Stephen A. Horblitt (Washington, DC)
Development professionals with a sense of mission, are facing a critical challenge, that of continuing to build and enhance a constituency for international development.
Meeting this challenge is required by the budgetary situation of the United States.
As the Congress and the Executive Branch consider cuts in discretionary spending international development as funded by the international affairs budget (Account 150) is a small but easy target.
Many development professionals have extensive experience and skill in organizing overseas. They can make a contribution by putting those skills to work here at home. Quite simply, development professionals exercising First Amendment Constitutional rights can organize to influence the American political system . . . Such messaging helps policy makers explain to their constituencies the importance of international development.
Thankfully, much progress has taken place in constructing a constituency over the last eighteen years. The building by the US Global Leadership Campaign of a “strange bedfellow coalition” bringing together diverse elements represents a major accomplishment.
The USGLC involves interest groups focused on national security, aid in the service of trade and economic growth, and those concerned with humanitarian values. The USGLC is very effective. Part of this “strange bedfellow coalition” includes the leadership of development organizations at the President and CEO levels and professionals specifically responsible for advocacy.
But, that effort can and should be enhanced by the engagement of development professionals.
An all hands on deck effort of development professionals can be very helpful. What can and would the professionals in development do? Many development professionals have extensive experience and skill in organizing overseas. They can make a contribution by putting those skills to work here at home.
Quite simply, development professionals exercising First Amendment Constitutional rights can organize to influence the American political system in behalf of international development.
Development professionals can author letters, send emails, visit, and make phone calls to their Members of Congress, their Senators and to the President advocating for international development.
Development professionals are well placed to advocate for resources and policies that are supportive of international development. They can formulate messages aligned with the national security, economic interests, and the humanitarian values of the United States.
Disciplined, concise messages that paint word pictures are important and help decision makers who want to cast votes and provide oversight supportive of international development.
Such messaging helps policy makers explain to their constituencies the importance of international development.
Additionally, development professionals have family and friends that can be enlisted to support international development with the same methodology. This latter action step is important to reaching legislators from Congressional districts and states beyond the Washington, DC Beltway.
Development professionals disciplined, enlightened, and engaged can have an impact in our system in behalf of mission driven development, carried out by professionals.