Africare News Release


Africare Participates in 26th International Workshop on Global Security

Istanbul, Turkey,  June 28, 2009—Julius E. Coles, President of Africare, was invited to represent Africare as one of only two NGOs selected to participate in the 26th International Workshop on Global Security held in Istanbul, Turkey, June 25-28, 2009.

What began as a small academic conference in 1984 in Monterey, California, has grown into an international forum in which government leaders, academics, and leaders of industry worldwide can exchange ideas on emerging political-military policies. This year’s workshop participants included senior diplomats, ministers and deputy ministers, high-ranking military and representatives not only from NATO, the European Union, the United Nations and the United States, but also included representatives from North Africa, the Black Sea region, the Middle East and Asia. In addition to such broad geographic representation, attendees represented a wide range of religious and ethnic backgrounds. The conference made it clear that a heavier reliance on diplomacy will be required in dealing with the world’s increasing number of security challenges.

This year’s workshop was the first time that two non-governmental development organizations, Africare and International Medical Corps, were invited to serve on a panel and participate in the conference in recognition of the new realities facing world leaders. The sharp rise in energy and food prices and the economic challenges that caused worldwide upheavals have forced governments to launch economic rescue packages on an unprecedented scale, which has impacted their ability to meet military obligations or provide basic humanitarian needs.

Julius E. Coles served on the panel entitled “Organizing for Success in Afghanistan and the Region,” chaired by General George Joulwan, Former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Coles was joined by Renee Acosta, President and CEO, Global Impact, and Rabih Torbay, Senior Vice President for Programs, International Medical Corps, to discuss the role of non-governmental organizations in helping to stabilize the region, including stakeholder engagement, planning, program delivery and outcome evaluation. According to Coles, “This panel provided an opportunity to review civilian-military cooperation in Afghanistan and Iran, recognize some of the problems encountered in the relationships, and point out ways that military and civil society organizations might cooperate and avoid conflict in carrying out their respective responsibilities.”      

In his wrap-up remarks, Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe (SHAPE) Chief of Staff General Karl-Heinz Lather summarized the principal conclusions of this year’s workshop emphasizing the importance of success in Afghanistan and Pakistan for both domestic and global security and noting the inherent links between the Afghan conflict, the Middle East, and even Africa. In looking towards next year, he noted the need to “plan together with NGOs when they are involved, and maybe with other organizations such as Interpol. The subject is promising because we have not addressed it in detail in the past. So deterrence, defense, development… will certainly be important to build on.”

Africare is a leading non-profit organization specializing in African development aid. It is also the oldest and largest African-American led organization in that field. Since its founding in 1970, Africare has delivered well over $800 million in assistance and support — over 2,500 projects and millions of beneficiaries —to 36 countries Africa-wide. Africare has its international headquarters in Washington, DC, with field offices currently in some 23 African countries.