Sunday, May 9, 2010

American Aid Abroad: Where Does It Go?

Have you ever wanted to know more about how American foreign aid is distributed around the world? Have you ever wanted to hear a summary of what the American military is doing around the world? Not sure what the conflict in Darfur is all about? All these important questions and more were answered clearly in a fascinating conversation held at the Washington National Cathedral now online, linked here

Andrew Natsios

The Very Reverend Samuel T. Lloyd III spoke today to the  former head of  the US AID office, Andrew Natsios, now professor at Georgetown University, about the American aid effort  around the world. The focus was on "Prospects for Peace in Darfur". The almost hour long discussion ranged  from American humanitarian efforts all over the world to controversial actions made by the American military.

Andrew Natsios has a history in Massachusetts politics, public utilities, infrastructure and the military and was vice president of World Vision from 1993-8. He was head of US AID, the Agency for International Development, the federal agency mostly responsible for administering civilian foreign aid from 2001-5 and American Envoy and Aid Coordinator in Sudan 2005-7.

Mr Natsios generously outlines  at length issues associated with the giving of aid, especially by the military. Mr. Natsios has a strong grasp of the challenges of the third world from which to share in this DVD. He understands the composition of African countries and  describes how they are governed. He claims Darfur, where civil unrest could lead to destruction, is a country the size of the East Coast where future oil reserves will be found.

Many countries need food, medical and diplomatic aid. A secret to many, some countries' militias have a history of redirecting and abusing American food aid for their own purposes. Haiti has received much food and medical aid. The royal families of Jordan and Morocco are savvy of American programs in place to help their people. It's a fascinating conversation well worth watching.

The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III

The Very Reverend Samuel T. Lloyd III has made a positive outreach effort the last few years hosting a series of Sunday Forums. Each Sunday, co-hosted with Deryl Davis, he interviews luminaries with widely divergent interests who describe their work, explain what we can all do to help, and take questions from the audience. A great way to learn about issues at the intersection of faith and public life, it's been fascinating to hear personalities discuss current issues. Judy Woodruff, the long time television anchor, for example, discusses how she got into the reporting business, which I would recommend  especially to young reporters. This and many any other Forum discussions are now available at the National Cathedral website. Please give generously to Washington's National Cathedral. The Cathedral provides the rare opportunity and capability to conveniently view Sunday services online live or on video webcasts.

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