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U.S. Foreign Aid: The Need for Fundamental Reform

On July 27, 2007, Brookings’ Foreign Assistance Reform Project hosted an event in the U.S. Capitol on the need to fundamentally reform U.S. foreign aid. As a critical instrument of American power and a key determinant of the face of America seen by people around the world, foreign aid must be up to the task of addressing 21st century challenges. To develop bold recommendations for reform, Congress established the Helping to Enhance the Livelihood of People Around the Globe, or HELP Commission. This event featured members of Congress, representatives of the HELP Commission, and former USAID Administrators. The audience consisted of Senate and House appropriation staff and authorization staff, as well as high-level administration officials, NGO executives and other foreign assistance stakeholders.

While U.S. spending on foreign assistance has seen its greatest increase in 40 years, foreign aid policy has become incoherent and implementation fragmented. Event participants discussed this and other topics such as the role of USAID, the current changes implemented by the Bush administration, the cooperation necessary between Congress and the Executive Branch, the possible shape of alternative institutional arrangements, and more.






J. Brian Atwood

Former Administrator - U.S. Agency for International Development

Senior Fellow for International and Public Affairs - Thomas Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University

Lael Brainard

Member - Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System


M. Peter McPherson

President - Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Former Administrator - U.S. Agency for International Development


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