Weekly Briefing (2/28/2011–3/4/2011)

March 1 The New York Times reports that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that USAID will be dispatching two teams to Libya’s borders in Egypt and Tunisia to assess the need for emergency assistance. Clinton also said the agency has set aside $10 million for humanitarian assistance and begun an inventory of American emergency food supplies.

March 2 The Washington Post, Reuters, and AFP all reported on Secretary Clinton’s comments concerning the State Department and USAID budget, saying that “diplomatic and development activities…are at least as important as military readiness.” Bloomberg News noted that in response to her statements about national security, several Republics argued that that nation’s deficit threatens U.S. stability. AP added that Clinton regretted that budget cuts may eliminate a plan to open a new development aid office in the Pacific.

March 2 CBS News, NBC Nightly News, and Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog reported on the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps and the history of the organization that is “more relevant than ever,” according to President Obama. Hillary Clinton praised the Peace Corps, saying that many of her colleagues in the State Department and USAID began their careers in the Peace Corps.

March 4 AFP reports that proposed foreign aid cuts could hamper food security efforts and spark unrest. According to USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, “acute hunger ‘threatens the stability of governments, societies and borders around the world.”

March 4 The New York Times reports that President Obama has authorized USAID to charter civilian aircraft to help refugees return to other countries.