As Oxfam’s humanitarian policy lead, I’m responsible for shaping US government policy in support of the rights of people living in crises around the world. I’m fortunate to get a lot of interest from members of the media. They often want the thirty-second, elevator-pitch version of a complex humanitarian emergency. And, to try to pass the bill or change the policy of the moment, I oblige. But I feel a deeper responsibility as well: a responsibility to do my part to foster a sense of global citizenship here in the US. I feel compelled to try to help people express their most deeply held values towards neighbors they have never met. Creating that sense of global community takes a big heart, a keen intellect, and maybe most of all an abiding curiosity, rooted in a faith that our opinions and actions can reverberate half a world away.
WBEZ Worldview stands out in this regard as a global affairs show that brings the world home. Jerome McDonnell asks expert questions and makes my experience more relatable to listeners than I ever could. For instance, when I spoke about the problems Yemenis were facing because civil servants have not been paid in years, Jerome related this to the numerous problems caused by the recent weeks-long U.S. government shutdown. It was an important point that I hadn’t heard made anywhere else, and one that I’ve continued to make in an effort to bring Yemen’s crisis home to Americans.
Following my most recent appearance on Worldview, I have received additional questions and offers to help from Worldview listeners. This speaks volumes to the audience that Jerome has cultivated. In an era that may best be defined by a narrowing sense of community, Worldview’s role as a thoughtful bridge to global issues has never been more important.Scott Paul, Humanitarian Policy Lead, Oxfam America
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