Grantee & Partner News

March 16, 2017


Grantee News From Global Progressive Hub:

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s budget blueprint released on Thursday serves as an eye-opening indicator of the troubling direction he wants to take U.S. foreign policy. The investments we make should reflect our shared values of prioritizing diplomacy and the security and well-being of all peoples around the world, regardless of age, income, nationality, religious affiliation, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Mr. Trump’s new budget proposal completely disregards these values.

Most importantly, when we turn our backs on those in need and withdraw our investments in the international community, the United States and the world will be less secure.

“At a time of unprecedented global crisis, with 65 million people forced to flee their homes, multiple famines looming, and increasing havoc caused by climate change, it is unconscionable and reckless to propose devastating cuts in foreign aid, the State Department, and the United Nations,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. “Today 20 million people face starvation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, and more than 1.4 million children could literally starve to death this year. Now is not the time to cut funding for lifesaving assistance and abandon people trapped in desperate and cruel situations.”

“Gutting our investments in every corner of government to pay for a spending binge at the Pentagon is beyond counterproductive,” said Win Without War Director Stephen Miles. “Our nation’s security depends on a strong economy, robust diplomacy, and our nation living its values at home and abroad. This budget does the exact opposite and makes America less safe.”

“This budget will hurt people across America and throughout the world. A wasteful $54 billion increase in Pentagon spending and nearly $3 billion for an unnecessary ‘wall’ fuels militarism in both our foreign and domestic policy,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “The president’s budget does not foster peace or justice. No one benefits from this budget except the the corporate profiteers that build their wealth through Department of Defense and Homeland Security contracts.”

“These cuts would undermine the ability of the U.S. to continue to provide its important leadership in shaping global standards and promoting worker rights globally which is essential to ensuring the growth of good jobs, bolstering our own economy, and strengthening the global economy,” said Cathy Feingold, Director of the AFL-CIO’s International Department. “These cuts would greatly reduce resources available to addressing the everyday needs of working families, including quality public services such as health care, education, and access to drinking water. They also reduce programs that help to strengthen unions and civil society organizations which are key to robust, stable democracies.”

“Among other problems, this budget would starve our collective efforts to protect access to fresh water for drinking, research renewable energy, and secure a climate that can provide food security for our nation and the world,” said Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director of the U.S. Climate Action Network. “It is a disgrace.”


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February 22, 2017

Extremism’s Earliest Critics

Grantee News From International Civil Society Action Network:

Women Are Often the First to Raise the Alarm

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Carbon Bubble Is Bursting as Divestment Takes Hold

Grantee News From DivestInvest Philanthropy:

By Clara Vondrich

Where goes investment, there goes the climate. This is the fact today as we stand on the brink of locking in irreversible climate change with our fossil-heavy economy. Like never before, institutional investors have the power to make or break the future.

The International Energy Agency published a bombshell report in 2011 noting that our climate fate would be sealed by 2017 without a rapid departure from business as usual. By that year, dangerous warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius would be locked in by a global system of long-lived pipelines, refineries, power plants and transportation systems. Since then, the “safe” level of warming has been tightened further to 1.5 degrees, with evidence that 2 degrees is a death warrant for many island nations.

It’s now 2017 and the pace of the clean energy transition still lags behind the physics. Some say 2 degrees, much less 1.5 degrees, is a pipe dream. The upshot is that every investment we make into our energy system matters, bringing us either closer to or further away from climate hell. By this measure, the policies of China—closing its coal plants and committing hundreds of billions of dollars to renewable energy—are prudent, while the rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration—promising to rebuild America’s coal industry and firing off executive orders to fast track the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines—are retrograde. One creates an enabling environment for progress and thriving, the other is disabling and destabilizing.  More>


Clara Vondrich is the director of DivestInvest Philanthropy.

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February 2, 2017

Do women matter to national security? The men who lead U.S. foreign policy don’t think so.

Grantee News From New America:

The Washington Post

By Joshua Busby and Heather Hurlburt

During the Obama administration, women moved ahead in the U.S. national security infrastructure. They held record numbers of senior national security jobs; in the military, they won the right to serve in combat positions. Researchers found that nations with higher rates of violence against women also had higher risks of conflict and instability and that when women were part of peacemaking, that peace was more durable. The United Nations’ Women, Peace and Security initiatives sought to put these insights into action globally.

Incoming Trump administration officials, on the other hand, have suggested that gender- and other development-focused programming detracts from a focus on U.S. security and have signaled hostility toward U.N. efforts, such as considering gender in security efforts.

In the United States at least, Trump’s team is not unusual according to our new survey of nearly 500 U.S. foreign policy leaders. This establishment remains overwhelmingly male and thinks quite differently about the importance of gender in national security efforts. Further, national security policymakers, particularly men, appear uninformed about the latest research that shows how women’s social status predicts stability and how ensuring that women are involved in building peace and democracy results in more stable and secure nations.

How we did our research

Under the aegis of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Texas National Security Network, we recently surveyed nearly 500 leaders working for U.S. institutions on foreign policy on a wide range of topics. We drew those leaders from the federal executive branch, Congress, think tanks, academia, media, business, labor unions, religious organizations and interest groups. With the collaboration of the think tank New America, we included several gender-related questions — marking the first time foreign policy elites have been polled on the topic.

Our sample was 80 percent male — because that’s who makes up the U.S. foreign-policy establishment. For instance, we identified the top foreign policy-related think tanks in the United States, as defined by the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go to Think Tank Index. Because we wanted to know what the U.S. foreign-policy establishment thinks, we had careful — if broad — criteria for who we surveyed. We sought senior people, not research assistants or associates. Of the 116 think tank professionals who responded to our survey, 75 percent were men. That’s in line with the proportions of men and women in the more than 800 people who received the online survey.

Why should foreign-policy professionals consider gender differences in their work?

Political science makes a strong case. Across all our differences, most Americans share a desire to see less violence in the world — and less expenditure of U.S. lives and treasure to combat it. Newer studies suggest tantalizing links among such things as community status of young men, bride prices and the attainability of marriage, and conflict. The practice of paying a woman’s family before marriage, it turns out, marks not just her value in money but also the man’s. If the going rate for a bride is far beyond what poor men can attain, some will more readily take up violence, crime or extremism to gain access to resources and the social status that comes with marriage — and from Pakistan to North Africa, extremist groups use this to recruit.

This data comes atop decades of studies showing that women’s empowerment — the ability to influence one’s own  fate and play a role in shaping one’s community — makes those communities healthier, better educated, and more prosperous.

But the U.S. foreign-policy establishment appears unaware of these researched insights — with large gaps between men and women

Our respondents had a very general awareness of what is by now a business-school truism — that diverse teams, with women and other historically underrepresented groups at the policymaking tables, result in better outcomes. Within that general lack of knowledge, we found a large gap in attitudes about women’s empowerment and the importance of gender concerns more broadly between men and women, and between Republicans and Democrats.

Overall, 13 percent of our respondents thought gender inequality internationally is a vital threat to U.S. national interests. But that differs dramatically by sex: 20 percent of women while fewer than 9 percent of men think so.

We also asked respondents if they considered women and girls’ full participation in their societies to be an important foreign-policy goal. Nearly 31 percent said it was very important. But, again, there were gaps: 28 percent of men thought so, compared with 45 percent of women.

Compare this with attitudes toward preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, which 80 percent of the sample said was a very important goal.

We also asked respondents questions about the relevance of gender for specific issues, as you can see in the figure below. We first asked people how often they consider the different effects of policies on men and women in their work. 17 percent said always. Here, too, there were gaps between men and women: 14 percent of men said always, compared with 26 percent of women.

We then asked whether policies should be checked in advance to see whether they would affect men and women differently. For instance, a peace process that assumes rebel fighters will be integrated into national armed forces but doesn’t consider whether and how those forces permit women to serve, leaves female fighters marginalized and impoverished — and potentially dangerous, as the activities of female militias in Sierra Leone in 2002 showed. More>

Joshua Busby is an associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. Find him on Twitter @busbyj2 

Heather Hurlburt runs the New Models of Policy Change project at New America, building on two decades of experience in advocacy and executive and legislative branch foreign policymaking. Find her on Twitter @natsecHeather.

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January 27, 2017

2017 People’s State of the Union Kicks Off Tomorrow!

Grantee News From US Department of Arts and Culture:

We The People deserve to be heard. The news has had its chance. The new president will have too many chances. Now it is our turn.

Starting tomorrow and running through February 5th, the USDAC and partners host the 2017 People’s State of the Union—a participatory civic ritual where every story matters.

#PSOTU17 events are popping up all across the country. This action map shows public PSOTU events; see if there’s one to attend near you.


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January 13, 2017

Our First 100 Days!

January 9, 2017

Five Steps to a Feminist Foreign Policy

November 18, 2016


Meet one young woman who took up the fight at Standing Rock

November 15, 2016

How To Fight For The Climate During A Trump Administration