The Foreign Service Journal - April 2016
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  12 / 76 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 12 / 76 Next Page
Page Background


APRIL 2016



State’s Convening Power

Helps Syrian Refugee



his is an unusual event for us,”

said Deputy Secretary of State

for Management and Resources Heather

Higginbottom, opening a Nov. 16 gather-

ing, “Bridging the Education Gap for

Refugee Children in Turkey,” at the

Department of State.

“In most cases, we host discussions or

conferences where we ask our partici-

pants simply to listen instead of problem-

solve,” she added. “But not today.”

The event—an initiative spearheaded

by the Office of Deputy Secretary of

State Antony Blinken in partnership

with the Bureau of Population, Refugees

and Migration—convened more than

100 leaders from government, interna-

tional financial institutions, nonprofit

organizations, education foundations,

tech companies and others to explore

solutions on how to provide roughly

400,000 school-aged Syrian refugee chil-

dren in Turkey with access to education.

Coming just days after the world had

witnessed horrific terror attacks in Bei-

rut and Paris, the meeting added a sense

of urgency to the challenge of prevent-

ing the disenfranchisement of an entire

generation of Syrian youth.

The United States, primarily through

PRM and USAID’s Office of Foreign

Disaster Assistance, has contributed

more than $4.5 billion in humanitar-

ian aid since the start of the civil war in

Syria. Turkey alone has received more

than $325 million in U.S. funding for its

humanitarian response to the crisis via

U.N. agencies and nongovernmental

organizations, including for the opera-

tions of schools.

Turkish officials and international

humanitarian aid organizations esti-

mate that of the 700,000 school-aged


To me the most important single quality of a diplomat is empathy,

which is not the same as sympathy; it simply means you understand.

You take great pains to understand where the other side is coming from.

If you’re trying to alter their behavior or adjust their behavior in ways that

are congenial to your own interests, you need to understand that side first.

Understanding requires a diplomatic presence; it requires reporting

officers to help us understand what’s going on in another country.

—Ambassador Robert Hutchings, at the Feb. 18 Book Notes event featuring his new book,

Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: Cases in Successful Diplomacy

(Oxford University Press,

2015). Watch the event at

Contemporary Quote

Syrian refugee children in Turkey, only

300,000 have access to education. Some

have likened the challenge of sending

the remaining children to school to hav-

ing to increase the capacity of New York’s

public school system—the largest in the

United States—by 50 percent within a

two- to three-year period.

Following remarks by Ali Ozturk,

adviser to the deputy prime minister of

Turkey who has responsibility for man-

aging the Syrian crisis response; Anthony

Lake, the executive director of UNICEF;

and Meighan Stone, president of the

Malala Fund, participants broke into

smaller discussion groups to brainstorm


Ideas flowed on how to build more

schools, arrange for basic transportation,

provide child protection and psychoso-

cial services, and offer vocational train-

ing to young adults.

Many participants commented

on how much they appreciated the

opportunity to expand their profes-

sional networks, and the department is

now following up on some of the day’s


The event mirrored a similar effort in

Turkey where the U.S. mission brought

together major U.N. organizations, NGOs

and private-sector institutions to identify

ways to collaborate on the delivery of

humanitarian assistance.

Perhaps such events, which lever-

age America’s convening power to find

solutions to today’s global challenges,

will soon become a hallmark of Ameri-

can diplomacy and development efforts

rather than an anomaly.

—Maria C. Livingston,

Director of Professional Policy Issues

Bridging the Gap

at Georgetown


n January, the Carnegie Corporation

gave an $840,000 grant to the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University’s “Bridging the Gap” initiative, with the goal of connect-

ing practitioners and theoreticians in the

world of international affairs.

The grant, titled “From Scholar’s

Theory to Practitioner’s Work, and Back,”

will promote diplomacy as a key interna-

tional policy tool.

To be shared by the Institute for the

Study of Diplomacy and the Mortara

Center for International Studies, the

grant monies will fund three major

“bridging the gap” pillars: (1) educa-

tion, by updating and expanding ISD’s