Letter to the White House in Advance of President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address

By Michel Gabaudan

Barack H. Obama
United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of Refugees International, I write to highlight the ongoing displacement crisis in the Horn of Africa and urge you, in your upcoming State of the Union Address, to showcase U.S. leadership on this issue and the need for sustained, high-level attention to the plight of those impacted by drought and famine.

US Engagement in International Peacekeeping

By Michael Boyce

At the National Press Club today, members of the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping (PEP) unveiled their new report, "US Engagement in International Peacekeeping: From Aspiration to Implementation." RI was proud to co-host the event with our other PEP partners, the Better World Campaign and Citizens for Global Solutions.

A Proud American Tradition on Shaky Footing

By Marc Hanson
Since the earliest days of our nation, the United States has self-identified as a beacon of hope for the world’s oppressed and most vulnerable. Every year, the Congress decides anew whether or not our country will live up to its highest ideals and continue to provide global leadership in response to humanitarian crises. In times of plenty – when the economy is growing – living up to the high standard we set for ourselves, may happen as a matter of course.

Afghanistan: An uncertain future

By Lynn Yoshikawa
Listening to President Obama’s speech last week, I thought of the Afghan people my colleagues and I interviewed during our mission there last month. As the president was speaking, it was early morning in Afghanistan. Since so few have electricity – let alone a television – it is unlikely that many would have been watching the speech.

Pakistan: Goals and Perceptions of Foreign Aid

By Kristen Cordell

It has been a big week for those of us working on Pakistan.  New attention on the intensely fractured relationship between the US and Pakistan has led to questions about the fate of current and planned aid packages- with emphasis on the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (or the Kerry-Lugar Act).

Famine Looms in Somalia as Crisis Marks 20th Year

By Elizabeth Campbell
The potential famine looming in Somalia is not being met with any sense of urgency by the U.S. Government. The humanitarian arm of USAID is currently frozen while the U.S. debates a new policy on the provision of humanitarian assistance in south and central Somalia. If the spring rains fail, recent assessments indicate that nearly five million people in southern and central Somalia will struggle to meet their basic food and water requirements for survival in the coming months.

US Budget: America's Humanitarian Legacy is at Risk

By Matt Pennington
Budgets matter.  They show us two things: 1) how our government is spending our scarce resources; and 2) where our national values and priorities lie.

Yesterday, President Obama unveiled his budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12). His budget proposal comes a mere three days after the fledgling GOP House leadership unveiled its plan to fund the U.S. government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.  The two documents – the President’s FY12 budget and the House of Representatives' GOP FY11 spending plan – both display starkly different visions for U.S. spending abroad.

President’s Corner: State of the Union offers little on foreign affairs

By Michel Gabaudan

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama focused, as is custom, essentially on domestic issues, support for America’s troops and the key challenges ahead. His reference to foreign policy was brief, but he began with a welcome call for “a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.”

American leadership on international issues has long been an essential component to promoting peace and stability worldwide. For example, the President rightly extolled America’s efforts in driving and supporting the process that has led to the remarkably peaceful referendum in Sudan. This is no small accomplishment given the checkered recent past of the country.

Haitian Disaster Spotlights Funding Gaps for Humanitarian Crises

By Elizabeth Campbell

There is no doubt that thousands of Haitians are suffering from an enormous disaster that warrants a strong international humanitarian response. Refugees International supports the relief efforts underway, as it’s clear that immediate humanitarian assistance is critical.  In the coming weeks and months we hope the crisis will stabilize, allowing for longer-term thinking about reconstruction and development. As Haiti moves away from this tragic event toward a brighter future, countries and aid groups must remain engaged and committed. Anything less may result in a protracted or chronic humanitarian crisis for the people of Haiti. 

Refugees International Statement on Haiti Earthquake

By Refugees International

The following statement was made by Acting President, Joel Charny, in response to the devastation created by the earthquake in Haiti on January 12.

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