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28

APRIL 2016

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

A

ngela Merkel, the chancellor of Ger-

many, spoke for many recently when

she said the humanitarian disaster in

Syria left her “not just appalled but

horrified.”

Right now, millions of people are

on the move—fleeing war, disease,

famine, oppression and religious intol-

erance. As someone who early in my

career was a firsthand witness to genocide and the refugee crisis

Laura Lane served in the Foreign Service from 1990 to

1997, including postings to Bogota and Kigali, as well as

assignments in the State Department Operations Center

and the trade policy and programs office in the Bureau

of Economic and Business Affairs. During her tour in Kigali, she led

the evacuation of American citizens out of Rwanda in April 1994 with

the outbreak of civil war and then returned as political adviser to U.S.

forces providing humanitarian relief in the aftermath of the conflict.

She also served as a U.S. trade negotiator at the Office of the U.S.

Trade Representative.

Lane currently serves as president of global public affairs for United

Parcel Service, Inc. Prior to joining UPS, she was the senior vice

president of international government affairs at Citigroup and vice

president for global public policy at Time Warner. You can view her

TED talk here:

http://tinyurl.com/jhosm9m.

Partnering toMeet

Urgent Needs

Corporate-government partnerships can make a great

difference in times of need, argues this former FSO.

BY LAURA LANE

FOCUS

ON HUMANITARIAN DIPLOMACY

it created, I agree we should be horrified with the current events

unfolding across Europe and the Middle East.

In terms of sheer numbers, nothing like this has been seen

since World War II. Our infrastructure, social systems and gov-

ernments are being stretched to their limits. But as we see human

tragedy play out before our eyes, we need to remember that these

migrants aren’t just numbers. They aren’t an issue to resolve.

They are people who need and should receive our help.

With lives on the line and nearly all the world affected by the

current crisis in the Middle East and Europe, now is the time to

take a hard look at how governments address the issues sur-

rounding mass global migration. Specifically, we must examine

how to make government actions more effective by encourag-

ing greater partnership with corporations and humanitarian

organizations to promote peace, advance freedom and protect

fundamental human rights.

Admittedly, this challenge is made more complicated by the

mood of anxious apprehension affecting much of the Western

world. Refugee crises are typically accompanied by episodes

of racial, religious and cultural tension, as well as backlash

toward “the other.” Quite simply, in times such as these, there is

a temptation to “take a stand” or “draw a line,” falling victim to a

defensive isolationism aimed at ensuring safety and security. The

rhetoric is convincing; it’s much easier to save ourselves than to

save others.

What is unfortunately lost in that response, however, is our