Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton paid a visit to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s headquarters (where I happen to work!) to speak on US efforts to solve the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. During her 30-minute speech, she urged the world to increase aid to save the lives of the hungry in Somalia. Currently, millions of people in the region are at danger of starvation while many walk hundreds of miles to find relief in refugee camps that are already overcrowded. Though ad organizations like the World Food Programme and UNICEF are racing to save lives, Secretary Clinton noted that more must be done both to help the hungry now and to provide food security in the future.
There is no doubt that steps must be taken towards ensuring crises like the famine in Somalia never occur again. As Secretary Clinton stated: “Think of what it would mean if we do succeed. Millions of people would be saved from this current calamity. Millions more would no longer live tenuous existences, always prepared to pick up and move to find food if drought or conflict or other crises occur. Parents would no longer have to endure the agony of losing their children when the food runs out. And food aid from countries like the United States would be needed much less frequently because we are now supporting agricultural self-sufficiency.”
Sidenote: When I stayed at work to finish several different projects, I received the invitation in my inbox one evening. With most invitations, I quickly scan through and delete because I need to use every minute available to finish work. As soon as I saw Hillary Rodham Clinton, I accepted the invitation immediately. I had no idea if I had any other meetings to attend that morning, but I frankly did not care becasue I was so excited. Thankfully so – I was one of the lucky 60 staff who was able to be in the room where Secretary Clinton spoke! It was such an unforgettable and phenomenal experience, especially as a political science nerd.
I have been enamoured with every Secretary of State since Madeleine Albright. Regardless of their politics, I have always been so fascinated by the work they are able to do and the finesse with which they accomplish their work. In particular, each has brought something unique to the table: I admire Secretary Albright’s guts, Secretary Powell’s determination, Secretary Rice’s brilliance, and Secretary Clinton’s compassion. In my humble opinion, each has been able to serve our country in a way that makes me proud to be an American.