THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
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
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.
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.
Corporate-government partnerships can make a great
difference in times of need, argues this former FSO.
BY LAURA LANE
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
What is unfortunately lost in that response, however, is our