This post is part of an archived series of blogs called The LeVine Line, written by former Ambassador Suzan G. LeVine during her time at U.S. Embassy Bern.
28 September 2014
In his UN General Assembly speech, President Obama spoke about partnerships and how, only by coming together, would we be able to address the world’s toughest challenges as well as pursue some of the biggest opportunities. This is a theme about which he has spoken many times over his past 6 years in office. Some of the partnership highlights from his UN speech include:
- Overall: “We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. “
- Regarding Ebola: “That is why we will continue mobilizing other countries to join us in making concrete commitments to fight this outbreak, and enhance global health security for the long-term. “
- And related to the rise of ISIS: “This is not simply a matter of words. Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and the trends that fuel their recruitment. “
That’s why it’s extra special to see some of the actions that the United States and Switzerland took TOGETHER this week – demonstrating and illustrating the power of our Sister Republics. For example –
Global Community Engagement and Resiliency Fund (GCERF): To try to counter violent extremism before it ever begins and to keep Jihadists from becoming Jihadists, in 2013, several countries – including the United States and Switzerland – created the Global Community Engagement and Resiliency Fund. This is an effort to look upstream and fund grassroots programming that will address the conditions that foster violent extremism and increase tolerance and opportunity – making the ground less fertile for recruitment. Here’s the original announcement launching the GCERF in 2013. This year, the United States and Switzerland have further stepped up by each committing $5M to this Fund
- Here are President Burkhalter’s remarks at the UN – including the Swiss $5M commitment to GCERF.
- And, at the Global Counter Terrorism Forum session on the margins of the UN General assembly, Secretary Kerry shared the United States’ $5M commitment to the GCERF.
The Equal Futures Partnership: This program is an “innovative multilateral initiative that encourages member countries to empower women politically and economically. Equal Futures partner countries commit to taking actions including legal, regulatory, and policy reforms to ensure women lead and benefit from inclusive economic growth, and that they fully participate in public life.” (from the Equal Futures Partnership 2014 Fact Sheet) . In leading up to the launch of this partnership, President Obama spoke about the fact that when Women succeed, the entire country succeeds. It was the extension of this fact globally – that when women in any country succeed, that entire country succeeds, that inspired the creation of this partnership in 2012. This year, Switzerland joined the partnership – bringing the total number of partner countries to 27! In his remarks at the event hosted by White House Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett, Secretary Kerry welcomed the Swiss as new partners.
Ebola: The fight against Ebola will need to be a global effort and, again, the United States and the Swiss are stepping up! Specifically – the United States among other commitments, is sending 3,000 troops to help make more centers to help the victims of the outbreak and Switzerland announced that it would do an additional $5M (to a total of $9M) to help in various ways.
And the list goes on.
In weeks like this – where the partnerships that connect us get even stronger and the impact they have gets even greater – I feel even more humbled and honored to serve in this capacity as the President’s rerpresentative here in Switzerland – and even more excited about what we are and what we will be doing together now and into the future to make the world a better place!