In support of the U.S. Summit and Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy this week in Washington, D.C., Opportunity International today called for a renewed focus on citizen diplomacy and economic empowerment. Opportunity Board of Advisors member U.S. Army Lieutenant General (Ret.) Claudia Kennedy encourages individuals to recognize the power of diplomacy and development to improve living conditions and global security.
“If we can dramatically impact the economic power and influence of women, I believe we can increase global stability and alleviate poverty. The payoff is not only peace, but prosperity and real human security.”
An advocate for diplomacy and development, Kennedy asserts that leading economic nations can fight poverty and hunger and promote global stability by creating mechanisms to empower people in developing countries, “Today, power is diffused across many nations and our approach to global security needs to include more than defense. It’s critical that we include development as well as public and citizen diplomacy in our efforts to promote a safer and more just world.”
“As global citizens, we need to realize that power is not a scarce resource–when you become empowered, so do I.” Kennedy continues, “How powerful would it be if our collective focus was to create financial services for developing communities, eliminate hunger, create access to education and break the cycle of poverty in families at the subsistence level of life.”
Kennedy encourages people to consider the difference it makes when women in developing countries are given the chance to learn, develop a business and lead in their communities. “Because women have not held economic and political parity with men, it is women who hold the strongest potential to become leaders and change agents. If we can dramatically impact the economic power and influence of women, I believe we can increase global stability and alleviate poverty. The payoff is not only peace, but prosperity and real human security.”
Lt. Gen. Kennedy is the first woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the United States Army. At the time of her retirement, General Kennedy was deputy chief of staff for intelligence. She currently serves as a commissioner for the White House Fellows Program, and in addition to serving on Opportunity’s Board of Advisors, she is also a member of the Board of Directors for the American Security Project.