Audrey Williams is a Program Associate at PSA, where she contributes to programs on the IAEA, conflict resolution, and bipartisan foreign policy. She was previously a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at The Stimson Center, where she published a report on IAEA technical cooperation in the 21st Century.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visist the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute in 2013. Photo Credit: Conleth Brady / IAEA
In the fall of 2014, as the Ebola crisis raged in West Africa, a seemingly unlikely actor entered the effort to prevent the disease’s spread: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In the case of the Ebola crisis, the IAEA sent material support to Sierra Leone to help achieve faster diagnoses, which were crucial to both treating and preventing the spread of the disease. Months later, the IAEA brought together 20 experts from 13 African countries for a project to strengthen early detection of disease outbreaks on the continent.
The IAEA is often called a “nuclear watchdog,” and it is certainly a crucial international actor in the effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Yet the Agency’s contributions to peace and security go beyond safeguards and verifications. It is a little known fact that the IAEA has long been a development actor, carrying out projects across food and agriculture, human health, the environment, and other themes in 131 countries and territories through its Technical Cooperation Programme.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is Chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic advisory firm, and Chair of the National Democratic Institute. She is a member of PSA’s Board of Advisors. Ambassador Johnnie Carson, a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, serves on the board of the NDI and co-chaired its recent election observer mission in Nigeria. He also serves as a Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group.
This article originally appeared on TIME.com.
Why Change in Nigeria Matters to the World
This week, something unprecedented is happening in Africa’s most populous country, where groundbreaking political change is underway. Nigeria’s incumbent president will step down and a new president from another political party, Muhammadu Buhari, will be sworn in.
The March election that brought Mr. Buhari to office was a political triumph for Nigeria and a positive step for the future of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Few expected that the election would be peaceful or credible, but the Nigerian people demanded nothing less.
Madeleine Albright is a PSA Advisory Board member and was U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001. She also chairs Partners for a New Beginning, the Albright Stonebridge Group, and co-chairs the Aspen Food Security Strategy Group . Article originally appeared in The Aspen Journal of Ideas.
The Moral Imperatives of Food Security
It is peculiar to live in a world where hunger is an endemic problem for half the planet while diet books are best-sellers in the other half. This point is often lost in the broader bundle of jargon that now defines the conversation on food security in the twenty-first century, but it should not be.
A food security expert today will tell you that in order to feed the world’s population, projected to reach over 9 billion people by 2050, we must adopt a sophisticated strategy of “streamlining market efficiencies,” “scaling best practices,” and “leveraging disruptive technologies” to put food in the mouths of the poor and the hungry. True. But there is more to this story.
Jamie Metzl is a Co-Chairman of the PSA Board of Directors and Nonresident Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security at the Atlantic Council.
The Deal Involves Expanding the ‘Maritime Silk Road’
Xi Jinping’s just completed visit to Pakistan is a big deal for China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and the United States. China has pledged $46 billion to develop the port, road, and pipeline infrastructure linking the Pakistani port at Gwadar to Western China’s Xinjiang province, to construct badly needed power plants, and to upgrade Pakistan’s submarines, presumable to carry nuclear weapons. In return, Pakistan is giving China essentially full access to the Gwadar port.
Everyone should wish for economic development in Pakistan, and it would be great if at least a significant portion of the Chinese aid and loans goes toward activities, like badly-needed infrastructure and energy-generating capacity, that benefits the ordinary Pakistani people. US aid to Pakistan over past decades has spectacularly failed in this regard.
Madeleine Albright is a PSA Advisory Board member and was U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001. She also chairs Partners for a New Beginning, the Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic consulting firm, and Albright Capital Management, an emerging markets investment firm.
Penny Pritzker is U.S. Commerce Secretary. Article originally appeared in Al Jazeera America.
This is Tunisia’s Moment
On Dec. 17, 2010, a Tunisian street vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi staged a desperate protest against corrupt local officials by setting himself on fire. The act helped trigger a revolution in his country and a wave of uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East. The consequences of his actions were complex, but his demands were simple: He wanted to earn a good living, start a business and be treated with dignity.
Bouazizi’s story reminds us that the roots of extraordinary political upheaval in what came to be known as the Arab Spring were fundamentally about economic freedom. Creating opportunity for young people besieged by high unemployment is a challenge that must be addressed head-on by governments in the region. The United States will continue to serve as a partner in that effort, through both our government and our private sector.
Jenifer Mackby is a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists and a senior adviser to the Partnership for a Secure America. She was a technical observer in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission’s Integrated Field Exercise 2014. She previously served as secretary of the negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in Geneva and secretary of the Working Group on Verification at the Preparatory Commission in Vienna. The article originally appeared in Arms Control Today.
SPECIAL REPORT: Did Maridia Conduct a Nuclear Test Explosion? On-Site Inspection and the CTBT
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission launched a large-scale simulation of an on-site inspection in Jordan on November 3, 2014, to test the organization’s ability to find a nuclear test explosion site. The exercise, involving two fictitious countries, lasted for five weeks and used 150 tons of equipment to comb a large swath of land next to the Dead Sea.
The inspection area encompassed 1,000 square kilometers, the maximum area allowed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), although the 30-day inspection period for the exercise was much less than the potential 130 days that the treaty allows. Searching for clues of a nuclear explosion in such an expanse and in such a shortened time period was a daunting task. It required the international teams, comprising 200 scientists and experts in on-site inspection technologies from 44 countries, to focus on their respective tasks for 12- to 14-hour days.
Anthony Lake is executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund and former member of PSA’s Advisory Board. The article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian.
Children of war need help
Innocent children, women and elderly people – who cannot protect themselves – were massacred. Village after village has been burned to the ground. And three young girls were sent to their deaths with explosives strapped to their bodies in so-called suicide bombings that killed scores of civilians.
Over the past week I hope you saw these news reports from northern Nigeria. And I hope you did not flip or click away to the next article – horrified, yes, but hoping these were only isolated incidents happening in some difficult-to-reach place in some other African country.
Tara Sonenshine is a former member of PSA’s Board of Directors. She also served as U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and is currently a distinguished fellow at George Washington University. This article was originally published in GW Planet Forward.
A World Hungry for Food and Solutions: Why We Need Food Diplomacy
If there is one truly global issue that unites people and divides them it is food. Food security—or lack thereof, is today on the top of every nation’s priorities including our own. Simply put: There is not enough food to go around in a world that is likely to house 9.6 billion people by 2050. Food insecurity—where someone in the household literally has to reduce food intake—affects people in the United States, Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East.
Former Gov. Tom Kean is currently a member of PSA’s Advisory Board. He is also co-chair of the nonprofit education research and advocacy organization JerseyCAN: The New Jersey Campaign for Achievement Now. This article was originally published at NJ.com.
Common Core will benefit NJ students
When it comes to education, New Jersey has consistently been a leader. It’s something on which we pride ourselves.
A critical part of being a great leader, however, is regularly seeking ways to do better, and this is exactly what we did in June 2010, when New Jersey adopted the Common Core State Standards, a set of benchmarks for what students should know at each grade level so they all graduate high school prepared for college and careers.
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George P. Shultz, a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, was secretary of state from 1982 to 1989. Sam Nunn, a former U.S. senator from Georgia and chairman of the Armed Services Committee from 1987 to 1995, is co-chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Both Nunn and Lugar serve as members of PSA’s Advisory Board. This article was originally published at the Washington Post.
How to deal with Russia without reigniting a full-fledged Cold War psychology
Russia has taken over Crimea and threatens further aggression. Now is the time to act but also to think strategically. What basic strategic approach should the United States and its allies take, and how can that approach be implemented over time so that the tactical moves benefit our long-term interests? Is it possible to avoid the reemergence of a full-fledged Cold War psychology, which is encouraged by Russia developing an “I can get away with it” mentality?
All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.