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Foreign Assistance is National Security

Main Stage

Programming Partner: USAID




  • John Barsa took a historical approach to outlining the implementation of foreign aid as a means to consolidate national security during the Cold War. Weaving his way from Churchill to Truman and onto John F. Kennedy, Barsa walked us through the development of USAID and its milestones in improving the human condition. He also emphasized that the role development, and effectively USAID, plays today is to ensure that nations are equipped with the tools necessary to foster their own sustainable economies and to withstand malicious acts of other state and non-state actors.
  • Barsa explained how the multi-faceted and unique position of USAID enables it to simultaneously underpin American values, advance American interests, and spur worldwide economic growth for the betterment of all global citizens. He concluded with the conviction that China and its development model are the greatest threats to USAID achieving its mission.

“This moment in history [when the U.S. added foreign assistance to the national security toolbox] is the root of the journey of the U.S. becoming the world’s leader in global health, development, and advocacy for citizen-responsive governance,” John Barsa 


Session Speakers