specialist training in Syria will commence in early 2017, and the goal is that at least 30% of the students and doctors will be women.
Zika Prevention & Care Commitment by: Direct Relief International Partner(s): 3M Foundation; Ansell Limited; Asociacoin de Salud Primeria de Puerto Rico (ASPPR); Batey Relief Alliance; Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC); Fundacion Ruth Paz; FUSAL; Greenlid Envirosciences; Hopital Albert Schweitzer; International Planned Parenthood Federation; Jamaica; Medtronic, Inc.; Ministerio de la Primera Infancia, Argentina; Ministry of Health of Jamaica; National Association of Community Health Centers; Proyecto Aldea Global; Texas Association of Community Health Centers
NEW: In 2016, Direct Relief, in partnership with International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), Batey Relief Alliance, and others, committed to launch a multi-national response to the current Zika outbreak across Latin America, the United States, and the Caribbean. The multi-faceted response will focus on reproductive health and family planning, prenatal care, and the prevention of transmission through the distribution of essential commodities empowering communities to take preventative actions and make informed decisions about their health. This response will take the form of Zika Modules designed to protect against the transmission and the potentially devastating consequences of the virus. Direct Relief will distribute up to Zika Modules to partners involved in comprehensive, community-based Zika response efforts in Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, the United States (specifically Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas), and Venezuela. Modules will include: insect repellent, biodegradable mosquito traps, digital thermometers, ultrasounds, fetal dopplers, and contraceptives.
Women Deliver Young Leaders Initiative
Commitment by: Women Deliver
Partner(s): European Parliamentary Forum; Global Fund for Women; Johnson & Johnson
PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Women Deliver committed to expand the youth component of its programming by scaling up its engagement with a diverse cohort of young people early in their careers. As a result of this commitment, young leaders will receive the following skills: basic and intermediate advocacy skills; information and communications technology skills; technical skills related to maternal health and sexual and reproductive health and rights; and networking and social media skills. In addition to a first round of e-learning opportunities offered in 2012, Young Leaders participated in a second e-course focused on deepening their ability to design and implement projects in their communities. The Young Leaders who successfully completed the e-course were eligible to submit a grant proposal to receive seed funding to implement a project in their community. Ten grants were awarded to Young Leaders in Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Sixteen Young Leaders, including all 10 seed grantees, attended The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa as speakers, participants, facilitators, and bloggers, where they were able to share best practices, key learnings, and outcomes from their projects. The work of the Young Leaders continues to receive media attention, particularly at the national level. All of this has led to the creation of the Young Leaders Program, which, apart from increasing the number of Young Leaders to 200, includes a robust recruitment process, advocacy training and opportunities, a Speakers’ Bureau, alumni network, mentorship network, and more.
Partner(s): AMIDEAST; AOL Charitable Foundation; ARM Holdings; British Council; Million Women Mentors; Motorola Solutions Foundation; Municipality of Barcelona; U.S. – Mexico Foundation; World Learning
PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, the New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy) committed to launch a three-year, $2 million mentorship program to increase girls and women’s participation in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). The Academy developed a mentorship program that paired 1,000 high-school aged girls with mentors who study or work in STEM fields. The girls received year-long one-on-one mentor support, online training in foundational skills development, and the opportunity to attend an annual Program Summit. All items in the Action Plan to date for the 2015 cohort were accomplished. More than 300 girls from 12 countries were nominated for the program’s first cohort, and in an overwhelming show of support, more than 500 applications were received from professional women seeking to be mentors. As this first cohort of young women are now completing the online curriculum, Academy staff are actively preparing for the first Summit, scheduled to take place July 26-28, 2016, in New York City. Planning is also underway to offer the program to the second cohort of young women beginning in September 2016.
Addressing Harmful Practices: FGC and Child Marriage
Commitment by: United Postcode Lotteries
Partner(s): Amref Health Africa; Girls Not Brides; Tostan
PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, The United Postcode Lotteries (UPL) committed, together with its partners AMREF, Tostan and Girls Not Brides, to work towards bringing an end to harmful practices affecting girls and young women, specifically child marriage and female genital cutting (FGC), with a specific focus on East and West Africa. This commitment brings together a donor focused on girls’ and women’s rights, a global partnership of almost 300 organizations based in 50 countries focused on child marriage, and two NGOs with a deep and proven commitment to working directly with communities in Africa to address these practices. A summary of key results so far (status bi-annual report year 3 implementation) include: 7,755 girls from Samburu, Magadi, Loitoktok, and Kilindi participated in one of the Alternative Rites of Passage; more than 100,000 girls, parents, and cultural elders were educated about the effects of FGC; 354 peer educators from the communities were trained in sexual and reproductive health, sexual and gender based violence, human rights, effects of FGC, Alternative Rites of Passage, and mobilization approaches; 850 Traditional Birth Attendants, who are often also circumcisers, were trained on the possible health effects of FGC. Many of them are now ARP ambassadors. The Alternative Rites of Passage is very mediagenic, especially in Kenya, USA, Canada, and the Netherlands, the project received attention in newspapers, magazines, online, television, and radio. Some of the projects key champion community leaders have been featured on national television. Nice Leng’ete, a campaigner/project officer, received international recognition from DFID as one of the most influential young campaigner, and Kenya’s first lady Margaret Kenyatta attended one of the Alternative Rites of Passage and has become a great supporter of Amref’s approach to tackle FGC.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women Through Travel
Commitment by: Airbnb, Inc.
Partner(s): Global Fund for Women; Vital Voices Global Partnership
NEW: In 2016, Airbnb committed to accommodate the travel needs of Global Fund for Women and Vital Voices for convenings. The travel credits will be disseminated to more than 100 female entrepreneurs, small business owners, and human rights activists. Upon completion of the reports, Airbnb will explore a second phase of partnership with Vital Voices and Global Fund for Women. Airbnb will also focus on the economic impact of home sharing on female hosts and contribute to their broader strategy of economic empowerment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Confronting
Commitment by: American Jewish World Service
Partner(s): The Kendeda Fund
NEW: In 2016, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) committed to support 50 grassroots, capacity-building and research organizations to address child, early and forced marriage in India. Through strategic grant making and organizational meetings, AJWS will work on the local and national level in India and social movements to enable girls to have access to services in their communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Justice Institute on GBV
Commitment by: Avon Products, Inc.
Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership
NEW: In 2016, Avon committed to support the creation of 10 new Justice Institutes in 2017 and 2018 in countries that represent top global markets, as well as in countries where previous Institutes are ready to expand. With a commitment of $1 million, Avon will support the training of 500 women throughout the expansion of 10 country Institutes over the course of two years from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Banking the Unbanked
Commitment by: CARE
NEW: In 2016, CARE committed to providing 500,000 women access to formal financial services in Africa and Asia by 2020. Presently, 1.1 billion women lack access to financial services, while many have access only to the informal financial sector. Given this deficit, CARE will widen women’s access to formal financial services through strengthening its Village Savings Loan Association network, identifying mature VSLA communities, leveraging its relationships with banks and mobile network operators, and developing culturally responsive digital products, where possible. Commencing in East Africa—where CARE has a large existing network—the commitment will expand to Western and Southern Africa and Asia from 2016 – 2020. Looking ahead, this commitment will contribute to CARE’s broader global strategy to provide 30 million women access to formal financial services by 2020.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Entrepreneurs & Tech
Commitment by: Cherie Blair Foundation For Women
NEW: In 2016, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women committed to giving 10,000 women entrepreneurs access to digital channels, mentoring, and the valuable information they need to grow their businesses. The Foundation has committed to developing an application through its Technology Program that will deliver information via SMS to women entrepreneurs that will have a networking component. The commitment will identify one country to implement the project and will work with local partners, including a local NGO as well as a mobile network operator to deliver this commitment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator
Commitment by: Dermalogica
Partner(s): City & Guilds Group; Operation Hope, Inc.; U.S. Small Business Administration
NEW: In 2016, Dermalogica committed to a two phase program to provide vocational training to women. Dermalogica has committed to creating industry specific business skills by building off of their FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator Program with free online classes to support vocational training education. The first phase will be the development of the online platform, which will then phase into marketing and distribution, as well as new courses added in 2017-2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Mining Communities
Commitment by: Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
Partner(s): Don Bosco Institute; Thunderbird School Of Global Management; WEConnect International
NEW: In 2016, Freeport-McMoRan committed to invest $5 million to promote women’s economic empowerment and address violence against women in four countries by 2021. Starting in 2017, Freeport-McMoRan will scale up its online platform DreamBuilder entrepreneurship training program for women to develop skills to strengthen their businesses. Broadly, Freeport-McMoRan will work to develop programs that will support women through resources, training, consulting services and mentoring. They will also offer at least $1 million in new capital to facilitate the growth of at least 60 women-owned businesses. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: A Multi-Sector Approach
Commitment by: Global Fund for Women
Partner(s): Clinton Foundation; Vital Voices Global Partnership; WEConnect International
NEW: In 2016, Global Fund for Women committed to investing $3 million over a two year period in partnerships that will raise the visibility of women-led organizations removing barriers to gender equality globally. Global Fund for Women will make grants averaging $40,000 to grantee partners through their annual open call for proposals. This commitment will further contribute to the mission of Global Fund for Women to change the systems in which women and girls live and work; and build movements that catalyze transformation for individuals and societies. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Buying from Women
NEW: In 2016, WEConnect International committed to expanding upon a previous CGI commitment to track and measure global contract opportunities for women owned business based outside of the U.S. WEConnect will focus on making it easier for corporations to find and do business with more women as suppliers and to measure their progress from 2016 to 2021. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: McLarty Global Fellowship
Commitment by: McLarty Associates
Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership
NEW: In 2016, The McLarty Global Fellowship committed to working with Vital Voices to contribute research to advance the research and advocacy for women and girls conducted by Vital Voices. The McLarty Global Fellowship will support two graduate students from the Clinton School at the University of Arkansas to spend a semester in Washington, DC advancing the work of Vital Voices. One Fellow will be assigned to the economic empowerment team at Vital Voices and the second Fellow will work directly with the Human Rights team. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Skills Training for Women
Commitment by: Nest
Partner(s): If Hummingbird Foundation Inc.; West Elm
NEW: In 2016, Nest committed to reaching 100,000 artisans by expanding its Nest Professional Program by growing brand partnerships over the next three years. Craft production enables women to work while caring for dependents and provides employment where gender discrimination is prevalent. Nest’s commitment will match artisan producers with high caliber industry experts by leveraging brand partnership to ensure the work is not only efficient and effective, but also sustainable. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Business Development
Commitment by: Procter & Gamble
Partner(s): WEConnect International
NEW: In 2016, Proctor and Gamble committed to implementing Women’s Business Development Programs in order to train 100 women business owners by 2017. P&G will initially target the following countries: China, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, and the United States. Ultimately, this commitment will contribute to P&G’s goal of enabling women business owners to build their business and have a greater economic impact in the communities in which they operate. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: End Workplace Violence
Commitment by: Sodexo Group
NEW: In 2016, Sodexo committed to improve the quality of life of women in the communities it serves by focusing on gender equality and empowerment through operations in Latin America and India. By August 2019, Sodexo will: 1) Promote awareness of gender-based violence; 2) Provide in-depth training about gender-based violence prevention; 3) Provide economic opportunity for survivors of violence; and 4) Lead collaboration in the countries where they work to make a larger impact in the community. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Every Hour Matters Campaign
Commitment by: Together For Girls
Partner(s): Becton, Dickinson and Company; CARE; Child Helpline International; Cummins&Partners; Pan-American Health Organization; SafeTrek; Save the Children; United Nations Women; Women Deliver; World Health Organization
NEW: In 2016, Through its Every Hour Matters campaign, Together for Girls committed to assisting girls and women who have experienced rape or sexual assault. Sexual violence is a pervasive problem that leaves a proportion of survivors with only 72 hours to receive life-saving post exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception. Together for Girls will increase awareness of the importance of rapid access to post-rape care by increasing the public’s awareness and building partnerships with leaders to improve survivors’ access to comprehensive services. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners: Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Ending Gender-Based Violence
Commitment by: United Nations Women
NEW: In 2016, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women committed to funding $1 million in grants targeting projects and supporting civil society organizations that empower refugee women and girls in an effort to address the issue of sexual and gender based violence experienced by refugee women and girls. Prioritizing countries that have been impacted by the ongoing refugee crisis. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Changemakers with Pond’s
Commitment by: Unilever
Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership
NEW: In 2016, Unilever launched a fellowship program that will invest in 100 emerging global women leaders over the next four years through its brand Pond’s. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Dignified Jobs for India’s Poorest
Commitment by: Upaya Social Ventures
Partner(s): anant Learning and Development Pvt. Ltd; Krishi Star; Maitri; Open Road Alliance; Saahas; Tamul Plates
NEW: In 2016, Upaya committed to investing in more women led enterprises over the next three years to increase the total number of women in its portfolio by 50%. Upaya will invest in agribusiness, skill development, and labor intensive manufacturing businesses. These businesses will participate in a financial management program. Over three years, Upaya will work with 50 companies and invest in 10 of them. This new approach will allow Upaya to create new partnerships with industry experts and investors to empower women entrepreneurs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Tech for Women’s Rights
Commitment by: WAKE: Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange
NEW: In 2016, WAKE committed to investing in three to five NGOs from its Tech2Empower (T2E) initiative, a tech and communications training workshop for leaders of women’s rights organizations. WAKE’s commitment will focus on three expansions of T2E: expanding to two new regions (Central America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa); launching T2E Fellowships; and establishing Learning Hubs. In its expansion WAKE will hold T2E workshops to train NGO leaders in the two regions, which will provide a foundation for T2E Fellowships and Learning Hubs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Delivering for Good
Commitment by: Women Deliver
Partner(s): Together For Girls
NEW: In 2016, Women Deliver committed to launching a four year global campaign, Deliver for Good, which promotes investments (political, programmatic, and financial) in girls and women, specifically focusing on violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women in Conflict Areas
Commitment by: Women For Women International
Partner(s): Kingdom of the Netherlands
NEW: In 2016, Women for Women International (WfWI) commits to supporting economic empowerment activities for socially and economically marginalized women over the age of 18 who are in the greatest need, through its comprehensive women’s empowerment program. Through this program, WfWI will focus on developing a curriculum reaching 25 women that would build empowerment skills and engaging men in activities that will address issues of violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors.
Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Advancing Women in the Workforce
Commitment by: Women’s Funding Network
NEW: In 2016, Women’s Funding Network committed to build their Advancing Women in the Workforce program with up to 10 women’s foundations in the US. This one-year commitment will secure $30,000 in funding from its members to launch a women’s economic security digital storytelling platform that will drive engagement with women’s foundations and provide a valuable fundraising tool and 70,000 to work in target communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sector.
Pathway to Social Entrepreneurship for Young Leaders
Commitment by: The Resolution Project
Partner(s): African Leadership Academy; Axiom Investment Advisors; Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation; DuPont Company; Echoing Green; General Electric; Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc.; Group 113; Harvard University; Hatzimemos Libby; Jim Mannino Public Relations; National Society of High School Scholars; Semester at Sea; The Geraldine y Gabriel Sunshine Foundation; The World Model UN Conference
PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, The Resolution Project (‘Resolution’) committed to expand its Resolution Fellowship to support 400 college students from across the globe who seek to address an array of global challenges through social entrepreneurship. Resolution also launched new initiatives – the Resolution Institute, Pathway and Corporate Program Partnerships, the Fellow Resources System, and The Resolution SOLVE Summit – to provide a comprehensive ecosystem of resources for young social entrepreneurs. More than 60% of Resolution Fellows report they would have been unlikely to launch their social venture without the support of Resolution, proving that they play a catalytic role in their Fellows’ development as socially responsible leaders. Resolution Fellows report improvements in their adaptability, leadership, and organizational skills and note that Resolution has helped them respond to challenges and obstacles. Resolution Fellows have gone on to secure more than $2.5 million in additional funding through revenue, grants, awards, etc. More than 90% of Resolution Fellows report high satisfaction rates with the mentorship they receive from volunteer Guides.
From Divisive Crisis to Inclusive Cities: Catalyzing Transformative Partnerships in Greater Monrovia
Commitment by: Cities Alliance
Partner(s): Comic Relief; Habitat For Humanity International; Ministry of Internal Affairs, Department of Urban Affairs, Government of Libera; Monrovia City Corporation (MCC); Paynesville City Corporation (PCC); Shack/Slum Dwellers International; StreetNet International; UN-Habitat; United Cities and Local Governments Africa; UNOPS; Women In Informal Employment: Globalizing And Organizing; YMCA Liberia
NEW: In 2016, Cities Alliance committed to improving the lives of 400,000 slum dwellers in Greater Monrovia, Liberia by empowering local residents to create lasting change in their communities through partnership with government, the private sector and civil society. Cities Alliance, in partnership with local and national government, UCLG, UN-Habitat, UNOPS, Habitat for Humanity International, Comic Relief, YMCA, WIEGO, StreetNet International, and SDI will mobilize communities and equip them to undertake comprehensive urban development solutions, enabling basic service improvements, affordable housing schemes, enhanced small business opportunities and resilience upgrades in existing slums and poor neighborhoods, including in hazard prone coastal and wetland areas. Empowering local communities and building capacity among civic leaders via neighborhood associations, Cities Alliances wishes to bridge the existing gap between slum dwellers and both local and national levels of government, improving strategic urban planning frameworks and enhancing national enabling environments, in order to develop and bring about meaningful change in the lives of the urban poor.
MHNOW: Closing the Mental Health Treatment Gap
Commitment by: Global Development Incubator
Partner(s): Arogya World; Basic Needs; Children’s Health Fund; Clear Village; Falkora; Global Futures Group; Grand Challenges Canada; Hans Foundation; Harvard School Of Public Health; International Institute for Mental Health Leadership; International Medical Corps; Johnson & Johnson; Keystone Human Services; King’s College London; Many Minds Collaborative; Peter C. Alderman Foundation; Step Up on Second; StrongMinds, Inc.
NEW: In 2016, the Global Development Incubator, BasicNeeds, Johnson & Johnson, Grand Challenges Canada and 20 others committed to launch mhNOW (Mental Health Now), a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) to catalyze, connect, and support cities committed to driving change in the field of mental health. mhNOW’s ambition is to activate leadership and empower cities to catalyze cross-sector collective actions to close the mental health gap in 30 cities by 2030. The mhNOW MSI will mobilize and channel resources and networks to city projects through a challenge prize and through technical assistance to 1) scale local innovations; 2) mobilize youth leadership; and 3) improve the evidence base for the return on investment in mental health and establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to aggregate city and global data indicators. During its first year, partners will engage communities as various as Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Vietnam, Singapore, and the United States and in cities that span from Nairobi and Chennai to Philadelphia and Flint.
CGI members have frequently come together to find unconventional partners—across sectors—for collective impact:“A 2014 analysis of CGI commitments reveals that the most successful Commitments to Action involve partnerships. Since 2005, members of the CGI community have worked together to leverage each organization’s strengths and expertise to achieve their shared goals for social impact.”
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CGI members have advanced the approach of “doing well by doing good:” “For the past 11 years, President Clinton has been a leading advocate for engaging the private sector to create positive change. This philosophy of “doing well by doing good” has been enthusiastically embraced by CGI members from the business community, whose commitments have transcended conventional Corporate Social Responsibility and have helped push modern philanthropy forward.”
Devex provided a preview of the program and will be exploring CGI’s legacy and the role it has played in developed in its coverage throughout the event.
In a New York Times piece that discussed recent developments in the ivory trade, CGI’s three-year long campaign to save the elephant population was highlighted. Progress on this commitment will be announced in the coming days.
CGI commitment-maker Ubuntu’s Jake Lief wrote in Quartz on how leadership lessons for charities often come from stories about failure.
CGI CEO Bob Harrison discussed the 2016 CGI Annual Meeting and how CGI has changed philanthropy on Bloomberg Radio.
Last week on CNN, Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala discussed the Annual Meeting and CGI’s impact across the world.