White House Summit Reaffirms U.S. Leadership in Global Development

Last week while HIV/AIDS advocates gathered together in Durban, South Africa for the 21st International AIDS Conference, another event in Washington, D.C. reflected on past successes and future opportunities to save and improve millions of lives. The White House Summit on Global Development brought together international leaders from government, the private sector, civil society, faith communities, as well as youth representatives, to reflect on the success of programs over the last eight years and look forward to the future of global development.

The highlight of the day-long gathering was an address delivered by President Obama. In his remarks, the president highlighted the immense progress the world has made in fighting diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria:

“In recent decades, the world has achieved incredible advances in development and human dignity. We’ve saved over 60 million lives from measles, malaria and tuberculosis. We slashed HIV/AIDS infections and deaths.”

President Obama also thanked members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who have come together on these issues and continue to bolster the legacy of the United States as a leader in global development. More broadly, he spoke of investments in global development as a matter of national security, as well as smart foreign policy, and expressed his belief that the U.S. government’s international development programs will remain a strong pillar of the country’s foreign policy.

The summit also featured panel discussions that covered a range of topics from improving global health to empowering youth. The global health-focused panel featured an impressive lineup: Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE; Dr. Kent Brantly, a doctor who cared for Ebola patients in Liberia and contracted the disease himself; and Pape Amadou Gaye, President and CEO of IntraHealth International. Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, moderated the discussion.

Finally, the panel featuring “Generation Now” discussed the tremendous opportunity the world has to engage with young people to solve social problems and innovate for the future. With 60 percent of Africans and 65 percent of Southeast Asians under the age of 35, programs such as the U.S.-led Young Leaders Initiatives and Let Girls Learn, are becoming more important to invest in than ever before.

For more information about the value of investing in youth and global health, please see Friends’ interview with 24-year-old tuberculosis survivor and HIV peer educator, Loyce Maturu.