Weekly Briefing (7/11/2011 – 7/15/2011)

July 12 CNN, McClatchy Newspapers, and The Washington Post reported that at a speech to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton cited the importance of foreign aid and how the State Department and USAID are using “commercial diplomacy” to help U.S. companies compete and win in the future. Clinton noted that more than 1,000 economic officers and over 400 locally-employed staff around the world are promoting American business interests and looking for new opportunities for U.S. businesses abroad.

July 13 In an interview with The Huffington Post, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah discussed the current drought and food crisis in the Horn of Africa. Shah stated that the food shortages are putting millions of lives at risk and threatening to further destabilize a troubled region of the world. “It’s so important to be promoting security and stability in these parts of the world, as opposed to be dealing with these devastating and difficult consequences of failure,” Shah stated.

July 14 Foreign Policy’s The Cable blog reports that in a recent interview with Deputy Secretary of State for Management Tom Nides, the State Department and USAID have a national security mandate. “We are helping countries through Feed the Future, Global Health Initiatives, climate change, and economic support funding. We’re doing that because we’re building up these countries to be more self-reliant and have stronger economies. By doing that, that helps our national security,”