Moderated by Rick Badie
Atlanta, home of research institutions and philanthropic corporations, plays a significant role in building a healthier, more secure world. Today, the president of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta writes about our city’s contributions in dealing with those issues, while Sen. Johnny Isakson notes regional efforts to address world hunger.
A healthy and secure world
By Wayne Lord
Atlanta has been a city of visionaries. In human rights, global commerce, air travel and logistics, it has been blessed with great leadership and bold risk-takers. Robert W. Woodruff, legendary leader of the Coca-Cola Co., had another great civic vision. He wanted Atlanta to be the home of world-class medical facilities. His initial strategic investments in the health-care complex at Emory University, and subsequent philanthropy made through the foundation that bears his name, enabled Atlanta to become a world-leading medical and bioscience center.
The legacy continued with gifts of land and structures that brought the Centers for Disease Control and CARE USA to Atlanta. In tandem, the Carter Center began efforts to address the most acute diseases in some of the world’s most vulnerable places.
With this cluster of health-related assets in place, the success of the various research and practitioner organizations and institutions engendered an array of life science and medical technology companies and a related set of specialized non-profit initiatives.
The Georgia Research Alliance was created to foster cutting-edge research and attract world-leading researchers. Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse, Georgia State and other institutions began to seek connections with one another and with the CDC, CARE and other non-profits to engage in research initiatives and projects in global health. To this powerful constellation, the Task Force for Global Health emerged as one of the most powerful coordinators of global health delivery in the world.
Collaboration, often among diverse organizations, completes the triad. Atlanta’s global health institutions have kindled a range of strategic collaborations and partnerships, accelerating and scaling up research and delivery of global health solutions by combining the resources of our universities, government entities, non-profits and corporations. CARE’s partnerships with Coca-Cola and UPS, for example, have combined expertise in global health, water and logistics to provide new cross-sector approaches to global health challenges.
For the past two years, leaders have gathered for an Atlanta Summit on Global Health. Organized by the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, CARE USA and the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and keynoted by Sen. Johnny Isakson, the Atlanta summits have emphasized our city’s huge role in making America the global health leader. The response has been overwhelming, with more than 350 people at both meetings.
Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, CDC Director Tom Frieden and a host of leaders from global health organizations, business and academia highlighted successes as well as challenges. In these summits, global health leaders were joined by experts from Coca-Cola, UPS, AGCO and Cargill.
This year’s summit brought the discussions to a world audience. Hundreds of tweet responses have been sent to the United Nations and Congress. These summits have underscored Atlanta’s unique and powerful approach to integrating global health, water, food security and nutrition. With continued vision and powerful connecting points among Atlanta’s organizations, we can build a healthier and more secure world. It can be done!
Wayne Lord is president of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta.
Georgia helps fight world hunger
By Johnny Isakson
Global hunger is not just an issue of compassion, but also an issue of national security to the United States. As we seek to stop the spread of terrorism, part of our strategy must include addressing hunger. Terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and al-Shabaab take advantage of hunger because hungry populations are vulnerable to whoever will provide them with what they need to survive. It is happening right now as al-Qaida-affiliated groups continue to move into northern Africa.
Georgia is uniquely positioned to make significant strides toward ending global hunger through academia, business, government and non-governmental organizations such as Atlanta-based CARE. Our nation also has a huge asset in the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day, the CDC saves lives and makes the world a safer, healthier place. It also deals with illnesses and diseases that result from hunger and famine. The United States must focus on helping impoverished areas. One unhealthy country in the world is a threat to all healthy countries. Simply put, germs spread.
Georgia companies are also investing in the fight to end global hunger. Duluth-based AGCO, for example, has a working farm in Zimbabwe where sustainable farming is taught. Africa is one of the main recipients of international food aid, but it’s also a continent that could become self-sustaining with the use of better farming techniques.
MANA Nutrition, a nonprofit in Fitzgerald, produces millions of packets of peanut butter paste fortified with vitamins and powdered milk. This life-saving nutrition is bringing malnourished children back to health in areas hit hard by famine.
We cannot discuss this issue without addressing the U.S. government’s fiscal problem. We must find ways to do more with less, manage our resources better and meet challenges by maximizing how we spend the money we have, not by raising taxes. I was proud to co-sponsor an amendment to the farm bill that would reform our food aid programs by providing more flexibility in aid delivery. By allowing for more local and regional procurement of aid in countries where it is needed, the United States will be able to deliver food more efficiently.
I encourage Georgians to continue to lead in this area and to collaborate through great non-profits and volunteer organizations such as CARE, through effective institutions such as the CDC, or through each other to see that we meet 21st-Century needs. If we do, we’ll need far fewer resources dedicated to stabilizing areas of conflict and terrorism and we’ll have far more opportunities in the developing countries of the world.
Partnerships that address the challenges of world hunger lessen the opportunities for terrorists and raise the power of democracy. If we look the other way, we open the door for those who would take advantage of very vulnerable populations. Eradicating hunger is not just a humanitarian issue; it’s an investment in our future and our security.
Johnny Isakson represents Georgia in the U.S. Senate.