Statement from AJWS President Ruth Messinger on the Confirmation of Gayle Smith as the Next Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development

NEW YORK—Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization dedicated to ending poverty and promoting human rights in the developing world, released a statement today applauding the confirmation of Gayle Smith, who most recently served as Senior Director of the National Security Council, as the next Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

AJWS works closely with USAID on a host of initiatives aimed at ending poverty and promoting human rights in the developing world, including strengthening food aid systems to reach more people in need of food assistance; working to empower girls to end early and child marriage; and addressing the human rights of LGBT people through USAID’s development programs.

“We applaud the United States Senate for confirming Gayle Smith as the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and for recognizing the urgent need for appointing an Administrator at USAID, which is essential to ending poverty and promoting democracy worldwide.

“There is no person better suited to take the helm of USAID than Gayle Smith, who has worked tirelessly to end poverty and promote human rights over several decades as a journalist, through NGOs such as OXFAM and ENOUGH, and as a top official of the U.S. government. I am deeply gratified that President Obama and a bipartisan majority in the United States Senate have recognized Gayle Smith for her accomplished record and the promise she offers our nation and people around the world.

“I first met Gayle Smith when I was advocating for U.S. intervention to end the genocide in Darfur, and I know her to be a true champion of justice and human rights. Gayle Smith’s expertise, know-how, and deep commitment have prepared her to make USAID even more effective in reaching some of the most vulnerable and oppressed communities in the developing world.

“As USAID’s Administrator, we hope that Gayle Smith will lead the agency in promoting community participation and consent in development projects, making the critical link between girls’ education and the imperative to end early and child marriage, and ensuring that foreign assistance reaches all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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