Innovating U.S. Aid: Helping Countries Help Themselves

JANUARY 26, 2017
By: Justin Chapman, Pacific Council

Development organizations must help support countries who want to lead their own sustainable development efforts, Dana J. Hyde told Pacific Council members during a discussion on how innovative approaches to delivering U.S. foreign assistance can aid the global fight against poverty. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Shaheen Kassim-Lakha, director of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Hyde most recently served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). MCC is a development program that was established by Congress in 2004 with strong bipartisan support. It aims to reduce poverty in developing nations through promoting economic growth. As CEO, Hyde oversaw a portfolio of roughly $4 billion in economic assistance programs aimed at reducing poverty, spurring growth, and advancing America’s interests around the globe.

"At any given time, MCC will only be in about 20 countries," said Hyde. "We focus on those low and lower middle income countries that are relatively well-governed and that they themselves are trying to lift themselves out of poverty."

"We all need to be ambassadors for why U.S. engagement in terms of global development is important for our own interests."

Dana J. Hyde

Hyde explained that the MCC is essentially a competitive program. Countries are ranked every year on the basis of 20 transparent indicators of major international institutions, then clustered in three categories: governance (including the rule of law, transparency, the fight against corruption, democracy); economic freedoms (how long it takes to start a business, the participation of gender in that economy); and the degree to which the countries themselves are investing in their own resources and people (including their education and immunization rates).

"MCC is unique in a number of specific ways," she said. "It is purposefully made to be a different model of assistance. For example, USAID manages about $20 billion a year and has around 10,000 people. MCC is a boutique; it has about $1 billion a year and a staff of 350. MCC is different in that it only has one mission. It is not meant to be a food program or health or education sector specific. It’s focused on how to alleviate poverty through economic growth."

About 65 percent of MCC’s investments are in Africa. They also have a presence in the three Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua), and are increasingly moving into Asia, including in Indonesia, the Philippines, Nepal, Mongolia, and most recently Sri Lanka.

Through its investments, MCC is building infrastructure, roads, transmission lines, large-scale irrigation, and educational facilities. It is based on what the data from their research says is a priority, as well as what the partner country wants them to focus on.

"First in the door is our economists," she said. "They work with the finance ministry and undertake a ‘constraints to growth’ analysis. Then we ask the country’s core team to come up with proposals of what our investment will look like."

They spend the first two years working on the initial analysis and then they expand their outreach to include civil society and the private sector. On average, their investments have been about $350 million in grant form over a five year period.

"As a development organization today, you have to think in terms of how you leverage other existing resources [besides your own limited capital]," said Hyde. "Leverage typically means public/private partnership, foreign direct investment, domestic private capital, domestic resource mobilization, and remittances. For MCC, leverage can also relate to policy reform. It has been shown that countries in Africa are changing their laws in order to pass an indicator to be able to get an MCC award."

"If empowered and given rights, women have been shown to bolster their communities and put money back into their local economies."

Dana J. Hyde

Hyde said that MCC believes they can add value to a country’s situation by looking at the "cross cutting enablers of development," especially gender.

"If empowered and given rights, women have been shown to bolster their communities and put money back into their local economies," said Hyde. "As Christine Lagarde likes to say, ‘Investing in women is an economic no-brainer.’ So while MCC has its sights on our contribution and how far we can punch above our weight in terms of delivering in many respects, we’re also focusing very much on our gender efforts."

Hyde also discussed the emerging trend of traditional, long-term development aid being eclipsed by immediate, emergency needs.

"We know that the traditional, long-term development assistance is increasingly shrinking because of the number of immediate conflict emergencies and the need for humanitarian, refugee, and natural disaster assistance," she said. "The development community is grappling with what it means to have what’s traditionally been thought of as long-term development [versus] immediate humanitarian assistance, and whether that [traditional] continuum needs to be rethought."

Despite such potential setbacks, Hyde said that there is strong, bipartisan support for development in Congress.

"Over the last two years, to everyone’s surprise, Congress has come together to pass bills such as the Electrify Africa Act and the Global Food Security Act," she said. "The coalition that existed 12 years ago under President Bush, who brought us [the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] and MCC, is still very strong. There are lots of reasons to be hopeful. At the same time, we all need to be ambassadors for why U.S. engagement in terms of global development is important for our own interests in three ways: it is an expression of our values, it creates stability around the world, and it helps grow the global economy. It’s incumbent upon all of us to be ambassadors for those messages."

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Justin Chapman is the Communications Associate at the Pacific Council on International Policy.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Pacific Council.

Mayor Garcetti: This is L.A.’s Time to Lead as a Global City

JANUARY 25, 2017
By: Justin Chapman, Pacific Council

Los Angeles needs to assert itself as a role model for the world in this Pacific Century, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti told Pacific Council members in his inaugural State of the Global City address.

Following his remarks, Dr. Cynthia A. Telles, clinical professor at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and director of UCLA-SSPC, moderated a discussion with Garcetti. This event was presented in partnership with the L.A. Mayor’s Office and was made possible by the generous support of the RM Liu Foundation.

"Los Angeles, it is time for us to lead," said Garcetti. "This is an extraordinary moment for L.A. This is the Pacific Century. This is our century. Let us lead it."

Watch Mayor Garcetti’s full address below:

Garcetti called for a Pacific perspective in the highest levels of the U.S. government, including in the country’s defense and diplomatic work.

"L.A. is not just a local or regional or national leader, but a global leader," he said. "This diverse and innovative place full of people who are constantly reimagining the future has a lot to offer in these very anxious times. Every time the pendulum swings and there is a change of government in Washington, people are wary of the future, but this moment is different. For many people it feels like the very earth is shifting underneath us. The divides feel very deep right now."

However, he added, Los Angeles is in many ways poised to play an important role in changing that for the better.

"This city is a haven of tolerance and understanding, a place where we celebrate our differences," he said. "Los Angeles today is the most diverse city, not just on the face of the earth, but in human history. Let that sink in for a moment. If you want to see the face of the world, walk the streets of Los Angeles. This isn’t just a great global city, but one of the most critical and crucial global cities in the world. Los Angeles is arguably the northern capital of Latin America, the western capital of the United States, and the eastern capital of the Pacific Rim."

"Los Angeles is arguably the northern capital of Latin America, the western capital of the United States, and the eastern capital of the Pacific Rim."

- Mayor Eric Garcetti

Part of that effort to strengthen Los Angeles as a global city, Garcetti said, includes the city’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Currently one of three cities including Paris and Budapest that are vying for the Games, Los Angeles envisions an innovative, fiscally-responsible, and sustainable concept for the 2024 Olympics. The election of the host city will take place in September in Lima, Peru.

"In 2017, the big global issue for us is landing the Olympics," said Garcetti. "Now is the time to utilize any connections we have to those 98 voters to convince them to bring the Games to L.A. It’s like a high school election for class president; it’s that small."

Garcetti said he believes Los Angeles needs the Olympics and the Olympics needs Los Angeles.

"We need a reminder of what it means to engage with the world," he said. "The Olympics has always come at great moments in great decades, and in times of immense global need as well. In 1932, when Los Angeles first hosted the Olympics, it was a time when nobody else wanted to host them. In the midst of the Great Depression, we kept the idealism of the Olympics alive. In 1984, in the midst of the Cold War, we not only saved the Olympic movement but we showed we could turn a profit with a new model."

That model includes using existing facilities as well as building infrastructure to serve the people of the city that the Olympics will benefit from, rather than building infrastructure only for the Olympics. Garcetti said Los Angeles would only need to build one facility to host the 2024 Games, for white water canoeing.

"About 77 percent of Angelenos support hosting the Olympics," Garcetti said. "You can’t get a 77 percent vote for anything. Now is the time to win that bid, and in the process we can show them what sustainability in economic and environmental terms is really about. L.A. has always been a Games-changer when we’ve host the Olympics. What we did in 1932 and 1984, I know we can do again in 2024."

"In 2017, the big global issue for us is landing the Olympics. Now is the time to utilize any connections we have to those 98 voters to convince them to bring the Games to L.A."

- Mayor Eric Garcetti

Garcetti said that President Donald Trump has been helpful in trying to bring the Olympics to the United States.

"The president has been wonderful on the Olympics," he said. "I called him and he brought it up first thing saying he wanted to help. For the first time in years, we had the president of the United States on the phone with the president of the International Olympics Committee. He called me back to tell me about it afterward and said, ‘Give me more people to call.’ I thank him for that. It is my responsibility as the mayor of Los Angeles to engage and I actually look forward to finding common ground with this administration, such as in infrastructure, energy, and regulation."

Garcetti said he also hopes Los Angeles can work with the Trump administration on immigration.

"As a Mexican-Jewish-Italian American, I was as offended by what was said [by then-candidate Trump] as anybody," said Garcetti. "I’m never going to not say that, but it’s also important for me to say to him, ‘I don’t know if people are talking to you about this, but I want you to hear the economic impact. This town is booming. Please don’t set us backwards. Your average Trump voter doesn’t want to see people working for less than minimum wage under the table. We all have a stake in making sure our DREAMERs can continue to go to college, get good jobs, and succeed.’ So when I look for areas of common ground, I’m not naïve, but I don’t write anybody off."

"I actually look forward to finding common ground with the Trump administration, such as in infrastructure, energy, regulation, and hopefully immigration."

- Mayor Eric Garcetti

Garcetti pointed out that contrary to popular opinion, Los Angeles is not officially a sanctuary city. He also identified several myths surrounding sanctuary cities and discussed the city’s potential strategy should the Trump administration withhold federal funding over the issue of immigration.

"It’s patently false that we don’t cooperate with federal law enforcement officials," he said. "We hand over dangerous rapists, murderers, and others to federal officials, we just have a procedure for that and it demands a warrant from a court, not, ‘Oh, that person looks the wrong way.’ I believe the 10th Amendment protects us from mandates that we have to change how we do that procedure in exchange for funding. The Supreme Court has spoken very loudly in that the federal government cannot force cities or states to do something in exchange for funding, unless it’s for that specific program. We receive $500 million in federal funds, but none of that is for cooperation between LAPD and federal immigration officials. We need to humanize the stories of immigrants."

Garcetti also discussed his aspiration to make Los Angeles the "activism capital of the world," adding that if people support women's rights they should donate to and volunteer at organizations that actually help women.

"The Women’s March was an important moment," he said. "It was important for us to hear each other’s voices. But it’s what we do that’s important. If you believe in women’s rights, the next day you should be out there volunteering and donating to the downtown women’s shelter, where a survivor of domestic violence is living on the streets tonight and needs help to heal. If you believe in human rights for women, you should get involved with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, which helps people who have been trafficked globally and here in the city. If you believe in women’s rights, be a woman who runs for office. Don’t just talk about it. Get off Facebook and get out into the streets."

"Yelling is a pretty powerless thing to do. But actually marching and organizing and doing, that’s the most powerful thing that we have and that’s what we’re called to do in this moment in history."

- Mayor Eric Garcetti

He added that engaging with the Trump administration and the change it is enacting is not just about one person.

"The Civil Rights Movement wasn’t [about calling people] racist,'" Garcetti said. "It was about, ‘Everybody should be at the lunch counter. Nobody should be denied an education. There shouldn’t be two fountains.’ Keep your eye on standing up for what we want to see, not who’s pissing us off. That goes both directions. We saw it with how Republicans treated President Obama and we see it with how Democrats are treating President Trump. I’m not saying all things are equal, but the mistake is to personalize this and make it about one person. That’s a pretty powerless position to act from. Yelling is a pretty powerless thing to do. But actually marching and organizing and doing, that’s the most powerful thing that we have and that’s what we’re called to do in this moment in history."

Garcetti said he hopes to deliver many more State of the Global City addresses to the Pacific Council in the years to come, "if my job interview with the people of L.A. goes well in a month and a half," he said. "I will look forward to returning and seeing the evolution of this great global city."

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Justin Chapman is the Communications Associate at the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Check out photos from this event on our Flickr page.

Ahead of this event, Mayor Garcetti wrote an article for the Pacific Council about strengthening L.A. leadership in the Pacific Century. Read it here.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Pacific Council.

Get Your Own

Posted by Pasadena Weekly Staff | Jan 12, 2017

INSIDER LOWDOWN

Members of the Pasadena Weekly editorial staff, including Editor Kevin Uhrich, Deputy Editor André Coleman, Arts Editor Carl Kozlowski, columnist Ellen Snortland and contributor Justin Chapman, discuss how weekly newspapers have carved out a sustainable niche in a rapidly digitizing world at 7 p.m. tonight, Jan. 12, at Pasadena Public Library’s Central Branch, 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena. Call (626) 744-4066 or visit cityofpasadena.net/library. 

NEW MUSIC

Pasadena Second Friday songwriter’s night features singer-songwriter Jennie Walker performing music from her “Night Flight to London” album from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Madeline Garden, 1033 E. Green St., Pasadena, hosted by Petrella, “First Lady of Country Soul” (countrysoultrain.com). Genevieve Birchman, Shelly Segal, Alias Means and Shelby & Tieg also perform. Free. Call (626) 844-9244 or visit madelinegarden.com.

HERO FLICK

Free movie matinees start at 1 p.m. Fridays at the Pasadena Senior Center, 85 E. Holly St., Pasadena. Friday’s film is “Sully” (2016), starring Tom Hanks as airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who landed his aircraft on the Hudson River during an in-flight emergency. Call (626) 795-4331 or visit pasadenaseniorcenter.org.

CLIMATE ANSWERS

The Conscientious Projector Series features the documentary “The Future of Energy” at 7 p.m. today, Jan. 12, at Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Admission is free. For more information, call (818) 517-8878 or visit thefutureofenergy.org

Bulletin Board 01.05.17

Posted by Pasadena Weekly Staff | Jan 5, 2017

Peaceful Light

Event pays tribute to MLK legacy Saturday morning at City Hall

The Martin Luther King Community Coalition kicks off its celebration of MLK Day at 10 a.m. Saturday with “Rekindling the Light of Peace” in the City Council Chambers at Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave.     

The free event features guest speakers including MLK Coalition Chairpersons Drs. David and Jackie Davis, as well as music by the Marshall Fundamental School choir, poetry readings and readings of winning essays from a Pasadena Unified School District student contest. State Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, will be the keynote speaker, and Pasadena Human Relations Commissioner Nat Nehdar will emcee the event.

The events continue on at Altadena Elementary School, 743 E. Calaveras St., Altadena, with the essay contest and an arts and dance exhibition.

King visited Pasadena at least three times during the civil rights movement. In 1958, King accepted an invitation to speak at Caltech by the Leaders of America Program, which brought distinguished speakers to the campus.

In 1960, King preached a sermon at Friendship Baptist Church on Dayton Street and South DeLacey Avenue after meeting then-head Pastor Marvin T. Robinson.

King returned to Friendship Baptist in 1965, one year after winning a Nobel Peace Prize and two years after delivering his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech during the march on Washington.

In 1967, former All Saints Rector Ed Bacon had a chance encounter with King in an Atlanta airport. The meeting inspired Bacon to reread the Bible with an emphasis on equality and justice.

In addition to the city’s Human Relations Commission, the event is supported by the Martin Luther King Community Coalition, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Churches, the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley, the Pasadena Unified School District, the Altadena NAACP, the Pasadena NAACP, Aspires West Pasadena, the Pasadena Journal and the Pasadena Weekly.

Locally, the King Coalition has worked to keep King’s legacy alive for 26 years. During that time, the coalition has sponsored the MLK Essay Contest, in which more than 20,000 local students have participated.

Spilling Secrets

PW staffers offer insights into how Pasadena Weekly gets made during Jan. 12 event at Pasadena Central Library

In an era when traditional, daily newspapers are losing revenue, cutting budgets and decreasing staff, alternative newsweeklies such as Pasadena Weekly seem to be thriving. The Pasadena Weekly’s editorial staff will discuss the keys to making hyper-local newspapers find a sustainable niche serving their communities, the process of putting out a paper each week, and how it makes editorial decisions in a special event at the Donald Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Jan. 12.   

The event will feature editor Kevin Uhrich, deputy editor Andre Coleman, arts editor Carl Kozlowski and columnist Ellen Snortland, and will be moderated by frequent contributor Justin Chapman. The team will also discuss Pasadena city politics and the books they have authored, and will take questions from the audience.

The Pasadena Central Library is located at 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena. Call (626) 744-4066.


An Anxious Germany Awaits the Trump Administration

JANUARY 3, 2017
By: Justin Chapman, Pacific Council

Germany is hungry for information about what to expect from the Trump administration. Will President Trump withdraw the United States from the Iran deal and the Paris agreement? Will he let Vladimir Putin run rampant in Eastern Europe? Will he continue to provoke China? Will he tweet at four in the morning to announce policy proposals?

Detlef Wachter, head of the division of security policy at the Federal Chancellery, said Germany is extremely anxious to see how the new U.S. administration will interact with Putin’s Russia. Though Trump’s campaign statements about NATO caused some alarm in Germany, they did reignite a discussion about burden-sharing among NATO members. Germany, for its part, does want to adhere to its commitment of spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense, according to several officials. Germany currently spends 1.19 percent.

At the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), an independent, non-partisan, and nonprofit membership organization, think tank, and publisher, Dr. Jana Puglierin, head of the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies program, and other DGAP experts said that following Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, Europeans are very anxious about the same thing happening during France’s election in May and Germany’s election in September.

Professor Dr. Andrea Römmele of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin questioned the role of mainstream media following the U.S. election.

"In the United States, all major media outlets endorsed Clinton, but Trump used tweets and won," she said. "What’s the relevance of the media now?"

Bertram Eisenhauer, head of the Sunday edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), one of the largest newspapers in Europe, said there’s a growing distrust of the media in Germany, just like in the United States. He mentioned the increasing use of the term "lugenpresse," or lying press, a term successfully used by the Nazis to fight the media in the 1930s and used again by some Trump supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"There is a broad movement of people now who do not believe anything they read in the paper unless it confirms certain preconceptions they have," said Eisenhauer. "If you say crime is rising because of the refugees, they will believe it, but if you say crime is not rising, they will think you’re lying."

Nora Müller, executive director of international affairs at the Körber Foundation, said policymakers in Berlin are overwhelmed by the expectations of other countries these days. Matthias Nass, chief international correspondent of Die Zeit, the largest weekly newspaper in Europe, agreed.

"Transatlantic relations are getting very interesting again," he said. "The German government was not prepared for the outcome of the U.S. election. We do not know what to expect from the Trump administration. But whoever the leaders are, the United States and Europe have to work together. We face these challenges together."

Nass said it’s important for Europe to know if the Trump administration wants to continue having Germany and France be the drivers of the Minsk talks, or if he wants the United States to take over talking to Russia about Ukraine.

"We hope the United States lives up to its obligations, treaties, and agreements, and we need to do that, too," he said. "There has to be trust on both sides. This doesn’t exist yet. Europe is not in a good state right now. We have a rise of nationalism that I didn’t expect in my lifetime. Many players look to Germany with high expectations, but America can’t expect Germany to take a lead that is not coordinated by all our neighbors. We don’t speak for Europe. Berlin might have a strong voice, but it is only one of 28 voices."

Germans and their government are very reluctant to build up their military and to use force abroad. Kapitän zur See Hans-Jörg Detlefsen, deputy director of security policy at the Ministry of Defense, went so far as to say Germany is reluctant to commit troops to UN peacekeeping forces. Pacifism is a long-standing tradition in German society, due in no small part to World War II. If the United States, under President Trump, becomes more isolationist and withdraws from the Middle East, Germany will not and cannot fill that gap, officials said.

Germany is also not immune to the populist trends shaking up the establishment around the world, including in the United States with the election of Trump, in the United Kingdom with the Brexit vote, in Italy with the rejection of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s reform referendum, in the Philippines with the election of Rodrigo Duterte, and in Colombia with the rejection of the first peace deal with FARC rebels, to cite a few examples. A new far right-wing populist and Euroskeptic political party called Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) is gaining traction in Germany. AfD has won seats in several state parliaments and is expected to win anywhere from 5 to 12 percent of the seats in the national parliament in September 2017. The party was formed a couple of years ago in opposition to the euro, but quickly adopted a xenophobic, anti-immigrant platform in response to the influx of refugees in Germany.

On December 6, German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a speech to the annual conference of her party, the Christian Democratic Union, in which she accepted her party’s nomination as its candidate for another four-year term, called for a ban on full-face veils, and moved to the right on refugees. "A situation like the one in the late summer of 2015 cannot, should not, and must not be repeated," she said, referring to terrorist attacks allegedly carried out by refugees. Another string of attacks were carried out in summer 2016, and in December a truck ploughed through a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Merkel has received criticism for opening the door to over a million refugees, but many Germans are still supportive of hosting and integrating refugees into their society. At the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts, a nonprofit corporation under public law that provides services to the skilled crafts sector, Securing Skilled Workers department head Gesine Keßler-Mohr said incoming refugees help counter the low birth rate and aging population problem in Germany, which is one of the lowest in Europe.

"There is a deep, ongoing discussion about the value of immigration and how it will change German society," she said.

Eisenhauer spoke about his newspaper’s struggle to cover a recent controversial story about an 18-year-old German college student who was raped and strangled to death in a small university town, allegedly by a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor and former refugee from Afghanistan applying for asylum in Germany.

"Is this a regional story? A political story? Should it go on page one? Should we make the connection to the refugees coming in? Will our coverage fan the flames of xenophobia?" said Eisenhauer, describing the discussion in their newsroom about how to cover the story. They ultimately decided not to put it on page one, but displayed it prominently inside the paper.

The Chamber of Crafts and Chamber of Commerce are deeply involved in the effort to integrate refugees into the German labor market by providing vocational training, language classes, cross-cultural competence training, and other services to make sure refugees have the necessary qualifications to do the jobs they are being assigned to.

The German government’s foreign policy, under Merkel’s leadership, is focused on thinking more comprehensively about solving problems in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa before refugees leave those areas and head for Europe. They hope that the Trump administration sees the value in this strategy and that the United States follows suit.
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Pacific Council communications associate Justin Chapman recently traveled to Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg, Germany for the "Think Transatlantic" Study Tour, sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office. Meetings with government, media, economic, and think tank officials featured discussions on a range of transatlantic issues, including NATO, refugees, Russia, President-elect Donald Trump, and more.