We wanted to share this encouraging message regarding the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), sent from our good friends at Alliance for Peacebuilding. It includes updates and a note of gratitude to the peace community who supported USIP this past year, from USIP President, Richard Solomon. This includes all of you in The Peace Alliance network who signed thousands of petitions and contacted Members of Congress and the President urging support for this institution. Our efforts are having an impact! Though we must continue to be vigilant. More details below…
Dear AfP Members and Friends,
I want to share with you this letter from Ambassador Richard Solomon, President of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), thanking our community for its deep support of USIP during the 2011 federal budget battles, and pointing the way ahead to 2012:
“2012 will be a challenging year for all of us who are a part of the international affairs community. But if we stand together and make the case for justifiable and responsible American engagement overseas, we will all benefit as institutions working to enhance national security by promoting peacebuilding.”
I cannot agree more with Ambassador Solomon on the need for strong collective action in 2012. Here is where USIP stands now in its budget process:
At the end of December, Congress completed work on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The final FY 2012 budget for USIP and peacebuilding was $39 million, a number that would have been cut significantly if the bill had progressed to the Senate Floor. This is an absurdly small number when compared to the defense budget of the United States, but in view of the severe funding constraints in the International Affairs Budget, at least we can be satisfied that $39 million will sustain very lean peacebuilding operations at USIP for the remainder of this fiscal year. As a community, we should be greatly indebted to the International Affairs Budget’s lead appropriators, Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Congresswomen Kay Granger (R-TX) and Nita Lowey (D-NY), for fighting for a strong budget for USIP.
There is absolutely no question that a significant reason deeper cuts weren’t made to USIP and other vital peacebuilding programs was the action all of you took in reaching out to the policy community and demanding that the USIP budget not be cut. We cannot afford to be complacent! The FY 2013 budget fight will begin in February, and this year we want to be ahead of the curve. We need to make it clear to Congress that:
- Peacebuilding is a solid, concrete set of tools and techniques that can diminish conflict and create sustainable, peaceful societies around the world, to the benefit of Americans;
- Peacebuilding taps into the spirit of innovation and co-existence at the heart of American values;
- Peacebuilding brings more sustainable security than war; there are times when military action is necessary, but peacebuilding must continue as an important tool in US action abroad.
- USIP is a vital federal partner to the peacebuilding field, and must be funded at a level that ensures its ongoing vitality and sustainability.
I look forward to working with all of you over the next few months to push back against forces that want to eliminate the one government agency devoted entirely to preventing conflict.The Alliance for Peacebuilding will continue to send updates, and let you know how you can support peace in the year ahead!
President & CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding
Beyond War will continue to support efforts to build and sustain the mechanisms for peace building in our society. TOGETHER WE CAN BUILD A WORLD BEYOND WAR!