On May 21, the Brookings Institution hosted Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for a discussion of U.S. foreign assistance reform and the importance of foreign relations authorization.
Experts have called for U.S. foreign assistance—and specifically the U.S. effort to support global development—to be reformed in order to become more strategic, coherent and effective. Additionally, recent discussions on Capitol Hill and within the Obama administration have focused on modernizing U.S. foreign assistance to raise the status and effectiveness of U.S. development and reconstruction efforts around the globe. Senator Kerry addressed these issues and how a successful foreign relations authorization bill may be a vehicle for updated Congressional guidance on U.S. foreign policy as a whole, including the initiation of a reform process that could lead to a stronger aid program suited to today’s global challenges.
Kemal Derviş, vice president of Global Economy and Development at Brookings, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. A panel discussion featuring Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat and James Kunder from the German Marshall Fund followed Senator Kerry’s remarks. After the program, panelists took audience questions.