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CARE Honors Eight Global Leaders in Peacebuilding

By Jared Gans

CARE recognized eight people for their efforts to promote peacebuilding around the world at its Global Leaders Network Awards reception on June 11 held at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). The recipients ranged from a chef to congressmen to a former top defense official.

CARE (originally known as the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe) was founded in the United States in the aftermath of World War II when it sent food parcels to Europe. Today, the NGO provides disaster relief and fights poverty around the world. Last year alone, CARE worked in 87 countries implementing long-term programs to tackle poverty, responding to humanitarian emergencies and advocating for policy change to improve the lives of the poorest people.

Nancy Lindborg, the president and CEO of USIP, opened the reception with a quote from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt: “It’s not enough to talk about peace. You have to believe in it. And it’s not enough to believe in it, but you have to work at it.”

“We know that peace requires dedicated, inspired leaders at every level of society and powerful partnerships for change,” Lindborg said.

Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar introduced the first award recipient of the evening, celebrity chef and local entrepreneur José Andrés.

“He is a world-class humanitarian and a world-class chef, of course,” Kawar said. “From free meals to the first-responders of the California wildfires, to serving 3.5 million people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, Mr. Andrés knows well that food, community and connection are among the most basic of human needs.”

chef José Andrés
José Andrés accepts his award for helping to fight hunger and poverty through his organization, World Central Kitchen.  Photos: courtesy of U.S. Institute of Peace

Andrés said his organization World Central Kitchen, which brings together chefs from around the world to create solutions to poverty and hunger, began with a “simple” idea of refusing to leave anybody behind without a “simple plate of food.”

“When you’re hungry and you’re thirsty, the only thing you have to do is this — find food, find the helpers, find a kitchen and start cooking,” he said. “One plate of food at a time can be the beginning of solving the big problems that we face today in humanity.”

“We need to remember that people don’t want our pity; people want our respect, and sometimes our respect is not telling them what they need but showing up next to them and listening to what they need from us,” he said.

Actress Bellamy Young presented an award to Republican Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas, who co-authored the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018 that requires USAID to integrate gender equality in its projects and strategies.

Boozman said the act was based on Democrats and Republicans “coming together” to find common ground to support economic opportunity for women.

“When you look at the studies, when you look at developing countries, everybody agrees that the common denominator is that when women do well, children do well, communities do well, the country does well,” he said.

Boozman said he looks forward to working with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the future to create another “great victory.”

Ambassador Dina Kawar, Senator Sam Nunn
Ambassador of Jordan Dina Kawar and former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia, founder of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, each introduced honorees at the reception. 

Marine combat veteran Dave Cooper recognized Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who sent video messages to accept the awards.

Murkowski and Rubio both commended CARE for working to support women around the world and noted their work in the Senate to “support the most vulnerable worldwide.”

Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas was honored for his co-sponsorship of the International Violence Against Women Act of 2018 and his support for international policies to protect the rights of women and girls.

Castro mentioned that a lot of work remains to protect vulnerable individuals throughout the world, with 70 million people currently displaced from their homes because famine, civil wars and religious strife.

“Thank you for saying that the United States remains a leader among nations in the world who care about human rights, who care about the fate of women and girls around the world,” he said.

Castro said that the goal is to continue building an “infrastructure of opportunity” for women around the world.

Senator Chris Coons, Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act
Sen. Chris Coons of Connecticut was honored for his co-sponsorship of the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act. 

Michèle Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy in the Obama administration and a member of the board of directors of CARE, said she accepted her award on behalf of the entire board and her colleagues in the national security community.

“They, like me, have become champions for using all the instruments of our national power and our influence, including humanitarian assistance, to create a more stable and peaceful and prosperous world,” Flournoy said.

She said that military efforts are limited in their ability to fully stabilize a peaceful community and that other tools like diplomacy, development and negotiation are necessary to create “new economic and political realities.”

“Too often we seem to forget this lesson as a nation, underfunding the very humanitarian and diplomatic tools that are so critical to safeguarding our national security, to preventing conflicts and to helping others build their own and brighter futures,” she said.

Jared Gans is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat.




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