The Nobel Committee’s decision to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to three women leaders should be a reminder to the U.S. Congress of the importance of foreign aid and its centrality to U.S. values and interests.
“We in the United States should be thrilled by the Nobel Committee’s choice, because their success demonstrates core values animating our foreign policy: that local, grassroots participation — including women — is a foundation of social progress, and that the demand for human rights can overcome even the most entrenched corruption,” Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says in a blog entry in the Huffington Post. “Judging by the ongoing appropriations process, Congress may be losing sight of those values.”
Foreign aid works, Moran says, stressing that U.S. aid programs overseas help save lives while at the same time boosting U.S. national security and protecting the country’s economy.
The selection of the three women leaders — Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni democracy advocate Tawakul Karman — is also a nod to the rising recognition of the key role women have and should play in pursuing international development goals.
“In recent years, the international development community has come to a better understanding of the critical relationship between gender, justice and development,” Moran writes. “Research shows that when conditions improve for women, economies grow faster, children’s health improves and institutions become less corrupt and more representative.”
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