Barack Obama’s second term as president of the United States officially began on Sunday, although he was sworn in again the next day at a public ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.
The president’s inaugural address focused on domestic issues; most surprising, perhaps, was his vocal support for gay rights and climate change mitigation. On international development, Obama said only:
“We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.”
Global development leaders have already been pushing hard on challenges they want Obama and his team to tackle in the next four years, from streamlining international cooperation across government departments to speeding up procurement.
In the runup to the inauguration, Devex published a series of guest commentary by nonprofit leaders. These op-eds, assembled in collaboration with InterAction, touched on a range of issues, from human rights to money laundering and beyond. They’re a great reminder of the challenges and opportunities the aid community faces, and the hope it places in Obama’s leadership:
Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.