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KOICA and USAID are Aiding the World
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is partnering with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote developmental change in 11 areas around the world. These areas include education, global health and economic security. The partnership will run from 2023 to 2025 and is benefitting areas around the world including in Africa, Latin America and the Indo-Pacific region.

The agencies first met in Washington D.C. at the USAID headquarters on December 5, 2022, to discuss measures related to their joint effort. This meeting was the first between the agencies’ leaders in eight years. According to U.S. Mission Korea, “Once a recipient of USAID support, South Korea is now a leading democracy and strong partner of the Agency and the broader U.S. government, providing $2.9 billion in development assistance globally in 2021.” Here is more information about how KOICA and USAID are aiding the world.

Overview of How South Korea is Aiding the World

South Korea or officially known as the Republic of Korea began donating to the international community in 1963. This donation was through Triangular Cooperation with USAID. Korea went from being an aid recipient of USAID to being, “the first former aid recipient to join OECD’s Developmental Assistance Committee.”

The KOICA originated in 1991 and to this day follows its guiding mission of “contributing to the common prosperity and the promotion of world peace through inclusive, mutual development cooperation leaving no one behind.”

Since KOICA’s founding, it has donated a total of $563 million to countries across the world. The most recent partnership with USAID will increase this total and further benefit those around the world.

How KOICA and USAID are Aiding the World

On top of the 11 areas the two agencies wish to focus upon, they will work towards 27 tasks in these 11 areas. The two agencies have also agreed to have a shared platform for exchanging results and implementing common projects between them. The utilization of Korea’s digital economy strength will benefit the two agencies, and the two countries’ “common values of human rights, rule of law, and civil society, and in the sector of private partnership.”

Both the President of KOICA, Sohn Hyuk-sang, and USAID administrator, Samantha Power had high praise for the most recent cooperation between the agencies. They both hope the most recent Work Plan will continue to sustain a positive relationship between the U.S. and Korea as well as use the two countries’ resources to help others across the globe.

President Sohn had this to say about the meeting, “As we meet the 70th anniversary of the ROK-U.S. alliance in 2023, I am pleased that the development cooperation agencies of our two countries can gather in one place to discuss sustainable and fruitful cooperation as a part of realizing our global comprehensive strategic alliance.”

About The Work Plan

The Work Plan will fall into place with Korea’s new Indo-Pacific strategy. According to KOICA’s website, “Through the implementation of the Work Plan, KOICA plans to focus on carrying out development cooperation to support developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region in responding to [changing weather patterns] and disasters.”

The Work Plan has the potential to deliver quality resources and aid to developing countries across the world. The way that KOICA and USAID are aiding the world will have an immensely positive effect on those in need. The goals of the project will greatly benefit those who are underserved including those who are in poverty as well as those experiencing the most challenges due to changing weather patterns.

– Sean McMullen
Photo: Flickr

TikTokers Raise Awareness
The war in Ukraine continues months after the Russian invasion in February 2022. With no reconciliation in close sight, especially after recent Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian cities in early October 2022, humanitarian aid is urgent. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) estimated a civilian death toll of 6,430 by October 30, 2022. TikTokers within Ukraine are using the TikTok app to report on the events unfolding in Ukraine and document their experiences. Through this social media platform, TikTokers raise awareness about the Ukraine crisis and publicize calls for aid to Ukraine.

This type of news dissemination via short videos is gaining popularity among the younger generations not only because of the quick dissemination of news but because of the first-person accounts of the war and even the use of humor by Ukrainians on the ground.

First-person Accounts of War

Johnny Jen, a travel vlogger living in Ukraine during the Russian invasion, had some insight into using social media to show the effects of war. Jen told Insider that platforms like TikTok and YouTube have already begun to “replace traditional media and the news,” especially among the younger generation. A 2019 Reuters Institute study confirms this with a finding that individuals younger than 35 feel “traditional news media no longer seems as relevant or as dominant when it comes to news content” in comparison to social media.

University professor Damian Radcliffe also commented on this trend, telling Insider that the “informal feel” of these short videos tends to resonate as more “authentic and raw” to a younger audience.

Humor as a Coping Mechanism

The humor sprinkled into this type of content draws the attention of people using TikTok. Ukrainian Lisa Lysova has garnered a million views on a TikTok dance video she created after waking up to “sounds of explosions” when Russia invaded the nation. She says the use of humor is how she copes with the stress of the crisis.

Alina Volik, who is also a TikToker in Ukraine, says this humor helps Ukrainians “bond,” especially amid the war. She has 76,000 followers who watch her videos, which range from jokes that the Ukrainian president is the country’s “psychotherapist” and visiting empty stores in Ukraine as “entertainment.” This is a way for Ukrainians to relate to one another.

The Future of Social Media News Dissemination

With distrust in local media lurking over the past few years, these short videos are gaining attention. Survey results from Reach3 Insights show “three-quarters of Generation Z said TikTok has helped them to learn about social justice and politics, while the same number said the social video app helps them stay current on the news,” Marketing Dive reported.

While TikTokers raise awareness about the Ukraine crisis, countries are providing donations to support Ukrainians. On October 6, 2022, USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced that the U.S. will provide $55 million worth of financial aid to support heating infrastructure in Ukraine as winter approaches. The USAID website says that “This assistance will support repairs and maintenance of pipes and other equipment necessary to deliver heating to homes, hospitals, schools and businesses across Ukraine.” From February 2022 to October 2022, the U.S. supplied $1.5 billion worth of humanitarian aid to people in Ukraine and surrounding countries.

Through TikTok, Ukrainian influencers are bringing attention to the issues impacting Ukraine, which could garner more foreign aid and help from humanitarian organizations.

– Marynette Holmes
Photo: Flickr


On Sept. 25, artists, world leaders and celebrities came together for Global Citizen Live, a 24-hour concert event to bring the world together to end poverty. Participants showed support for Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World. That plan has five goals: ending the hunger crisis, creating equity for all, ending COVID-19, protecting the earth and resuming learning for everyone.

What is Global Citizen?

Global Citizen is an organization with the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. It plans to do this with the help of 100 million “Global Citizens,” who join the movement. On the Global Citizen platform, engaged citizens can learn about and take action against the systemic causes of extreme poverty. Not only that, but those who participate in the fight against poverty can earn rewards for their efforts including attending music performances and sporting events.

Recovery Plan for the World’s Five Goals

Here are Global Citizen’s plans for achieving each of the Recovery Plan of the World goals:

  • Ending the hunger crisis – In order to end the hunger crisis, Global Citizen suggests funding school meal programs to ensure every child has food. It also urges the support of small farmers that the pandemic negatively impacted. Finally, it proposes to commit to food and nutrition programs.
  • Equity for all – The pandemic has most affected the poor, people of color and women. Global Citizen believes that supporting human rights efforts and creating a people-focused justice system will bolster equity. 
  • Ending COVID-19 – Global Citizen believes that the world will not eradicate COVID-19 until everyone across the world has access to vaccines, testing and treatment. The organization has proposed that wealthy countries donate extra vaccines to poorer countries. In addition, it has advocated for increased funding for ACT-A and COVAX.
  • Protecting the planet – Global Citizen recommends supporting carbon neutrality for people living in communities suffering from extreme poverty.  Moreover, it advocates greater climate financing to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Resuming learning everywhere – Globally, COVID-19 has affected around 1.5 billion children; one-third of those children have been unable to access remote learning. For that reason, Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World urges providing technology resources for access and increasing funding for education.

Global Citizen Live

The 24-hour concert event occurred on six of the seven continents, excluding Antarctica. The cities with live performances and celebrity appearances included Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Sydney, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Lagos and Seoul. More than 60 artists performed including Billie Eilish, Green Day, 5 Seconds of Summer, Jennifer Lopez, Ed Sheeran, the Black Eyed Peas, Alessia Cara and Lizzo. Elton John kicked off the event by performing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took to the stage in New York City’s Central Park to say that vaccines against COVID-19 should be treated as a basic human right.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), pre-recorded a message announcing that the United State was donating $295 million “to stave off famine and extreme hunger, confront gender-based violence and address the urgent humanitarian needs the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving in its wake.” French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France would double its contribution of COVID-19 vaccines to impoverished countries from 60 million to 120 million shots.

Impact

Global Citizen Live is one of the largest-ever worldwide charity events, and yet, the goal was not to raise money. Unlike many similar events, the goal was to get the attention of world leaders and show that people support direct action for the Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World issues. In fact, the concert was completely free. For instance, the 60,000 people in attendance at Central Park had to earn their audience spots by doing things such as contacting their members of Congress, signing petitions and sending tweets.

Global Citizen Live 2021 brought millions of people across the world together with one purpose: grabbing the attention of world leaders. By succeeding with that goal, it raised money and secured pledges for vaccine distribution. Global Citizen Live 2021 successfully launched Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World.

– Trystin Baker
Photo: Flickr

GOP_Congress
The newly-elected Republican House and Senate is facing several problems related to foreign aid and other issues dealing with foreign policy and international relations.

For instance in 2014, due to the influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Latin America, Republicans proposed to stop sending aid to countries such as El Salvador, Guatamala and Hondouras. Instead of providing foreign aid, Republicans proposed to provide funding for initiatives that would protect the border states.

President Barack Obama’s strategy in congress is “play offense” against the majority GOP Congress. This includes using his veto power to stop legislation of the XL pipeline and increased sanctions on Iran.

“We in the administration believe that, at this time, increasing sanctions would dramatically undermine our efforts to reach this shared goal” of reducing Iran’s nuclear weapon capacity, said Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at a Louisville event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) earlier this week.

The situation worsens as Democrats and Republicans further divide over social issues.

The United Nations Population Fund is the branch of the United Nations that supports development of programs and clinics that provide reproductive services for women. This institution needs funding to cut down on unplanned or unexpected pregnancy. The strict policy enacted by Ronald Reagan mandates that non-governmental organizations providing support for women cannot even mention abortion let alone refer them to doctors.

The order was rescinded by Bill Clinton in 1993 and then reinstated during George W. Bush’s administration. The bill is also known as the “gag rule” and is an example of the volatility of bipartisan politics in Washington.

“The global gag rule has had a dire impact on vulnerable women by allowing critical family planning programs in the developing nations to be held hostage by the ping pong game of U.S. partisan polices,” said Brian Dixon.

Obama also stated, “I’m not going to spend the next two years on defense; I’m going to play offense,” he said, at his speech to Democrats. Obama has made it clear that he is not laying down for his last term in office.

– Maxine Gordon

Photo: Politico Fox News Women’s E-News
Photo: The New Yorker

samantha_power
Growing up in Ireland, Samantha Power would come home after school and 
practice erasing her Dublin accent to speak more “American.” To her, the “the American flag was the symbol of fortune and of freedom”.

Power immigrated to America with her brother and mother, and eventually gradated from Yale University in 1993. After her graduation and before attending Harvard Law School, she covered the Yugoslav Wars as a freelance journalist for several years, experiencing firsthand the horrors of war, and the inaction by the U.S. government.

In 2003, her book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” won the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. What began as a Harvard law school paper, her book analyzes 20th century genocides and strongly criticizes governments, especially the U.S. government, for failing to recognize and prevent genocides (e.g. Bosnia, Rwanda).

Power joined President Obama as a foreign policy fellow in 2005, when he was still a senator. During his 2008 presidential campaign, she resigned as a senior foreign policy adviser when it was revealed that she referred to Hillary Clinton a “monster” during an interview, which she wrongly believed was off the record. She was in fact directing that comment towards Clinton’s campaign policies.

As part of the National Security Council, she was instrumental in the United States’ decision to intervene militarily in Libya, in expanding President Obama’s human rights approaches, creating the Atrocities Prevention Board in the White House, and drawing the world’s attention to the brutalities in war-torn countries. She supports open government and the doctrine, the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

The “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine urges nations to interfere in a country’s internal affairs, potentially with military force, to “thwart genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or ethnic cleansing.” This doctrine is significant because it places a responsibility on the international community to protect not only their own citizens, but also for individuals around the world. Starting from the war crime trials after World War II, leaders and governments found that they could be held accountable and punished for their actions. The idea of a sovereign country having the power to do whatever they want to do is no longer feasible in the 21st century.

At 43 years old, Power is the youngest US ambassador to the United Nations in history. She has focused on UN reform, women’s rights and human rights, human trafficking, while supporting refugees and promoting democracy.

Since her July confirmation hearing, she has been continuously wearing a simple bracelet on her wrist, engraved with the word “fearlessness.” From her visits to the Central African Republic, to crossing illegally into Darfur, and to her speeches in human rights communities, she has demonstrated continuously that she is fearless.

”When innocent life is being taken on such a scale and the United States has the power to stop the killing at reasonable risk, it has a duty to act,” said Power. 

– Sarah Yan

Sources: Washinton Post, Discover the Networks