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Clinton cites ‘Feed the Future’ at CGI conference

2012_0924_Clinton Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the Clinton Global Initiative conference today. (Barbara Kinney/Clinton Global Initiative)

By JERRY HAGSTROM

NEW YORK CITY — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “Feed the Future” program as an example of the Obama administration’s approach to development in a speech here today at the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference, which features sessions on subjects ranging from “the future of food” to the need for proper nutrition for babies to the importance of providing clean water and crop insurance in developing countries.

The initiative, established in 2005 by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, brings leaders from around the world together to try to find solutions to global problems.

“We designed our ‘Feed the Future’ food security initiative and our Global Health Initiative with an emphasis on country ownership and investment,” the secretary of state said in explaining the Obama administration’s attempts to modernize foreign aid. “We launched an ambitious reform initiative under Dr. Raj Shah’s leadership, USAID Forward, which among other things focuses on how to identify and bring to scale path-breaking innovations. And we’re creating groundbreaking renewable energy investment vehicles in Africa through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.”

Clinton also noted that the Obama administration has launched a range of public-private partnerships, including a Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which is working to help 100 million households in developing countries switch to clean cookstoves by 2020 to save lives, improve health, and reduce climate change.

While Clinton emphasized the importance of development assistance, she also noted that these programs reflect “America’s enduring commitment to help more people in more places live up to their God-given potential, to chart their own destinies, and realize the full measure of their human dignity.”

“One Egyptian observed in the wake of that country’s revolution, [that] freedom and dignity are more important than food and water,” she noted. “When you eat in humiliation, you can’t taste the food.”

In introducing his wife, Bill Clinton noted that she has been working in nongovernmental organizations and causes for so long that, “More than 40 years ago when I met Hillary, she was already sort of a walking NGO.”