As we reflect on Memorial Day, a day to remember those who have fought and died for our country, we honor all the men and women who have courageously fought on our behalf so that we can live in freedom.
One such woman is Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, who was the first woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the United States Army. Not only does she stand for the security of America, General Kennedy has a truly global perspective. She is an advocate for our work, serving on our Board of Advisors and speaking at our Fall 2010 Microfinance Conference, and she also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Security Project, a nonprofit dedicated to “fostering knowledge and understanding of a range of national security issues, promoting debate about the appropriate use of American power, and cultivating strategic responses to 21st century challenges.” This bipartisan organization has recently developed a new policy on foreign aid, stating that its main focus should be on “local communities and businesses… empowering local businessmen and women who can grow their own economies without major foreign input.”
In essence, this is the focus of Opportunity International’s mission as well, to empower those in developing countries to build up their own economies by providing them with access to microfinance services like savings, small business loans, insurance and training. The determination that our clients demonstrate in the face of poverty and adversity is much like the resilience of the American soldiers throughout our nation’s history.
As General Kennedy says, “We are all on the same boat.” And therefore, it is up to us to “increase global stability and alleviate poverty. The payoff is not only prosperity, but peace.” She shares that we must have a more preventative mindset towards our nation’s security, and in doing so, we will begin to consider development and diplomacy as important aspects of ensuring that Americans continue to have the opportunities that we do, and that those will be extended to people in nations all over the world.
This Memorial Day, we remember those who died honorably, fighting for a cause much greater than themselves. And we also remember those throughout the world who are courageously fighting a different kind of battle to ensure the economic security of their families and their communities.
General Kennedy Discusses Global Security, Hunger & Poverty at Fall 2010 Microfinance Conference:
Lt. General Claudia Kennedy Discusses Global Security, Hunger and Poverty from Opportunity International on Vimeo.