Speeches

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Thank you, Reeta, and hello, everyone. Thank you for attending the Summit, thanks especially to our session co-chairs, Minister Sarr of Senegal and Minister Baerbock of Germany. Great to hear from you, especially on the eve of such an important meeting there in your home country, where Secretary Blinken is joining you.

We meet on a day in which, as Vice President Harris just mentioned, the United States has hit a very grim milestone that few of us ever imagined when we first heard of COVID-19: one million deaths. That devastation is compounded by the WHO’s recent statement that COVID-19 likely claimed almost 15 million lives around the world.

The scale of that loss is incalculable. But it reminds us of just how relentless an enemy we face. And it also reminds us that we cannot let up. There is a complacency that is emerging in many countries that says this pandemic is over. But we cannot just hope that Omicron is the last variant that takes precious lives and unleashes such human suffering—we have to work to make it such.

The good news is that we have seen major progress since the first COVID-19 Summit that President Biden chaired last September. We have eliminated the global shortfall in the supply of vaccines, as we’ve heard; there are now enough vaccines out there for everyone who wants a vaccine.

Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 11:45am

Today, in response to the Biden Administration’s call, USAID’s Bureau of Policy Planning and Learning is eager to share with you how we intend to tackle the development and humanitarian challenges before us, with a reinvigorated focus on the generation and application of evidence. The Agenda includes nine agency-wide learning questions that give us a framework to better align our investments in evaluation, research, analysis, and other evidence-building activities with our vision for inclusive development.

Friday, May 6, 2022 - 9:15pm

Young people’s contributions and leadership are critical to every major challenge we face today. From a global pandemic we are still living with to climate change, whose shocks to our systems, landscapes, and communities are intensifying every day to conflict around the world, which is not receding. It’s time to view young people as the leaders we know them to be.

Friday, May 6, 2022 - 2:45pm

This conference, of course, takes on special resonance as a brutal heatwave grips much of the subcontinent, with record setting average temperatures reaching 45 degrees in Delhi, not much relief at night, I gather, and water coming out of taps hot to touch. Here in the United States, we are breaking records of our own and none worth bragging about.

Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 6:30pm

I want to thank our colleagues, particularly those from the Asian Pacific American Employee Committee, the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, and our Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning for bringing this important event to life and giving us the space to reflect on the invaluable contributions of the AANHPI community to our Agency and our country’s history, but also to hold the mirror up to ourselves and ask if we’re doing enough to confront the hatred faced by Asian American and Pacific Islanders in our own lives, communities, and yes, our workplace.

Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 5:15pm

President Biden was clear last year in directing all Federal Agencies to abandon any language that might exhibit or contribute to racism, xenophobia, or intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and I am committed to enshrining that guidance in the policy documents that guide our work.

Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 4:45pm

For more than 30 years, USAID has supported the success of our Central Asian partners: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Over the past three decades, the United States has provided over $9 billion in direct assistance to support peace and security, governance reform, economic growth, and humanitarian needs across this dynamic region. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 9:15am

Today, I’m pleased to announce nearly $387 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total amount of humanitarian assistance we’ve provided since the war began to nearly $690 million. This is money that our partners will use to rapidly distribute food and cash to people in war torn areas, to help them access safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene kits, and critical medical supplies.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 1:30pm

Artificial intelligence is poised to increase global GDP by 16 percent by 2030. But as we’ve seen in countries all over the world, democratic and authoritarian alike, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms used in technology like facial recognition, data collection, and location tracking can be repurposed for digital repression. And while we should never underestimate the possibility or potency of repression, the solution is not to turn our backs on the promise of digitization, but doing everything in our power to manage the risks.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 1:15pm

Well, first let me say how heartening it is to see so little skepticism about whether this cause is worth it. I mean, I do think there aren’t that many issues that people agree upon up on Capitol Hill. I had a long briefing today with a bipartisan group of Senators who were very much immersed in the details of where food assistance is going, which non-governmental organizations we should be funding, frustration that it wasn’t moving more quickly, a frustration that I share. This is really galvanizing a degree of unity for now up on Capitol Hill, that’s heartening and that I think is reflected in communities around America. Now, as it recedes from the headlines as compassion fatigue sets in, as it has in so many conflicts in the past, maybe that will become a harder sell. But for right now, I think people see that the battle between democracy and authoritarianism has lived on the frontlines in Ukraine. That when a country is gratuitously invaded and bombarded and pulverized, where starvation is used as a weapon of war, that is something that taps into the best I think of the American tradition. Whether that’s the Marshall Plan and nostalgia, and a very positive memory of something like that, or even WWII itself. Of coming to Europe’s rescue and standing up to fascism. So I think there are historical cords here that have been pressed and are resonating in ways that so far again, as you said, is bringing about quite a positive reception to this request.

Friday, April 29, 2022 - 5:15pm

Russia’s belligerence toward peaceful neighbors and its desire to turn back the clock on decades of development and democratic progress across Europe and Eurasia, as Isobel said, must be met by concerted, united response. That’s what we have done up to this point collectively, but the sky's the limit I think on where we take these partnerships in the days ahead.

No one knows this better than Ambassador Erin McKee, and I am confident that her leadership of this critical bureau will allow USAID to mount an urgently needed defense of values that we hold dear, the same values that Ukrainians are fighting for right now: a desire for deeper economic integration, a commitment to fairness over corruption and greed, and a profound desire to live freely and self-govern.

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Last updated: May 20, 2022

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