Very interesting, especially the part when the young girl mentions that she thought she would be more of an exchange student. That is essentially what our agency told us when we were going through the process - that many of the parents who relinquish their kids view adoption as an exchange program. That is, that the kids will come to the US, get an education, but hopefully return to ET to their true families, to help their birth country.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Posted by Swerl at 10:19 AM
Thursday, January 28, 2010
More celebrity singers helping Haiti
Posted by Swerl at 4:27 PM
According to Mr. Swerl (if you didn't know, Mrs. Swerl has been writing all the posts for the past 2 weeks), this is the best thing that has ever happened - Shane MacGowan, Nick Cave and Johnny Depp team up to help Haiti.
Posted by Swerl at 8:48 AM
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
You won't believe this letter, written by ex-NBA player Paul Shirley. He is a real gem (NOT) and quite a compassionate fellow (more like a massive tool).
UPDATE - ESPN just dropped him as a contributor.
Posted by Swerl at 6:54 AM
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Operational medicine blog-
Posted by Swerl at 3:42 PM
We watch a lot of Food Network in our house, specifically Iron Chef America. Check out this link to Iron Chef Cat Cora's Chefs for Humanity organization.
Posted by Swerl at 3:26 PM
While they aren't my thing (I'm more of a Cameo, Dazz Band fan) Wilco fans, listen up!
Posted by Swerl at 10:14 AM
Monday, January 25, 2010
For those of you in the Los Angeles area-
Posted by Swerl at 8:42 PM
...this cool kid raised a ton of money to help Haiti! Good job!
Here is the link to Charlie's donation site-
Posted by Swerl at 9:42 AM
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Below is the text of the article from the link-
Haiti recovery begins with population's direct involvement
The cash-for-work programme launched Tuesday builds on UNDP’s Briquettes Project, a cash-for-work programme designed to combat climate change and reduce poverty.(Photo: UNDP)With the recovery process in earthquake-ravaged Haiti shifting gears from search and recovery to the immediate assistance needs of survivors, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is rolling out a cash-for-work programme that will employ nearly 400 Haitians, a move that will kick start economic activity while facilitating the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.
By the end of the week, the programme will expand to include 700 people working on rubble removal and the rehabilitation of essential social infrastructure, such as street repairs and electricity.“Time is of the essence in getting early recovery after a major disaster,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark upon her return from Haiti. “We need donor support to help get people back to work without delay. This will accelerate early recovery and prepare for the longer term rebuilding when it takes place.”Clark was referring to a UNDP flash appeal that is calling for US$35.6 million to help Haitians recover from the earthquake, part of a nearly US$600 million UN Flash Appeal launched on 15 January.
As the co-ordinator of the UN early recovery team, UNDP is also working with the Government of Haiti and other partners to assess damages and needs, devise plans for rebuilding, and begin these immediate responses. “In addition to the cash-for-work initiatives, a big priority for UNDP is to support the rebuilding of the Government’s capacity,” Clark said. “But the overall task of rebuilding a devastated capital – with a population of this size – is huge. It is neither a short nor a medium term task.”The first phase of the cash-for-work programme will focus on Carrefour-Feuilles, a neighborhood just south of Port-au-Prince.
The initiative will soon be rolled out in other earthquake-stricken locations, including Leogane and Jacmel. Once fully operational, the project will employ 220,000 people, indirectly benefitting around 1 million Haitians.“Haitians should be the main actors in the recovery process,” said Eric Overvest, the UNDP Country Director in Haiti. “By providing employment, we will certainly help trigger a more normal life where people have an independent income and where they can start buying food and other essential goods.”Perhaps of equal importance, the cash-for-jobs initiative will provide “self-sufficiency and dignity for the people that are affected,” Overvest added.
Past UNDP cash-for-work programmes in Haiti have laid the groundwork for this current initiative. After the 2008 hurricanes that killed 800 people and left 165,000 families homeless in Haiti, UNDP worked closely with the Haitian Government on reconstruction efforts, particularly focusing cash-for-work initiatives and watershed rehabilitation. The cash-for-work programme launched Tuesday builds on UNDP’s Briquettes Project, a cash-for-work programme designed to combat climate change and reduce poverty. To speed up the rubble clearing process, UNDP, as a first step, used the resources and staff previously employed by the Briquettes Project. But UNDP is currently in the process of selecting the additional 700 people to be employed by the end of this week.
Posted by Swerl at 3:53 PM
Saturday, January 23, 2010
On thinking about to talk to my kids about Haiti, I found this listing of some good books for kids. Please check out this link (teacher educator blog)
Posted by Swerl at 8:10 PM
Do you love Etsy? Here's a great way to buy or, if you're crafty, make handmade items while donating to Doctors Without Borders -
Posted by Swerl at 8:01 PM
Check this out-
Posted by Swerl at 7:49 PM
Check out the ultra cool Hexayurt -
Posted by Swerl at 7:37 PM
Friday, January 22, 2010
Posted by Swerl at 10:51 PM
Now that you've donated money, bought the songs from iTunes...
(thanks to retrokustomhonkytonk.com for the info!)
1. Bette Midler matching fan donations received at her show in Las Vegas -
2. Benefit for Haiti in Austin, TX on Sunday (Asleep at the Wheel, Shawn Colvin, Billy Joe Shaver and many more)
3. Donate used cell phones - benefits The Red Cross
4. eBay auction of original comic book art benefitting Haiti charities
5. Female comic and commercial artists auctioning original art for Haitian relief
(some on this link are NSFW)
6. Collectible vinyl of popular indie rock bands, auctioned off to benefit Doctors Without Borders
(Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Against Me!, All American Rejects and more)
7. Limited edition Corvette auction benefitting The American Red Cross Relief Fund
8. Clothes Off Our Backs Golden Globe clothing auction
Posted by Swerl at 10:07 PM
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Amy Fisher (you know, the Long Island Lolita) keepin' it classy, as usual.
I guess we should applaud her for her efforts to help Haiti?
Posted by Swerl at 12:16 PM
From the OPRAH website-
On January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake devastated the island nation of Haiti. Find out how you can help with earthquake relief.
Rihanna's performance of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" is available for charitable purchase through iTunes for a limited time. Proceeds will benefit Hope for Haiti Now.
Download Rihanna's song on iTunes
Maxwell's single "Fistful of Tears" is available for charitable purchase through iTunes for a limited time. Proceeds will benefit Hope for Haiti Now. Download Maxwell's song on iTunes
Tune in Friday, January 22, to watch George Clooney and MTV Networks' Hope for Haiti Now telethon. The commercial-free broadcast will begin at 8/7c and air on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, BET, the CW, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT. It will also air internationally. George Clooney will be hosting live from Los Angeles; Wyclef Jean will host from New York; and CNN's Anderson Cooper will broadcast from Haiti.
American Red CrossOprah's Angel Network is donating $1 million to the American Red Cross for Haitian Relief. If you'd like to help, text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Posted by Swerl at 11:51 AM
Dawn Davenport had a good podcast this week specifically about Haitian adoptions. Check it out on her site-
Posted by Swerl at 11:29 AM
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Uh, this is a slip up?
Again, people have lost their minds.
Posted by Swerl at 11:58 AM
A new low...are you kidding me? Have people lost their minds???!!!!
Posted by Swerl at 11:51 AM
Oh, man. How's Julie the Cruise Director going to explain this?
Maybe they should take the cruisers on a day excursion to help feed or bandage people?
At least Royal Carribean is donating some big bucks to help Haiti.
Posted by Swerl at 11:38 AM
Monday, January 18, 2010
Have you seen Alonzo Mourning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alonzo_Mourning) on tv this past week? He is such a cool guy...using his celebrity for good. He has been in Haiti all this past week, jumping in to help anyway he could. Check out his charity's site.
Posted by Swerl at 6:40 PM
Link to Jack & Jill politics (great site, check it out)
Blogposts by Anil Menon, MD is a clinical instructor at Stanford School of Medicine focused on surgery and emergency medicine. He’s part of a team sent to Haiti by Stanford.
Posted by Swerl at 6:31 PM
Blogs of Families /ministries/orphanages in Haiti. Unbelievable accounts of the suffering and destruction in Haiti. These people need donations.
Posted by Swerl at 6:04 PM
Following these amazing people on the ground in Haiti. Twitter links to the CNN reporters (and doctor, in the case of Sanjay Gupta).
Posted by Swerl at 5:50 PM
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Links to donate money for Haiti-
The American Red Cross
Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
Save The Children
Partners In Health
general unrestricted fund DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS
Donate to CARE
Posted by Swerl at 8:15 PM
Long time no SWERL. Hope you guys are doing well. Please drop us a line and let us know how you are doing!
Please sign this petition to help Haitian orphans already in process.
Also, please read this blog - a mom from So Cal who's adopting a son from Haiti. She is asking for people to write their Senators to help aid in the Haitian orphans in process to be granted "humanitarian parole" - to get them to the US and out of the earthquake
Posted by Swerl at 7:56 PM
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
A NEW FLOWER BLOOMS was kind enough to give me a "THINKING BLOGGER AWARD". Besides the right to show off the graphic, the best benefit is the opportunity to nominate five other deserving bloggers.
So, here's my list:
BRONZE TRINITY: BronzeTrinity is an African-Canadian ray of sunlight. She attacks controversial issues with vigor, with innovation and with a true positive spirit. With a sense of vision, she genuinely believes in an empowered, informed grassroots movement for all kinds of social change. Most importantly, her positivity is infectious -- she'll get you to believe, too.
Bronzetrinity maintains the Afrospear Online Paper.
AfroSpear: A Think Tank For People of African Descent.
They describe what they're about better than I could: The origins of “AfroSpear” started from a discussion a group... [I]t developed into an idea to create a diasporic-wide think tank type blog.
We don’t always agree, but what we have in common is our love for our community and a commitment to the progress of those of African descent, both near and far. We are made up from a variety of voices with a variety of perspectives. Lubangakene, Sylvia and Field Negro reside in the United States. Asabagna is of Caribbean heritage residing in Canada. Aulelia is a Tanzanian woman living in France.
Adjunct to this blog is the "Afrospear Nation", the widest blogroll of black bloggers I've come across. Surf lots, but remember to bring your manners.
African American Political Pundit describes himself as, "African American Political Pundit is a former Democrat, turned Republican, now an Independent; who is politically biased, pretending to be neutral." A fiercely original thinker, his blog is the kind of intellectually honest blog that can be provocative for white readers... but then, he isn't blogging for white readers. Also, as most of the Afrospear Nation is blatantly leftist, for the Elephants in the crowd, you can find some conservative black bloggers on his blogroll.
Jack and Jill Politics, mentioned here before, is an incisive, left-leaning political blog from a self-described "Black Bourgeoisie perspective". What I like is the intellectual honesty and the fact that the "Black" perspective trumps the political ideology (a recent post about Edwards "code talking" is a solid example of this.
thefreeslave is one of the more challenging blogs on this list for a white audience, but, much like birth mom or adult adoptee blogs for adoptive parents, a blog like this that gives so much deep thought to racism, to me, is crucial. thefreeslave sees White European culture as a hypocritical, imperialistic society, and those values define white action. This is not the starting point of most white people on America... the "land of the free" and all that. If you've never framed the racism question in that way, thefreeslave will provoke thought and introspection.
So, there's my list. There are a host of other equally valuable black bloggers, representing a range of black thought. In general, I feel it's VITALLY important to understand issues within the black community. I have approached commenting with a tremendous amount of humility, thankful for their perspective and understanding that it's not any of their jobs to educate me, but my job to educate myself.
Monday, June 4, 2007
To be plain, I wish to get quit of Negroes...
I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in endowments both of body and mind.
I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race...
George Washington (in a 1778 letter to his plantation manger)
Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)
Abraham Lincoln (1858)!!
These bon mots and more are revealed in Jabari Asim's new(ish) book, THE N WORD: WHO CAN SAY IT, WHO SHOULDN'T AND WHY. What Asim (syndicated columnist and deputy editor of the WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD) has accomplished in this slender, powerful book, is a concise history of African-Americans... as told BY whites TO other whites.
Through the lens of the "N" word, from first recorded usage through today, Asim makes the persuasive case that whites could not deal with the dichotomy of being good, God-fearing men of noble purpose AND slave owners. Instead of abolishing slavery at the birth of the nation, our glorious founding fathers created a myth around those they had brutally imported from Africa to MORALLY justify the Africans' enslavement. To do this, they created the "N-----", and bent reality to fit their story. It helped the whites sleep at night AND get their cotton picked. Africans were not the same race as whites. They were animalistic in their joys, passions and fears. Because their pleasure was only base sexual gratification and their pain was "transitory", there was no moral imperative to keep families intact, honor their history, allow them to keep their names or grant dignity to them in any way. Because they were "fearful" of freedom, and too stupid to be of use, slavery was, in fact, a COMPASSIONATE alternative to freedom.
Because they were not human, it didn't matter if white men slept with black woman, but it was an affront for any lust-crazed Negro to sleep with a white woman.
Because they were simpleminded, they loved to dance and sing merrily while working 18 hour days.
But, because they were animalistic, they could turn mean and evil and needed to be put down.
W.E.B. Du Bois cleverly called this "racial folklore", and insisted that it's presence made the "color line", as he called it, transcend simple economic exploitation. For example, while other ethnic minorities have been or are being exploited for their labor, it is unique to the black experience to have an identity manufactured by the dominant white society and then brutally and systemically imposed -- even imprinted -- onto them, the "...belief that somewhere between men and cattle, God created a tertium quid, and called it a Negro -- a clownish, simple creature, at times even lovable within its limitations."
In the subsequent pages, Asim traces the implementation of this "racial folklore" through American history, proving his point with devastating detail. Almost like a prosecutor, even if you have known all the facts, seeing them all pulled together in such a cogent way makes it clear to ANYONE that whites have tried to rewrite the reality of black America with the merciless, pernicious efficiency of Orwellian scope. "2+2=5". Winston Smith needed not just repeat it, but BELIEVE it. Internalize it.
Slaves not willing to work in subhuman conditions? They're lazy!
Slaves pretending to like whitefolk to get by? They're jolly darkies!
Slaves try to run away because they don't like being slaves? They're aggressive, violent, predatory animals out to rape white women and kill white men!
Again, a quote by W.E.B. Du Bois sums it up perfectly. "Everything Negroes did was wrong. If they fought for freedom, they were beasts; if they did not fight, they were born slaves. If they cowered on the plantation, they loved slavery; if they ran away, they were loafers. If they sang, they were silly, if they scowled, they were impudent... And they were funny, funny -- ridiculous baboons, aping men!"
Asim walks us through this twisted history, showing how this "folklore" became fact, through pseudo-science (initiated by Jefferson, himself!), white mistrelry, "plantation" literature, up through Michael Richards' onstage tirade.
What is so pernicious about the "n-----ization" of America is the way it self-perpetuates, creating false history, false "experts" and false "eyewitnesses", thus creating an inauthentic basis for the black experience. Asim deals with this explicitly in a chapter about the painful legacy of UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. The book (which I have never read), is, in fact, a Christ allegory, written by an ardent, Christian abolitionist. How, then, did it come to be synonymous, in the contemporary lexicon, with "sellout"? Asim explains that Harriet Beecher Stowe, having little first-hand experience with black people, used many of the racist conventions of (white-authored) "plantation literature", in their portrayal of black speech and attitudes. With a foundation of inauthentic "research", even the sympathetic portrayal of blacks in the novel served to perpetuate negative and harmful stereotypes.
Adding insult to injury, the rights to dramatize the book fell away from Stowe's control, allowing the masses to see play versions of the book, in which the character of Tom was altered from a robust young man to a dodering, simpering old man, sometimes nominally in keeping with Stowe's rhetorical point, but often, perverted to serve explicitly racist motives.
The racist stereotypes are even internalized by blacks. After generations of blacks being forcably corralled into a small sphere of possibility, after generations being told that they are base and less than human, or, certainly, less than whites, many blacks begin to live out the very grotesque "fables" of black life, as concocted by whites. From this, stems the smiling, dancing, "coon", a role still required of many African Americans on sit-coms and lame comedies, and the "bad N-----", the provocative, raping, stealing, killing machine that eventually became the "thug" or "gangsta", celebrated in film, in rap music and on the streets of America.
The most horrendous problem is the circle of unbroken white power, modern white politicians and authority figures using the self-comforting lies of their ancestors about the nature of the black race to justify the curtailment of blacks' rights. By using this "folklore" to decide that "urban blight" is a foregone conclusion, based on the nature of the black community, contemporary politicians are able to perpetuate their ancestors' racist policies, all while avoiding admitting that racist hiring practices, racist college admission policies, failing public schools and difficulty accessing financial services are NOT the result of failures within the black community, but the result of centuries-old racist, self-serving beliefs. Believing in these "truths" also allows contemporary whites to view any attempt to correct historical injustices to be "reverse" racism.
In the concluding chapters, Asim describes a black community caught between a desire to "own" the "n" word and those who wish to bury the "n" word, along with all of attendant white lies about the limits of black genius. Asim points out how, by perpetuating the use of the word, blacks may be reinforcing this "folklore" of black inferiority... to young blacks and, worse, to a new generation of whites, such as Quentin Tarantino, all of whom feel the liberty to play in the "n-----" sandbox". Using examples such as "Archie Bunker" and Dave Chappelle, he points out the limit of even intentional satire -- that those most in need of understanding the joke may be those most likely to dangerously misinterpret it. (In fact, on THE ACTOR'S STUDIO, Chappelle, himself, admitted that seeing too many white kids use his show as permission to use the "n" word was part of the reason he so publicly pulled the plug on production. This isn't mentioned in the book, but lends tremendous credibility to Asim's point.)
Asim feels that artists and historians should have permission to work within the poisonous world the "n" word created, but that for all others, the use and it's legacy should be ended, in favor of a more uplifting vision for black (and white) America, saying:
When Lemuel Haynes composed LIBERTY FURTHER EXTENDED in 1776, he wrote: 'I think it not hyperbolical to affirm, that even an African, has Equally as good a right to his Liberty in common with Englishmen.' He made no mention of "n-----s." When David Walker published his remarkable APPEAL in 1829, he addressed it to 'my dearly beloved Brethren and Fellow Citizens.' He did not mention "n-----s." When W.E.B. Du Bois published his landmark collection of essays in 1903, he called it THE SOUL OF BLACK FOLK -- not "n-----s." When Marcus Garvey formed his organization in 1916, he called it the Universal Negro Improvement Association. He made no mention of "n-----s." In his speech at the March on Washington in 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "America has given the Negro people a bad check"; he did not say America has given "n-----s" a bad check. A year later, when Malcolm X began his "Ballot or the Bullet" speech with a greeting to "Brothers and Sisters and Friends", not "n-----s" and friends. In her 1971 lecture at Tougaloo College, Fannie Lou Hamer urged, "Stand up, black men, this nation needs you." She did not say "Stand up, n-----s."
"Africans." "Negroes." "Black men." "Brothers." "Sisters." "Fellow Citizens." Each falls off the tongue with ease. None is hard to pronounce.
I for one can still visualize the "n-----," and perhaps because I'm a man, I usually see him as a man, odious and shiftless, violent and stupid, contemptuous of black women and obsessed with white ones -- a self-hating, devilish phantom whose footsteps can still be heard as we tread through the tentative early years of the twenty-first century... As long as we (meaning African-Americans) embrace the derogatory language that has long accompanies and abetted our systemic dehumanization, we shackle ourselves to those corrupt white delusions -- and their attendant false story of our struggle in the United States. Throwing off those shackles would at least free us to stake acclaim to an independent imagination.... I dream of a world where "n-----" no longer roams, confined instead to the fetid white fantasy land where he was born.
THE N WORD is ESSENTIAL to any parent adopting transracially. It provides the Rosetta Stone for the iconography of African-Americans in the mainstream (white) culture. Better than any other book I've read, explains WHY racism exists and HOW racism came to take the form it did. Are there better histories of African-Americans? Undoubtedly. Better books about the effects of racism? Sure. But no other book I've found articulates the psychosis of racism and it's origins as completely and powerfully as this one. This book explains, for example, that weird opinions about blacks my grandmother held actually date back to Jefferson, directly.
Through this book, a white parent is empowered to deconstruct contemporary examples of the "n-----ization" of black culture and politics -- by white and blacks (or, more specifically, by blacks serving the vision of -- and financially renumerated by -- whites). When a white college frat dons blackface, pull this book off the shelf and explain the history of minstrelry. When blacks are viewed as oversexualized -- either as predatory men or eager, available women, this book will be invaluable in explaining the root causes of that portrayal. Conversely, when blacks are the sexless facilitators of white nobility, allowing the white hero to save the day and get the girl, that, too can be explained through the prism conveyed in this book.
One last use for this book I wish to convey. This book could even lift the veil from the eyes of white racists, explaining that they have bought into a wholly fictional worldview. This is a personal issue for many, as I know a handful of you have family members who disapprove of your adoption. This book may help them understand their own unexamined racism and, hopefully, see their grandchild (for example) as the possessor of no less genius than any white grandchild.
Posted by Swerl at 8:59 AM
Sunday, June 3, 2007
In Ethiopia, Open Doors for Foreign Adoptions
By JANE GROSS and WILL CONNORS
Published: June 4, 2007
ST. PAUL — Ethiopia was not on Mark and Vera Westrum-Ostrom’s list when they first visited Children’s Home Society & Family Services here to explore an international adoption.
From Ethiopia to Minnesota Ukraine was first, because of their family heritage, until the couple discovered that the adoption system there was chaotic, with inaccurate information about orphans’ health and availability.
Vietnam was second, after they saw videos of well-run orphanages. But the wait would be at least a year and a half.
Then they learned about Ethiopia’s model centers for orphans, run by American agencies, with an efficient adoption system that made it possible for them to file paperwork on Labor Day and claim 2-year-old Tariku, a boy with almond eyes and a halo of ringlets, at Christmas.
From Addis Ababa, the capital city, they traveled to the countryside to meet the boy’s birth mother, an opportunity rare in international adoption. And at roughly $20,000, the process was affordable compared with other foreign adoptions, and free of the bribes that are common in some countries.
It is no wonder, given these advantages, that Ethiopia, a country more often associated by Americans with drought, famine and conflict, has become a hot spot for international adoption. Even before the actress Angelina Jolie put adoption in Ethiopia on the cover of People magazine in 2005, the number of adoptions there by Americans was growing. The total is still small — 732 children in 2006, out of a total of 20,632 foreign adoptions, but it is a steep increase, up from 82 children adopted in 1997.
Ethiopia now ranks 5th among countries for adoption by Americans, up from 16th in 2000. In the same period, the number of American agencies licensed to operate there has grown from one to 22.
The increasing interest in Ethiopia comes at a time when the leading countries for international adoption, China, Guatemala and Russia are, respectively, tightening eligibility requirements, under scrutiny for adoption corruption and closing borders to American agencies.
Ethiopia’s sudden popularity also comes with risks, say government officials there and in America.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to handle it,” said Haddush Halefom, an official at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which oversees adoption. “We don’t have the capacity to handle all these new agencies, and we have to monitor the quality, not just the quantity.”
Capping the number of agencies is one solution. And that is what some international adoption officials in the United States are now urging the Ethiopian government to do.
Of concern is the ability of agencies to handle the rising demand, which may have contributed to a recent mix-up involving two families sent home with the wrong children by Christian World Adoption, an established agency, although relatively new to Ethiopia. That case prompted inquiries by the State Department and the nonprofit Joint Council on International Children’s Services in Virginia, a child welfare and advocacy organization, and the adoption agency itself, said Thomas DiFilipo, president of the joint council.
Officials at Christian World Adoption did not reply to e-mail messages or telephone calls. But Mr. DiFilipo said the agency was reviewing its procedures and has hired immigration lawyers to resolve the mix-up.
The consensus, Mr. DiFilipo said, is that the mix-up was “an honest mistake.” But, he added, “This could be the byproduct of a staff handling 35 placements when they’re used to handling 20.”
Children’s Home Society & Family Services, founded in 1889, began working in Ethiopia in 2004. The agency completed about 300 adoptions in its first three years in Ethiopia, and expects to complete that many in 2007 alone. Along with Wide Horizons For Children in Waltham, Mass., the society is credited with helping Ethiopia create a model for international adoption.
Ethiopia, with a population of 76 million, has an estimated 5 million children who have lost one or both parents, according to aid organizations. Many African nations have outlawed or impeded the adoption of their children by foreigners. Ethiopia has welcomed American and European families who are willing to provide homes for children who have lost both parents to AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis or starvation, or who come from families too destitute to feed and clothe them. (The adoption process includes routine screening for HIV infection.)
Two elements distinguish Ethiopia’s adoption system, according to dozens of experts. One is the existence of transitional homes for orphans, in the countryside and in the capital, with services and staffing that are rare in the developing world — paid for by American agencies.
Not long ago, Sandra Iverson, a nurse practitioner from the University of Minnesota’s international adoption health clinic, the first of its kind in the United States, was invited to visit the Children’s Home Society’s Ethiopian centers.
She arrived with a neonatal otoscope, to diagnose ear infections; the Red Book, the bible of pediatrics; and scarce antibiotics. She left confident that Ethiopia’s orphans enjoyed unusual care.
“You don’t hear crying babies,” Ms. Iverson said. “They are picked up immediately.”
The other signature of the Ethiopian system is that adopting families are encouraged to meet birth families and visit the villages where the children were raised, a cutting-edge practice in adoptions. Some agencies provide DVDs or photographs that document the children’s past.
Russ and Ann Couwenhoven, in Ham Lake, Minn., recently showed one such video to 6-year-old Tariku, one of three children they have adopted from Ethiopia. The boy seemed proud of the beautifully painted house he had lived in, they said, and the uncle who had sheltered him for as long as he could.
Linda Zwicky brought 2-year-old Amale home five days before the Memorial Day weekend, with a letter from the child’s grandmother that described holding the motherless infant at her breast even though she had no milk. Sometimes such vividness is too much. Melanie Danke and her husband, of Minneapolis, adopted 6-year-old twins and a 3-year-old, all siblings. One of the twins “would work herself up until she was inconsolable” looking at photos of the aunt and grandmother who raised her, Ms. Danke said. So she has tucked the photos away for now.
David Pilgrim, vice president of adoption services at the Children’s Home Society, said the agency spends $2 million a year on its Ethiopian facilities.
At the main transitional home, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, a staff of 170 care for about 120 children, ensuring that the children have consistent contact with adults, which experts say mitigates the most damaging psychological effects of institutionalization.
During a reporter’s recent visit, the two terra-cotta buildings where the children live, usually for no more than a few months, were spotless, with staff members scurrying to pick up toys and food spills as they hit the floor.
The transitional home has a primary school, open also to local students, where the children begin learning English. There is a medical clinic with two full-time doctors and 10 nurses. Down the road is a guest house for adoptive parents, who also can stay in a sleek hotel.
The children also enjoy the services of a “laugh therapist,” Belachu Girma.
“These kids come here and are very depressed at first, all with their heads down and not talking,” Mr. Girma said. “I come in and try to help them relax.”
There was laughter also at the nearby guest house, more of the nervous kind, as American parents waited to take their children back to St. Paul from the Horn of Africa.
Araminta and Jason Montague, from Atlanta, who picked up 17-month-old Natan last week, compared their experience in Ethiopia to an earlier adoption of a girl from China (where Americans adopted 6,493 children in 2006).
“Our daughter was in an orphanage with about 300 children and she was very dehydrated,” Ms. Montague said. “We were never told her origins. Her sheet just said ‘Status: Abandoned.’ ”
Some parents anguished, as did Karla Suomala of Decorah, Iowa, when she arrived in Addis Ababa to adopt 5-year-old Dawit and his 21-month-old sister Meheret.
“It’s hard to know what the right thing is to do,” Ms. Suomala said. “Should we just give all the money we’re spending on this to the children’s mother?” Ms. Suomala and her husband, David Vasquez, had already spent time with her.
“It was obvious the birth mother loved her children,” Mr. Vasquez said. “She said to us, ‘Thank you for sharing my burden.’ ”
Alessandro Conticini, the head of child protection at Unicef Ethiopia, is one of many who believe that international adoption is a good thing but must be “part of a larger strategy” that focuses on keeping children in their families or communities, with the help of humanitarian organizations.
Indeed, the Ethiopian government has taken the unusual step of requiring foreign agencies to provide social services and document the results. As a result, agencies like Children’s Home Society and Wide Horizons have built schools and medical facilities — including one for HIV-infected children.
But Mr. Conticini, of Unicef, worries about the mushrooming number of private adoption companies that “are not properly regulated by the government” because two different ministries are involved and working at cross purposes.
At the State Department, visa applications for children adopted from Ethiopia are getting extra attention, said Catherine M. Barry, deputy assistant secretary for overseas citizens services. “We will very quickly see if patterns are emerging,” she said, “and we will intervene in a timely fashion with anyone doing less than quality work.”
While the governments collaborate to protect a delicate adoption system from the perils of growth, adoptive families arrive each week in Addis Ababa to ease their children into new lives.
Last week, these included Mr. Vasquez and Ms. Suomala. While she had no trouble escorting Meheret from the orphanage, Dawit refused to budge, so Mr. Vasquez carried him toward the gate.
There, the child grabbed the bars and would not let go. Mr. Vasquez considered prying his hands loose and thought better of it. Instead he told Dawit that it was O.K. to cry.
Jane Gross reported from St. Paul, and Will Connors from Addis Ababa.
Posted by Swerl at 8:20 PM
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Let's do our part to make sure the President gets the money he's asking for!
President Bush Discusses United States International Development Agenda
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
10:07 A.M. EDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you, George, for that kind introduction. Thanks to the United States Global Leadership Council for hosting us this morning. Next week, leaders from around the world will gather in Germany to advance goals shared by people of every nation: economic empowerment, education, and good health.
President George W. Bush delivers remarks on the United States International Development Agenda Thursday, May 31, 2007, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Center in Washington, D.C. "We're blessed to live in the world's most prosperous nation," said the President. "And I believe we have a special responsibility to help those who are not as blessed. It is the call to share our prosperity with others, and to reach out to brothers and sisters in need." White House photo by Shealah Craighead The eagerness of children to learn, the desire of individuals to provide for themselves and their families, and the longing of mothers to see their babies grow up healthy are universal. Yet poverty, a lack of education, and disease have kept millions from around the world from fulfilling these fundamental desires. Today the governments and citizens of many countries are working to overcome these crises. And the American people are proud to stand with them.
Through our government, the American people have given billions of dollars to lift the burdens of crushing debt, illiteracy, malaria and HIV/AIDS. At the end of June, I'll travel to the African nations of Senegal, Mozambique, Zambia and Mali to see the results -- some of these results firsthand. I'll visit homes protected by mosquito sprays, and go to clinics supported by the President's Malaria Initiative. There, volunteers distribute mosquito nets so that mothers can sleep knowing that their babies are safe.
I'll visit a pediatric hospital supported by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, where doctors and nurses care for thousands of HIV-positive babies. I'll see new wells installed by the Play Pumps Alliance, which will provide as many as 10 million Africans with clean water. And I'll visit schools supported by our government's African Education Initiative. By supplying textbooks and training hundreds of thousands of teachers, the African Education Initiative gives African children hope for security, prosperity and good health.
These are just some of the things our government is doing around the world that Americans should be proud of. Through our development initiatives, we're helping to build free economies, teach children how to read, and save the lives of millions of men and women -- women like Kunene Tantoh. I first met Kunene two years ago when I visited a Mothers to Mothers center in South Africa. At Mothers centers, which receive PEPFAR seed money, HIV-infected women receive information and support to keep their unborn babies HIV free. When Kunene first arrived at the Mothers clinic, she had just discovered she was pregnant -- and HIV positive. A normal CD4 count, which measures a person's immune cells, is between 500 and 1,500. Kunene's count was 2. It seemed unlikely that she would survive.
President George W. Bush addresses the United States Global Leadership Campaign Thursday, May 31, 2007, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Center in Washington, D.C. "This is a fine organization and it's an important organization," said President Bush. "It's rallying businesses and non-governmental organizations and faith-based and community and civic organizations across our country to advance a noble cause, ensuring that the United States leads the world in spreading hope and opportunity." White House photo by Chris Greenberg But with the treatment Kunene received at the Mothers clinic, she did survive, and delivered a beautiful boy named Baron. He's HIV free. Kunene became a mentor to other mothers, and now she serves as a site coordinator at the largest Mothers facility. Today she and Baron stand as a symbol of hope to everyone living positively with HIV. Kunene and Baron. (Applause.) Kunene also represents the many lives that have been touched and saved by the compassion of the American people.
Now I'm proud to introduce a man of extraordinary compassion. Ladies and gentlemen, my husband, President George W. Bush. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Laura, thanks for that short introduction. (Laughter.) I'm proud to be introduced by my wife. I love her dearly. She's a great First Lady. (Applause.)
And I appreciate the chance to address the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign. This is a fine organization and it's an important organization. It's rallying businesses and non-governmental organizations and faith-based and community and civic organizations across our country to advance a noble cause, ensuring that the United States leads the world in spreading hope and opportunity. It's a big deal, and I appreciate your participation.
It's a big deal because your efforts are needed. Millions suffer from hunger and poverty and disease in this world of ours. Many nations lack the capacity to meet the overwhelming needs of their people. Alleviating this suffering requires bold action from America. It requires America's leadership and requires the action of developed nations, as well.
That's the message I'm going to take with me to Europe next week, when Laura and I go to the G8. At that meeting I will discuss our common responsibility to help struggling nations grow strong and improve the lives of their citizens. And today I'm going to describe some of the initiatives that I will be discussing with world leaders next week to help developing nations build a better future for their people.
Before I do so, I want to thank George Ingram, the President of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign. I thank the members of my Cabinet who share the same passion I do for helping those less fortunate around the world -- that would include Carlos Gutierrez, Department of Commerce; Secretary Mike Leavitt, Department of Health and Human Services; Secretary Sam Bodman at the Department of Energy; Administrator Steve Johnson of the EPA. Thank you all for coming. Proud to be serving with you.
Mrs. Laura Bush delivers remarks about the United States International Development Agenda Thursday, May 31, 2007, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Center in Washington, D.C. "The eagerness of children to learn, the desire of individuals to provide for themselves and their families, and the longing of mothers to see their babies grow up healthy are universal," said Mrs. Bush. White House photo by Chris Greenberg I am glad that the Acting Director of the U.S. Foreign Assistance and Acting Administrator of USAID is here, Henrietta Fore. Thanks for coming. I appreciate John Danilovich, who is the head of the Millennium Challenge Corporation; Rob Mosbacher, the head of OPIC. I appreciate other members of my administration who joined us today.
I thank the members of the Diplomatic Corps who are here today. I thank the members of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign.
We are a compassionate nation. When Americans see suffering and know that our country can help stop it, they expect our government to respond. I believe in the timeless truth, and so do a lot of other Americans, to whom much is given, much is required. We're blessed to live in this country. We're blessed to live in the world's most prosperous nation. And I believe we have a special responsibility to help those who are not as blessed. It is the call to share our prosperity with others, and to reach out to brothers and sisters in need.
We help the least fortunate across the world because our conscience demands it. We also recognize that helping struggling nations succeed is in our interest. When America helps lift societies out of poverty we create new markets for goods and services, and new jobs for American workers. Prosperity abroad can be translated to jobs here at home. It's in our interest that we help improve the economies of nations around the world.
When America helps reduce chaos and suffering, we make this country safer, because prosperous nations are less likely to feed resentment and breed violence and export terror. Helping poor nations find the path to success benefits this economy and our security, and it makes us a better country. It helps lift our soul and renews our spirit.
So America is pursuing a clear strategy to bring progress and prosperity to struggling nations all across the world. We're working to increase access to trade and relieve the burden of debt. We're increasing our assistance to the world's poorest countries and using this aid to encourage reform, and strengthen education, and fight the scourge of disease. We'll work with developing nations to find ways to address their energy needs and the challenge of global climate change.
Bringing progress and prosperity to struggling nations requires opening new opportunities for trade. Trade is the best way to help poor countries develop their economies and improve the lives of their people. When I took office, America had free trade agreements with three countries. Today we have free trade agreements in force with 14 countries, most of which are in the developing world. Three weeks ago, my administration and Congress agreed on a new trade policy that will be applied to free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea. And I look forward to working with Congress to get all these trade bills passed. These bills are good for our economy.
But it's important for members of Congress and the people of this country to understand free trade is the best way to lift people out of poverty. And so the United States also seeks to open markets to the Doha round of trade negotiations. Doha represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help millions in the developing world rise from poverty and despair. If you're interested in helping the poor people, you ought to be for trade and opening up markets for their goods and services. And the Doha round gives us an opportunity to do just that.
We put forward bold proposals to help conclude a successful Doha round. And at the G8 summit next week, I'm going to urge other nations to do the same. A successful Doha round will benefit all our countries and it's going to transform the world.
I know that trade can transform lives, I've seen it firsthand. Laura and I were recently in Guatemala. We went to a small village and saw what can happen when markets are open for local entrepreneurs. In this case, we met some farmers who for years had struggled to survive, worked hard just to put food on the table for their families by growing corn and beans. That's all they were able to do. It's a hard way to make a living, growing corn and beans. When we negotiated the trade agreement called the CAFTA DR, which opened up new markets for Guatemalan farmers, the entrepreneurial spirit came forth. There are entrepreneurs all over the world, if just given a chance, they can succeed.
Today, the farmers in that village are growing high-value crops, because they have new markets in which to sell their product. The business we met -- the entrepreneur we met now employs a thousand people. Trade will improve lives a lot faster than government aid can. It's in our interest that we open up markets, for our products, and for the products of others. People just want to be given a chance. And the United States will take the lead in making sure those markets are open for people to be able to realize a better life.
Building progress and prosperity to struggling nations requires lifting the burden of debt from the poorest countries. That makes sense. It doesn't take a Ph.D. in economics to figure out, if you're paying a lot of money on interest, you're not having enough money to support your own people. In the past, many poor nations borrowed money, and they couldn't repay the debt. And their interest payments were huge. And, therefore, they didn't have the opportunity to invest in education and health care. So the administration, my administration worked with G8 nations to ease the debt burden. We're not the first administration to figure this out. My predecessor did the same thing, because it's the right policy for the United States of America.
Two years ago at Gleneagles, the G8 nations agreed to support a multilateral debt relief agreement that freed poor countries of up to $60 billion in debt. This year, we built on that progress, when the Inter-American Development Bank approved another debt relief initiative for some of the poorest nations in our neighborhood, in our own hemisphere. This initiative will cancel $3.4 billion owed by five countries: Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua. And that represents more than 12 percent of their combined GDP, an average of nearly $110 for every man, woman, and child in these countries. And this money is now free to help these nations invest in improving their lives of citizens. It makes sense to forgive debt. If you're interested in helping the poor, it makes sense for the developed world to forgive the debt. And that's what the United States will continue to do.
Bringing progress and prosperity to struggling nations requires increased American assistance to countries most in need. Since I took office, we have more than doubled U.S. development spending across the world -- from about $10 billion in 2000, to $23 billion in 2006. It's the largest increase in development assistance since the Marshall Plan.
The first four years of my administration, we doubled our assistance to Africa. At the G8 summit in 2005, I promised our assistance to Africa would double once again by 2010. I made a promise to the people. People expect us to deliver on that promise, and I expect the Congress to help. We must not shortchange these efforts. Congress needs to approve my full funding request for development assistance this year. We need to get the job done. (Applause.)
We're focusing increased American assistance for developing nations on three key goals -- in other words, we have some goals, we're not just going to spend money. We have a reason to spend the money and we expect there to be results when we spend that money -- so do the taxpayers of this country. It's one thing to be compassionate, it's another thing to be accountable for the money.
First, we're going to use our aid to help developing countries build democratic and accountable institutions and strengthen their civil societies. To succeed in the global economy, nations need fair and transparent legal systems; need free markets that unleash the creativity of their citizens; need banking systems that serve people at all income levels; and a business climate that welcomes foreign investment and supports local entrepreneurs.
The United States is helping developing nations build these and other free institutions through what we call the Millennium Challenge Account. Under this program, America makes a compact with developing nations. We give aid, and in return they agree to implement democratic reforms, to fight corruption, to invest in their people -- particularly in health and education -- and to promote economic freedom. Seems like a fair deal, doesn't it -- taxpayers' money from the United States in return for the habits and procedures necessary for a solid society to develop. We don't want to give aid to a country where the leaders steal the money. We expect there to be accountability for U.S. money and that's the principle behind the Millennium Challenge Account. Eleven nations have compacts in place worth nearly $3 billion. And now 14 additional nations are eligible to negotiate compacts with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, headed by Ambassador Danilovich.
Let me give you an example of how this program can make a difference. In Madagascar the leaders of this island nation set a goal in their compact to improve agricultural production. In other words, we work with a nation, they have set the goal; we support their goal. They want their farmers to be able to compete in the global marketplace. We agreed to help by investing in agricultural business centers that work with local farmers. In one village, this initiative helped a group of farmers who were surviving by collecting firewood and producing charcoal. That's how these folks were trying to get ahead. They'd find firewood and make charcoal out of it, and hope they could find a market. It's a tough way to make a living in a modern world.
The business center that the compact established helped the farmers work together to identify a new product, a natural oil used in skin care products. I probably could use some of that myself. (Laughter.) The center helped these farmers develop -- helped them to develop a business plan. They acquired financing to set up a distilling plant. They built relationships with buyers in their nation's capital.
Before America and Madagascar signed our compact, a typical farmer in this village could earn about $5 a week selling charcoal. After two months of bringing the new product to the market, the livelihood of these farmers increased. One farmer was able to raise his income enough to save about $500, money he plans to use for a child's education.
We're going to help encourage African entrepreneurs in other ways, as well. Today, I'm announcing a new project called Africa Financial Sector Initiative. Through this initiative, we'll provide technical assistance to help African nations strengthen their financial markets. The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corps, OPIC, headed by Rob Mosbacher, will work with the financial community to create several new private equity funds that will mobilize up to a billion dollars of additional private investment in Africa.
If you're interested in job creation, there's got to be capital available. It's in our interest that we help provide capital to African entrepreneurs. We want them to find access to capital, and we want them to have access to markets because we want to improve their lives. And when people's lives in countries on the continent of Africa improve, it helps the United States of America. It's what our taxpayers have got to understand. It's in our interest. (Applause.)
All of this will go for naught if people don't have a good education. So the second way we're using our aid is to improve education so that the young in the developing world have the tools they need to realize their God-given potential. Many parents across the world either have no access to education for their children, or simply cannot afford it. It's a fact of life, something the world needs to deal with, particularly those of us who have got some money.
In many nations, girls have even less educational opportunity. It robs them of a chance to satisfy their ambitions or to make use of their talents and skills, and it's really sad, when you think about it. It really is. The question is, does the United States care? Should we do something about it? And the answer is, absolutely. If boys and girls in Africa and other developing nations don't learn how to read, write, and add and subtract, this world is just going to move on without them. And all the aid efforts we'll be trying will go to naught, in my judgment.
And so in 2002, I launched the African Education Initiative to help address the great need. Through this initiative, we have provided about $300 million to expand educational opportunities throughout the continent, and we're going to provide another $300 million by 2010. We will have doubled our commitment. (Applause.)
One young woman who has benefited from this program is a woman named Evelyn Nkadori, from the Masai people of the grasslands of Kenya. In her rural community, girls are rarely offered an education -- just never given a chance. They're expected to care for younger children until they're married themselves at an early age. That was the custom. She had a different vision for her future, and our initiative helped her realize it. Our program helped her complete high school, and now she's attending Chicago State University on a scholarship. She's one of the first -- she is one of the first women from her village ever to receive a college education. She hopes to attend medical school, and then go home and help others.
Evelyn, I appreciate you being here today. I'm honored by your presence. Thank you for your courage. We can't make you want to succeed, but we can help you succeed. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)
And we need to do more, for not only children on the continent of Africa, but poor children throughout the world. And so I'm calling on Congress to fund $525 million over the next five years to make our educational initiatives even more robust. And the goal is to provide basic education for 4 million additional children on the continent of Africa and across the globe.
We've got another interesting idea, and that is to establish new Communities of Opportunity centers in poor nations to provide skills and language training for 100,000 at-risk youth; giving these young people in these countries the skills they need to succeed, we're going to give them keys to a brighter future.
The third way we're using our aid is to fight the scourge of disease in Africa and other parts of the developing world. Epidemics like HIV/AIDS and malaria destroy lives and they decimate families. They also impose a crippling economic burden on societies where so many are struggling to lift their families out of poverty. We've taken action to fight these diseases. We've done so because it's in our nation's interest to do so.
In 2003, my administration launched a new initiative to combat HIV/AIDS -- the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. We pledged $15 billion over five years for AIDS prevention and treatment and care programs in many of the poorest nations on Earth. This level of support was unprecedented. I'm proud to report, on behalf of our citizens, that it remains the largest commitment by any nation ever to combat a single disease. (Applause.)
And the program is working. Three years ago, about 50,000 people on the continent of Africa were receiving antiretroviral drugs for help. Today, over 1.1 million people are receiving lifesaving drugs. And this is a good start. It's a necessary start, and it's a promising start; but we need to do more. So yesterday in the Rose Garden, Kunene and Baron and the good Doc -- and I don't know where the Bishop is -- (laughter) -- anyway, they were standing with me up there when I called on Congress to greatly expand our efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS, by doubling our initial commitment, by dedicating an additional $30 billion to this struggle over the next five years in the year 2009. (Applause.)
And here's the goal: support treatment for nearly 2.5 million people, to prevent more than 12 million new infections, and to provide compassionate care for 12 million people, including 5 million more orphans and vulnerable children. We set the goal for the past initiative, and we met it. And we're going to set the goal for this one, and we're going to meet it. But Congress needs to get that money as quickly as possible so it makes it easier to meet the goal. I proposed this unprecedented investment for a reason -- it's in the world's interest and our nation's interest to save lives. And that's exactly what this program is doing.
We saved a life of a fellow named Robert Ongole. He's with us today. John Robert Ongole -- not yet, not yet, John Robert. (Laughter.) I'm going to make it a little more dramatic than that. (Laughter.) You probably didn't know who I was talking about when is skipped the "John." (Laughter.)
John Robert has a family of two children; he has HIV/AIDS. This disease ravaged his body. His weight dropped to 99 pounds. He developed tuberculosis and other health problems. He and his family felt certain that he would die. Then John Robert began receiving antiretroviral treatment through PEPFAR in Uganda. The treatment restored his strength. He returned to the classroom and he continued being a dad.
John Robert is earning his bachelor's degree in education. He's volunteering to help other people. The American people need to hear what he had to say: "When you talk of PEPFAR, that's my life, because it worked. Because without it, I couldn't have lived. Now I want to save the lives of other people." Thanks for coming, John Robert. (Applause.)
Does it matter to America if John Robert lives? You bet it does. That's why this initiative is an important initiative. That's why it's important Congress continue to spend taxpayers' money to save lives like John Robert's, and Kunene's, and Baron's.
As we increase our commitment to fight HIV/AIDS, we're also continuing an unprecedented commitment to fight against malaria. Malaria takes the lives of about 1 million people a year in the developing world, and the vast majority are under five years old. In some countries, this disease takes even more lives than HIV/AIDS. Every 30 seconds, a mother in Africa loses her child to malaria. It's a tragic disease because it's preventable and treatable. We can do something about it.
In 2005, I announced the President's Malaria Initiative. Through this initiative, we're spending $1.2 billion over five years to fight the disease in 15 targeted African countries. This initiative provides insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying, and life-saving anti-malaria medications. This strategy works. It really isn't all that complicated. It takes money and organization and effort.
In Angola, this initiative helped increase the number of children protected by nets from less than 5 percent to nearly 70 percent. You buy the nets, you educate the people, you get the nets to them, and when they start using them, lives are saved. This initiative has expanded malaria protection for more than 6 million Africans in its first year, and by the end of the second year, in 2007, we expect to reach a total of 30 million people. (Applause.)
At the G8 summit, I'm going to urge our partners to join us in this unprecedented effort to fight these dreaded diseases. America is proud to take the lead. We expect others to join us, as well. If you want to help improve lives on the continent of Africa, and around the world, join with the United States and provide substantial help to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Bringing progress and prosperity to struggling nations requires growing amounts of energy. It's hard to grow your economy if you don't have energy. Yet, producing that energy can create environmental challenges for the world. We need to harness the power of technology to help nations meet their growing energy needs while protecting the environment and addressing the challenge of global climate change.
In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it. The United States takes this issue seriously. The new initiative I am outlining today will contribute to the important dialogue that will take place in Germany next week. The United States will work with other nations to establish a new framework on greenhouse gas emissions for when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
So my proposal is this: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To help develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China.
In addition to this long-term global goal, each country would establish midterm national targets, and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs. Over the course of the next 18 months, our nations would bring together industry leaders from different sectors of our economies, such as power generation and alternative fuels and transportation. These leaders will form working groups that will cooperate on ways to share clean energy technology and best practices.
It's important to ensure that we get results, and so we will create a strong and transparent system for measuring each country's performance. This new framework would help our nations fulfill our responsibilities under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United States will work with all nations that are part of this convention to adapt to the impacts of climate change, gain access to clean and more energy-efficient technologies, and promote sustainable forestry and agriculture.
The way to meet this challenge of energy and global climate change is through technology, and the United States is in the lead. The world is on the verge of great breakthroughs that will help us become better stewards of the environment. Over the past six years, my administration has spent, along with the Congress, more than $12 billion in research on clean energy technology. We're the world's leader when it comes to figuring out new ways to power our economy and be good stewards of the environment.
We're investing in new technologies to produce electricity in cleaner ways, including solar and wind energy, clean coal technologies. If we can get a breakthrough in clean coal technologies, it's going to help the developing world immeasurably, and at the same time, help protect our environment.
We're spending a lot of money on clean, safe nuclear power. If you're truly interested in cleaning up the environment, or interested in renewable sources of energy, the best way to do so is through safe nuclear power. We're investing in new technologies that transform the way we fuel our cars and trucks. We're expanding the use of hybrid and clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel.
We're spending a lot of your money in figuring out ways to produce ethanol from products other than corn. One of these days, we'll be making fuel to power our automobiles from wood chips, to switchgrasses, to agricultural wastes. I think it makes sense to have our farmers growing energy, so that we don't have to import it from parts of the world where they may not like us too much. And it's good for our environment, as well.
We're pressing on with battery research for plug-in hybrid vehicles that can be powered by electricity from a wall socket, instead of gasoline. We're continuing to research and to advance hydrogen-powered vehicles that emit pure water instead of exhaust fumes; we're taking steps to make sure these technologies reach the market, setting new mandatory fuel standards that require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by the year 2017. It's a mandatory fuel standard. We want to reduce our gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next 10 years, which will not only help our national security, it will make us better stewards of the environment. The United States is taking the lead, and that's the message I'm going to take to the G8.
Last week, the Department of Energy announced that in 2006, our carbon emissions decreased by 1.3 percent while our economy grew by 3.3 percent. This experience shows that a strong and growing economy can deliver both a better life for its people and a cleaner environment at the same time.
At the G8 summit, I'm going to encourage world leaders to increase their own investments in research and development. I'm looking forward to working with them. I'm looking forward to discussing ways to encourage more investment in developing nations by making low-cost financing options for clean energy a priority of the international development banks.
We're also going to work to conclude talks with other nations on eliminating tariffs and other barriers to clean energy technologies and services by the end of year. If you are truly committed to helping the environment, nations need to get rid of their tariffs, need to get rid of those barriers that prevent new technologies from coming into their countries. We'll help the world's poorest nations reduce emissions by giving them government-developed technologies at low cost, or in some case, no cost at all.
We have an historic opportunity in the world to extend prosperity to regions that have only known poverty and despair. The United States is in the lead, and we're going to stay in the lead.
The initiatives I've discussed today are making a difference in the lives of millions; our fellow citizens have got to understand that. We're talking about improving lives in a real, tangible way that ought to make our country proud. That's why we've asked these folks to come. It's one thing for the President to be talking about stories; it's another thing for the people to see firsthand what our help has done.
I'm so proud of the United States of America. This initiative shows the good character and the decency of the American people. We are a decent people. We feel responsible for helping those who are less fortunate. And I am proud to be the President of such a good nation. Thanks for coming, and God bless. (Applause.)
END 10:46 A.M. EDT
Fact Sheet: Commitment to International Development
Today, President Bush spoke about the Administration’s commitment to international development. The President discussed expanded education for the world’s poorest children and Africa Financial Sector Initiative, and called on Congress to fully fund his foreign assistance budget request in FY2008.
* President Bush committed to expand assistance for education in the world’s poorest countries. Our investment in disadvantaged children will help foster the development of stable and productive environments where social justice, economic development, and democratic principles thrive.
* President Bush announced the Africa Financial Sector Initiative (AFSI) to strengthen financial markets, mobilize domestic and foreign investment, and help spur job creation and economic growth. This initiative is expected to mobilize up to $1.0 billion in privately-managed investment funds for Africa and provide expert technical assistance specifically tailored to help address structural impediments in Africa’s financial sector.
Expanding education and developing the private sector are two essential long-term investments that can help break the cycle of poverty in the word’s poorest countries.
President Announces Expanded Education for the World’s Poorest Children
Today, President Bush committed to expand assistance for education in the world’s poorest countries. The U.S. will establish a new after-school skills development program, Communities of Opportunity, for young girls and boys. The U.S. will also expand support for other new basic education activities to ensure that children have access to quality schooling. Additional U.S. funding will total $525 million over five years.
* The President will work closely with Congress to implement this new transformational approach to promoting education in poor countries.
* A new Coordinator for Education, based at the U.S. Agency for International Development, will direct a strategic use of resources that builds on America’s current support for basic education, child health, and nutrition overseas. Resources will be targeted to countries that demonstrate a strong commitment -- including Fast Track Initiative endorsed education plans, financial transparency, and increased government spending on education.
* Education promotes progress, reduces poverty, and helps girls and boys become productive and active citizens. It allows women to fully use their talents to build just and innovative societies. Moreover, education offers opportunity and counters the forces of extremism and violence.
A Transformational Approach To Education
The approach will build upon the Administration’s existing efforts by:
* Providing up to 4 million more children with access to quality basic education through comprehensive programs in a select number of initial target countries;
* Giving 100,000 at-risk youth extra training in English, computer skills, science, math and finance, and critical thinking through “Communities of Opportunity”;
* Coordinating with child health interventions -- including school feeding and vaccinations -- in support of broader basic education and training activities; and
* Establishing partnerships in support of targeted interventions with local communities, parents, and the private sector -- including business and non-government organization leaders.
The Africa Financial Sector Initiative Strengthens And Mobilizes Funding And Markets
To strengthen and deepen African capital markets, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will support the creation of several new private equity funds that may mobilize up to $800 million of additional investment in Africa. This investment will address critical gaps in the sources of financing available to African businesses. The financial community submitted 25 proposals to OPIC for consideration pursuant to its recently completed Africa Capital Markets Call for Proposals. By September 2007, OPIC will select funds to support based on its assessment of developmental impact and potential for success. These dedicated funds will:
* Offer new financial instruments and services to African businesses, such as long-term debt, local currency debt, mezzanine financing, securities underwriting, and corporate bond issuance.
In addition, on June 6, OPIC will issue an innovative call for proposals seeking private equity funds to provide capital to businesses serving important social needs in Africa and contributing to the grass roots development of its private sector. These dedicated funds will:
* Provide capital to businesses in sectors with a high developmental impact, such as water, healthcare, small and medium enterprise development, and education.
* Attract investors that prioritize both financial and social returns.
To date, OPIC has supported four Sub-Saharan Africa investment funds that will mobilize roughly $1.9 billion in private investment over time.
AFSI technical assistance will help to improve financial sector climates with the goal of facilitating increased domestic and international investment. Activities will:
* Strengthen country and regional debt markets by providing up to 10 Treasury Department advisors over the FY08-10 period.
* Launch remittance programs in Nigeria and West Africa through USAID to increase private sector competition, lower the cost of remittance transfers, and bring the un-banked into the formal financial system.
* Provide training through FDIC for banking regulators in order to improve the security and stability of the region’s financial systems.
* Develop payment systems and credit bureaus through USAID to support local retail and commercial banking.
Keeping Pledges On Development
At the Monterrey U.N. Conference for Financing for Development in 2002, the President proposed a 50-percent increase in our core official development assistance over the next three budget years. Starting from a base of $10.0 billion in 2000, the United States surpassed its Monterrey commitment in 2003 when official development assistance levels increased to $16.3 billion.
The 2006 preliminary estimate from the OECD Development Assistance Committee of $22.7 billion in official development assistance is the second highest annual expenditure ever provided by any donor country after the U.S. level of $27.6 billion in 2005. Preliminary 2006 ODA statistics on bilateral U.S. aid show:
* Aid to the Least Developed Countries was a record $5.5 billion.
* Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa increased by $1.4 billion, or 33%, to a record $5.6 billion.
* Aid to Latin America increased from $1.3 billion in 2005 to $1.6 billion
* Aid to South/Central Asia increased to $2.8 billion from $2.6 billion.
At the Gleneagles G8 Summit in 2005, President Bush announced that the United States would double assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa between 2004 and 2010 to $8.67 billion. The United States is on track to meet that goal with a preliminary estimate of $6.5 billion of bilateral and multilateral assistance in 2006.
In 2002, the President announced the Millennium Challenge Account, devoted to projects in nations that govern justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom. Since then, the MCA has put this pledge into practice signing compacts and threshold programs worth over $3 billion.
President Bush Nominates Robert Zoellick As President Of The World Bank
The Roosevelt Room
11:02 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I thank Secretary of Treasury Paulson for joining us today. I'm pleased to announce that I will nominate Bob Zoellick to be the 11th President of the World Bank.
Bob Zoellick has had a long and distinguished career in diplomacy and development economics. It has prepared him well for this new assignment. He is a committed internationalist. He has earned the trust and support of leaders from every region of the world. He is deeply devoted to the mission of the World Bank. He wants to help struggling nations defeat poverty, to grow their economies, and offer their people the hope of a better life. Bob Zoellick is deeply committed to this cause.
President George W. Bush is joined by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, right, and former Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick Wednesday, May 30, 2007, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, as President Bush nominates Zoellick to be the new president at the World Bank replacing Paul Wolfowitz. White House photo by Chris Greenberg Since the end of the second world war, the advance of trade and technology has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Some call this globalization; I call it the triumph of human liberty, stretching across national borders. Every day the expansion of trade creates tremendous new opportunities for people. Unfortunately, too many people are shut out from these opportunities, especially the nearly 1 billion men, women and children who live on less than $1 a day. Bob Zoellick understands that there are about 1 billion men, women and children who live on less than $1 a day, and he's committed to doing something about it.
The United States has a moral and national interest in helping poor and struggling countries transform themselves into free and hopeful societies. The job of the World Bank is to help reduce poverty and raise living standards in the poorest nations. The Bank does this by helping these nations strengthen good government, develop sound financial markets, uphold property rights and combat corruption.
The United States is the Bank's largest donor, and the reason we are is because we believe that it is essential to help developing nations build growing economies that will provide jobs and opportunities for all their citizens.
Bob Zoellick brings a wealth of experience and energy to this task. Over the past three decades he's held important posts in government, business and higher education. And in these posts he has worked on issues ranging from German unification, Latin American debt relief, to the transition of post-Soviet economies. For the past six years -- or most of the past six years, he has served as a member of my Cabinet. As the United States Trade Representative, he helped bring China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization, launched the Doha Round of trade talks at the WTO, and significantly increased the number of U.S. free trade agreements.
Bob has had a strong voice for Africa. He's helped implement the African Growth and Opportunity Act that has increased America's trade with that continent. He has served on the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an initiative designed to change the way we deliver foreign aid. In 2005, I asked Bob to serve as the Deputy Secretary of State. In that role, he managed a global staff of 57,000 people, he played a leading role in our engagement with China, and he traveled frequently to Darfur and Southern Sudan to help find a path for peace. Most recently, he has been vice chairman international at Goldman Sachs. In short, it would probably be easier to list all the jobs Bob hasn't had.
President George W. Bush listens as former Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick addresses members of the media Wednesday, May 30, 2007, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House following President Bush’s nomination of Zoellick to be the new president at the World Bank. White House photo by Chris Greenberg This man is eminently qualified, and when he takes his place at the World Bank he will replace another able public servant, Paul Wolfowitz. Paul is a man of character and integrity. Under his leadership, the World Bank increased its support for the world's poorest countries to a record $9.5 billion in 2006. Half of this money goes to sub-Saharan Africa. It's hope to some of the poorest folks. As Paul has helped steer more resources to these countries, he has instituted reforms designed to make sure that these resources are used wisely and achieve good results.
Paul took control over the World Bank at a critical moment. He's taken many steps to ensure that the Bank can meet the needs of developing nations in this new century. These steps include strengthening the Bank's role in combating malaria. The steps include establishing a rapid response in fragile states policy, to respond more quickly to nations recovering from crisis or war. These steps include the Clean Energy Investment Framework, a Bank initiative designed to help bring cleaner and more efficient technologies to developing countries.
In these and many other ways, Paul Wolfowitz has made the World Bank a more effective partner for development. I thank him for his dedication to the poor and his devotion to the good work of the World Bank.
Bob Zoellick is the right man to succeed Paul in this vital work. He's a leader who motivates employees. He builds constituent support, and focuses on achieving goals. I'm pleased that he has, once again, agreed to serve our country.
AMBASSADOR ZOELLICK: Thank you, Mr. President, for the confidence you've always placed in me, and for the strong support you've continually offered. Your vision of public service is to strive for great goals, and with your help, I'll do my best. I also want to thank Secretary Paulson. The United States is most fortunate to have him as Secretary of the Treasury.
The World Bank is one of the cornerstones of the architecture designed by the founders of the international marketplace and system of security after World War II. The Bank is just as important today as it was then, although in different ways, because circumstances have changed much. The World Bank has a vital mission to overcome poverty and despair through sustainable growth and opportunity. Parents everywhere want better lives and prospects for their children.
In 2001, with the encouragement of the United States, the United Nations established the Millennium Development Goals. To help achieve these targets, the World Bank needs to work in concert with a wide-ranging network of other multilateral institutions, national governments, private businesses, foundations, non-governmental organizations, as well as civil society groups. We need to approach this task with humility and creative minds, because the challenges have thwarted good intentions and efforts in the past.
In recent years, some developing countries have achieved access to finance and boost growth to impressive levels. But too many lands, particularly in Africa, are denied opportunity because of disease, weak health care and child mortality, hunger and poor agricultural infrastructure, lack of good schools, discrimination against girls and women, unsound governance and corruption, the want of property rights and the rule of law, and endangered environment, and impediments to business, investment, economic liberty, entrepreneurs, trade, and a thriving free market economy.
These people and places need hope and help and partners. Even developing countries moving up the ladder with higher growth rates still have many poor citizens and staggering problems. They need support, too. Fortunately, there's a new generation of leaders in many developing countries that is assuming responsibility for showing that poverty can be surmounted.
This work, the purpose of the World Bank, is not about charity. The United States has been a strong supporter of the World Bank since its inception. The Bank's reliance on markets, investments, sound policies, good governance and partnerships for self-help are in keeping with the values that Americans esteem. The Bank is about working with men and women around the globe, no matter what their burdens or birth, to have the opportunity to achieve their potential and contribute to the well-being of others in their environment.
The World Bank has passed through a difficult time for all involved. There are frustrations, anxieties, and tensions about the past that could inhibit the future. This is understandable, but not without remedy. We need to put yesterday's discord behind us and to focus on the future together. I believe that the World Bank's best days are still to come.
I look forward to working with the World Bank team, professionals whose overriding goal is to help others. I want to hear their ideas on how to do so. I plan to meet soon with contributors and borrowers and many partners of the World Bank to listen to their perspectives on how the World Bank can best fulfill its purpose. If the board and members of the Bank then concur with this nomination, it will be my aim to work closely with and learn from the institution's dedicated and talented staff. Together, we can consult closely with the Bank's many stakeholders and partners to set a course to advance its missions.
It would be an honor to help lead this key institution and to work with the many fine professionals from all over the world who are dedicated to overcoming poverty and creating opportunity.
I would like to thank the U.S. Congress, the people of America, and the governments and peoples of other contributing countries for their generous support of this valuable institution. And I'd like most of all to thank the President, again, for offering this opportunity to lead the World Bank as a steward of development, growth and hope.
Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
END 11:11 A.M. EDT
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