The United States Congress and White House make historic commitment to preventing global conflict and instability

Statement by Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs

The University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs joins a broad coalition of international development organizations in applauding the passage of the bipartisan Global Fragility Act (as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020), which was signed into law today. This bold legislation establishes the first-ever comprehensive US government approach to engaging with the most fragile countries in the world.

With more than 70 million people displaced globally—largely due to violence and conflict—enacting the Global Fragility Act offers hope for addressing this crisis and building a more stable, peaceful world. It will ensure that US diplomatic, development, and defense agencies are working together to reduce violence in high-priority, fragile countries.

In keeping with Notre Dame’s mission to place scholarship in service to the common good, Keough School scholarship and policy engagement focuses on identifying effective and ethical responses to poverty, conflict, disease, oppression, and other threats to human dignity around the globe. Therefore, we believe this whole-of-government approach to preventing tomorrow’s conflicts and building sustainable peace offers tremendous hope.

Congratulations to the many dedicated champions of the Global Fragility Act, especially the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Mercy Corps, and Search for Common Ground. Their leadership in promoting this legislation amplifies the work they do every day to promote security and prosperity in some of the most vulnerable regions of the world.

Passing this legislation required tireless collaboration from congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. In particular, we applaud the leadership of the Global Fragility Act’s lead sponsors, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as well as Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Michael McCaul (R-TX), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We also recognize the commitment of Senator Todd Young (R-IN) to strategic and cost-effective policies with real impact such as the Global Fragility Act.

The Keough School was honored to sponsor a public forum on global fragility earlier this year, which was headlined by Senators Coons and Young. Peacebuilding practitioners and top administration officials joined them to identify ways to move whole-of-government policies into practice.

Now we at the Keough School pledge to stay engaged during policy implementation, offering evidence-based research and conflict prevention expertise.

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