The US Agency for International Development and Conflict: Hard Lessons from the Field
With a Keynote Address by Donald Steinberg, USAID Deputy Administrator
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in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia challenge the United States' commitment to fostering global democracy, freedom, and free markets. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) works in these and other difficult environments to facilitate a lasting transition to stability and personal freedom. How does USAID promote and support peace building abroad, especially in conflict areas? How successful are these efforts? In a bipartisan discussion, deputy administrator of USAID and former ambassador Donald Steinberg will address the challenges the United States faces in its global peace-building operations. The conversation will address the role of the private sector in postconflict settings, the importance of women in shaping enduring peace agreements, lessons learned since 9/11, the role of development in preventing conflict, and the future of assistance in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
11:45 AM

12:00 PM
Featured Speaker:

JOHN NORRIS, Center for American Progress

1:15 PM
Event Summary

WASHINGTON, MAY 17, 2011--The distinction between hard and soft power is obsolete, USAID deputy administrator Donald Steinberg said Tuesday at a joint AEI/Center for American Progress event. Steinberg argued that securing US national security and economic interests requires building strong, stable, democratic states in conflict-ridden areas, a goal that involves integrating military, diplomatic, and economic missions. A successful approach to peace building, Steinberg said, must be multifaceted and must include women in the peace-building process, foster strong democratic institutions, strengthen civil society, and provide an accountable and accessible justice system. AEI visiting scholar Mauro De Lorenzo argued that the most important intervention in postconflict situations is business reform. Economic growth is the most robust indicator that a country will not relapse into conflict, he said, and the United States must support entrepreneurship, foreign direct investment, and business-friendly legal reform. De Lorenzo hailed USAID's research on business climate reform, property rights documentation, and financial services provision and credit access to the poor. John Norris of the Center for American Progress echoed this sentiment, suggesting that the best barometer of people's faith in the peace-building process is their investment in the local economy and personal property. US national security is no longer the job of the military alone, the panel concluded. Investments in business reform, equal gender representation in the peace-building process, and institutions that protect the rights of citizens in postconflict settings are vital to US interests both now and in the future.


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