Over the past several months, AFJN has been working with the Connect U.S. Fund to develop a concrete set of foreign policy priorities for the next Administration. Through a series of consultations, meetings, and draft letters, the letter has finally been released and will be sent to President-elect Barack Obama. Although the broad letter does not target Africa-specific issues, it does promote the broader ideals to which AFJN adheres. From strengthening diplomacy and development to being a leader on human rights, we encourage the President-elect to change the course in U.S. foreign policy. Over 215 individuals, including AFJN’s Director Rocco Puopolo have signed the statement.
Below is the press release regarding the letter:
Washington, DC, January 14, 2009 – Today, the Connect U.S. Fund released the Call to the New President for Responsible U.S. Global Engagement, a letter signed by over 145 individuals from the foreign policy community – including former President Jimmy Carter, Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck, and former USAID Administrator J. Brian Atwood – calling on President-Elect Obama to take swift action to restore responsible U.S. global engagement.
The letter has been shared with key individuals from President Obama’s transition team.
In order for the U.S. to achieve critical national security and foreign policy goals, the new administration must:
1) repair U.S. credibility on human rights;
2) address climate change;
3) reduce the nuclear threat; and,
4) strengthen diplomacy and development.
The letter, developed with over 215 members of the foreign policy community, represents an unprecedented collaboration across issue areas and among types of organizations:

  • Unusual diversity of signatories: The signatories include a rare mix of former high-level government officials, think-tank analysts, leaders of faith-based organizations and individuals affiliated with advocacy and grassroots NGOs.
  • Unprecedented agreement from a cross-issue perspective: This call-to-action, which includes policy recommendations in nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, development and environmental areas, breaks through the traditional issue silos to identify the most pressing policy actions critical to re-establishing U.S. global leadership.
  • Unique collaboration and buy-in: Over 215 individuals from the foreign policy community contributed to the letter through an online survey and consultation meetings. The letter was written prior to the election and its recommendations are non-partisan.