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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 24, 2014 10:30am-12:31pm EST

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assets, royalty-free, to farmers, growers, the retailers, to market products with yes, elmo and big bird and all of those favorites that we grew up with, on fruits and vegetables to inspire young kids if they're walking the produce department of the store saying hey, mom, i want apples. ..
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>> with the product, with the farm, with the information to ultimately make their buying choice easier and inspiring and feeding their family a more healthy, nutritious meal. so i see the landscape looking very different over the next five years, especially as it relates to marketing both -- not just on air, but social marketing with those iphones that inspire people to eat more fruits and vegetables and drive consumption. >> all right, paul -- >> very good. >> five years? >> i wish i could projection the next six months, but i'll give a shot at fife years. and, you know, again, as we come off of the years we've enjoyed over the last tree years -- three years, i think we come off of those highs into more normalized prices, it's going to restore demand. you know, i think we're going to see more demand for livestock production and all the things that go with that, our ethanol
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producers and even biomaterials from agricultural sources will be more competitive economically, and then global trade will also um prove at a more -- improve at a more normalized level of prices. so that's the first thing, we will restore some of the demand that has been eliminated through the high prices over the last three or four years. the second thing, to roger's point, other the next five or i'll take it a little bit more, seven years, we're going to see about 1.4 billion people move from that lower class into the middle class, and for the most part, that's africa and asia. that's where it is. and as those, as that population moves into the middle class, they're going to demand meat, milk and eggs. and, again, that's great for agriculture in the united states and then around the world. and then thirdly, i'm going to come back to what we've already talked about. i'm going to use roger's smartphone and deliver
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information to growers and consumers around the world to improve their information source on the consumer side and ability to produce on the farmer's side, and we're going to do it with the young people that we're going to bring into agriculture. >> so i guess op the ten-year -- on the ten-year horizon -- >> 10, 15. >> i have a few trends i'd highlight, one with a lot of confidence and the other two i think are up to us to figure out how to get the right answer. the one i have a tremendous amount of confidence about is the integration of the african food production system into the global economy. i think without question the way we saw on joe's charts kind of how china has grown and become more integrated, i hi we will see that -- i think we will see that trend happen. paul can describe some of the things dupont is doing, but i think that's a definitive trend that brings a billion extra people into the global
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integrated food economy in a more modern and commercial manner. the second is, i think, open to the decisions we make together. and if we embrace resilience, investments in the kind of agricultural science that can help protect against climate vulnerability, there are about 3.5 billion people today -- 2.5 billion people today that are producers on farms, herders, ranchers, etc., fisheries that are dependent -- vulnerable on the evolution of climate over the next few decades. and i think if we have a large scale investment in science, technology and policies that protect the resilience of those producers, you could have a very good outcome over that long trend. i think if we don't, i think that's going to put downward pressure on food production at a time when it's needed the most. and then the last trend i'd come back to is cathy's on nutrition. i think we have a unique opportunity to take the science and the learnings and integrate it with how we market food
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especially to children and all around the world. not just in the united states. and see people demand healthier, more nutritious diets. but i also think that could go the ore oh way -- the other way as well, and firms certainly have experienced building business models and making a lot of money not pursuing that course of action. so some of the policy decisions we make on a global scale will, i think, affect what large scale child nutrition looks like 20 years from now, and we've got to make the right decisions now to get there. >> kelly? >> yeah. i mean, even's covered it all, but i think -- everyone's covered it all, but i will add to sort of very bug picture, 20, 30, 40 years. we know climate change is happening, but independent of climate change if we could, you know, solve the climate change problem, we still have in ag the opportunity to address biodiversity, you know, how is land use going to change with the increasing food production that we know is going to need to happen in order to feed a
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growing population. soil health, i've been in many conversations with the usda style scientist -- soil scientists, and they're very worried about continuing to build and protect healthy soils. and so i think that those types of water use. right here in the d.c. area we have kind of an unfolding case study, the chesapeake bay which supports, you know, fishery, we've got a large farming community as well, and the two with don't always see eye to eye in terms of how we should address, you know, pollution issues. so i think those are big picture, big picture challenges that will, i hope, you know, i hope when we all come back here 30 years from now that we have some, have resolved, worked towards resolving some of these changes. there was an article in "wired" magazine about a year ago x the title of it was "big, smart and green." that's the other sort of
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optimist intrend that i see. sometimes you get into conversations about organic versus conventional production, and i want to make a prediction that some of that tension will go away because they're not necessarily always at odds. this article used the case of integrated pest management, for example, to show some of us the best practices from varying types of agricultural productions, how they can be pulled together and produce something really innovative and with some real breakthroughs. >> all right. so the panel, you're sitting around a coffee table in the middle of farm country, pick a region of the country that you're most familiar with for this vision. there is a farmer and spouse. she might be in her mid 50s.
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they have a couple of kids who have since left the farm, and you are there at their table providing advice and counsel. what do you tell 'em? what do you tell 'em in terms of what they ought to think about, what they ought to do, what they ought to change, what they ought to keep. paul, take that one. [laughter] >> the first thing that i would recommend that they do is have a constitution, have a -- have a discussion about the future. the situation you're describing is one of the greatest challenges that rural america is going to face in the next decade, and that is the asset transfer that's going to occur. so the first thing that they need to do is have that discussion about what their plans are and include all the family members in that. now, even with the children off the farm there's a tremendous opportunity to engage them in food or agriculture. they don't need to be on the
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farm running the farm. there is going to be, you know, a tremendous opportunity to bring them back and have them contribute to agriculture and food production, ask that's what -- and that's what i would challenge the younger generation to get engaged in. so the older generation, have that discussion about asset transfer. the younger generation, get them engaged in the opportunities that exist. >> kellee, are you going to tell them to transfer their entire operation to organic? >> that's right. [laughter] the farm bill passes now -- [inaudible conversations] >> yeah. i mean, first of all, i would probably do a lot of listening because, you know, i've gone around and talked to whether it's been farm families or, you know, county elevators they, you know, there's a lot of, you know, kind of local knowledge and appropriate be technology. -- appropriate technology. there's a knowledge base there that needs to be tapped into. and, yes, the sort of farm of the future where you can derive revenue from, you know,
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value-added processing activities or specialty, specialized identity preserve crops or environmental credits, you know? i know usda has been working a lot on sage grouse and how you can use market mechanisms to protect biodiversity and provide, you know, you're protecting and building ecosystem health. that's a service that the rest of us benefit for that we're not paying for. thanks to the american farmer, we're getting some of that free of charge. maybe there's a way to capture that and put a value on it and make sure that the true cost or the true value of what's happening at the farm level is reflected in the larger economic picture. >> cathy? >> what i would add is i hope we're having fruit with our coffee around the table. [laughter] but soarsly, i think one thing -- seriously, i think one thing i would make sure they knew is they're not in this alone. this is an industry conversation, it's not just particularly the conversation that's happening around that particular coffee table. and so we have resources to
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provide them to help with that conversation. i mentioned earlier the pma foundation and the whole plight of that foundation is to attract, retain and develop people in this industry. and it's very important to us to train and develop that next generation so we have programs and support to be able to help families with succession planning or young people coming out of college that might have interest in pursuing this career. and it's our job to make it maybe more glamorous than it is at first blush. and it's very dynamic. you know, you can do things with big data, you can be on the farm, you can deal with logistics and transportation, you can sell. there's so many facets of the industry that i think we need to do a better job marketing ourselves many that regard. in that regard. so there's a lot of support out there. and also from the children leaving the home, or there's nothing wrong with people going out and getting a different
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experience, and they'll be that much more, they'll be able to contribute that much more if and when they come back to be able to run the farm someday. >> well, you know, one thing i've always been amazed by spending time on farms especially in america is how wired and plugged in people are, and farmers in particular are to global markets. i love sitting in fort benton, montana, and hearing about, you know, what's going on in russia and how that effects predictions on pricing. and i just, i wish more young people in particular could just see the level of global economic sophistication, technology and market potential that exists in the sector and, therefore, see it as a more dynamic sector that they want to be a part of, they can be productive and also achieve some great human outcomes. but that's always impressed me, and i'd want to continue to make sure that folks understood that this is a globally-integrated
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market, and if you're a producer, you know, you need to both be aware of it and the tools at your disposal to connect to it are going to continue to increase. >> so i'm going to give you a choice in the last five minutes of this segment, and then we're going to turn it over to the audience for questions. so you can choose to either be visiting with a land grant university president or with the secretary of agriculture. [laughter] either one. [laughter] what advice would you provide to either one of those individuals? what concerns would you express, what would you ask them to do differently than they're doing today? >> can i go? >> sure. [laughter] >> so, so i'll limit my remarks because there's a problem. is here's the challenge, there's so much to be done that, like, you know, focusing on a few things that can provide the most value is a hard thing. i would say big picture helping to make sure that we still, that
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we have that consumer choice. so it's, you know, or starts at the policy level, coexistence is important. support for the sector so that people can then use economic signals to make, you know, hopefully rational decisions. i think that would be, you know, one sort of ask. the other thing is, you know, markets like standards. so the usda and the u.s. government has sort of been a neutral. around arbiter that -- arbiter that people can respond to is a helpful thing. and then finally, i think, in just the name of sort of creativity and throwing down the gauntlet on some of these challenges we have whether it's innovation challenges or, you know, competitive grants, i think people respond. the private sector's really good at responding when they have a sort of clear, you know, some clear signals. so those would be sort of the three things i would recommend. >> paul? >> so id want to talk to both -- [laughter] both the secretary as well as president of land grant
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institutions because they, the challenge, i think, is the same, and that is to work together, but work together large and seriously. the examples that i cited earlier whether it was indonesia, sorghum in africa or data in the united states are all about collaboration. that is occurring. one of the things as we've identified these challenges and go after the demands of more and better food, sustainability and rural development is awareness and dialogue is increasing. that's good. you know, aid is becoming how do we develop it? aid is part of the solution, but development is more. modernization of aid is becoming more and more understood as part of an opportunity. climate change, how do we adapt agriculture to climate change? rural development. all those dialogues are good,
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the awareness is increasing. but my where of you and the land grant institute was, would be to increase the level of seriousness, the intensity, the scale of our collaborations because we've got to do this together to solve, address those challenges. >> okay. >> so what i would ask you is to continue to build on and drive programs around nutrition and consumption. so things like half the plate. my plate, nutritious school lunches. i mean, it all starts with the really, really young individuals and through those school years are so impressionable. and so to the extent that we can collaborate on programs like that and really drive them and scale them across the world, certainly in the u.s. but ultimately across the world, i think, can be huge. finish the other thing for both of you would be to continue to make decisions based on data and
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leverage research, and we're blessed to be able to fund the center for produce safety out in california who since its inception in 2008 has developed and released 85 research papers that are all with the intention of removing barriers for production. and for small farmers, i would really encourage folks to leverage that data. anything from how to properly wash product to prevent contamination and what are those key, critical variables that you need to pay attention to? the opportunity to use that data and research and leverage it and scale it across the u.s. and leverage those insights. >> so i would, i would gather the all-powerful agricultural secretary together with the presidents of the land grant universities, maybe i'd throw in the director of omb -- [laughter] and a few folks from congressional committees, and i would just make the point that
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when president lincoln created the land grant university system, it was a massive investment in american science and technology to transform food production in this country that paid off over 150 years. and the scale of that investment was so tremendous relative to other things we did this science and technology at the time -- in science and technology at the time. today i know cathy would probably agree with this, you know, usda runs world class science program, and the land grants do amazing work, but the scale of that investment relative to the opportunity to end hunger around the world, address climate change and maintain american competitiveness is very, very small relative to, say, the 26, $27 billion a year we invest in the nih every year. and so the one big, transformational opportunity, in my view, would be just a rebalancing of america's investment in core agricultural
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science to tackle all of these challenges, to bring in a generation of young people who want to be scientists and want to be on the cutting edge of what technology has to offer. and to get a broader range of institutions really pulling against that goal but with real resources and focus. >> okay. we've got about 20 minutes left in this program, and i think based on the clock that's in front of me. we've got rowing mics -- roving mics, i'm told, and we need a few brave souls to ask a question or two, and then it will take off from there. and if -- i would invite the young folks who are here who have been introduced if they have a question, we'd like to start with you. if there is a brave soul there that wants to -- yes, sir. you raised your hand. let's see if we can get you a mic. i don't know how this works. >> [inaudible] >> okay.
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>> do you see -- where do you see, when you were talking about -- excuse me -- the five years, where do you seeing a churl research in -- where do you seeing a churl research in fife years? >> i can, i'd be amendment to answer that question, but i want to give the panel an opportunity. you know, paul, you've got a significant research component in your world. talk just a little bit about what pioneer and dupont's doing. cathy, you can certainly tell us what's happening in the produce area. kehlee, i'm sure you're aware of what may be taking place organically and, raj, you can talk international. paul? >> you're right. we spend about $2 billion across dupont in research, and about two-thirds is in the agriculture and nutrition space. so it is core to our business. but what i would really speak to is a specific example. ethiopia, i think, is one of the prime examples of success, and that is the government
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committing to agriculture, a lot of it in extension and education. dupont's a proud sponsor of the food security index. ethiopia moved up 12 spaces in their ranking across all countries in the world in food security, and a lot of that was due to the goth's commitment -- to the government's commitment to agriculture and food and their investment in this extension and education. >> cathy? >> i'll revert back to the center for produce safety out in california and the work that has been done there. more on -- and i would call five years short term. more on a short-term basis to try and remove those barriers that, ultimately, get in the way of either a farm aer being profitable -- farmer being profitable and sustainable over time or remove the barriers to ultimate ily drive consumption. so i wish i had time to shower all 86 with you d share all 86 with you, but les some really rich data there. and we'll continue to do that. the opportunity for us to do research with real data that
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will ultimately provide insights that are actionable and then are implemented at the farm level, i think, are critical. and that we'll continue to see excel over time. >> yeah. i think there are a handle of specific crops -- handful of specific crops that will be much more widespread and available to many of the world's most vulnerable people and will just change the face of the poverty they experience. drought-tolerant maize for africa is one of them, particularly in east africa. i think stress-tolerant and flood-tolerant rices in places like bangladesh where there's quite a lot of flooding risk and some of the improved biofortified crops like sorghum but also sweet potato and a number of others that have a much more stable vitamin a source for young kids. those types of things will be much more accessible, and they've been in development, by the way, for 15 years, and we're starting to see them already get out and get used. >> yeah. and i'll just say a word on
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organic and, again, you know, seed-breeding techniques. we don't have time to get into it on this panel, but, you know, everything from, you know, aquaculture that right now it's very hard to find sources of, you know, animal to protein to feed. it's not necessarily the most sustainable thing, so interesting research on developing, for example, soybean varieties that can go into feed for aquaculture. and there's, you know, a lot more exciting innovation that's happening in those, in that realm. >> one of the challenges of being the secretary of agriculture is that the missionary of usda so broad and we do so much that sometimes it appears as if we're not doing very much because we have a hard time educating folks about what we're doing. but in the research area, it might -- you might find it surprising that we have nearly a hundred internal research centers, ars facilities. and those folks do amazing work in a wide variety of issues. they can be looking at
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nutrition, they can be looking at food safety, this can be looking at seed technology, they can be looking at ways in which foods can be preserved more effectively, they can look at increasing efficiency in terms of biofuel feed stocks, they can look at better crop protection or production the same is true with livestock. those folks were responsible in the last five years for over 340 patent applications, new ideas and new thoughts and new business opportunities that can be created from those new ideas. at the same time, we also have an external research effort which raj before he got the usaid job was in charge and now cathy's in charge of our national institute of food and agriculture. and that, basically, spends a substantial amount of money, hundreds of millions of dollars every year, in competitive grants to spur, to leverage, to spur innovation in a couple of key areas where we're focusing. we're going to have an additional tool as a result of
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passage of this farm bill. we advocated very strongly within this administration for precisely what these folks have suggested, which is we need to scale up our research effort. and in order to do that, we need to challenge the private sector to partner with us. so we are now able, as a result of the farm bill, to establish a research foundation. congress provided us $200 million. it's not in the scheme of things an enormous sum of money, but it's $200 million more than we had a year ago. and that has to be matched. so this is now a pool of 400 million. and i think if we manage pool and this foundation properly, it will provide us the ability to make case for additional investments over the course of the life of farm bill. at the same time that's happening even with tight budgets, and our department's operating with a budget that's about a billion dollars less hand it was when i became secretary, we still have managed
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to in the last couple of years increase by small amounts but still significant, increase money in that external research effort. so there is a significant commitment to research, but there has been a change over the course of the last 25-30, 40, 50 years, and that is that what used to be primarily driven by the public sector in terms of agriculture research is now it's fair to say is more driven by private sec is to have. and that has benefits. it also has some challenging things which is that the new ideas are not necessarily open to the public until patents expire or licensing agreements are reached. so there's a need for balance, and i think we at the public sector have realized what raj is suggesting, that we need to scale up a pretty bit. scale up a bit. next question. yes.
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i don't know where the -- [laughter] katherine, you need to just stick around here closer, otherwise -- [laughter] >> [inaudible] >> i thought we had five mics. >> yes, good morning. i'm from washington state, and i work with a lot of new and beginning farmers, especially farm workers that have become farm owners. and two things are happening as far as i'm concerned. one, there's a changing the pallette of the american consumer is changing, and sometimes i don't think the market is changing with that. so what is being done about that, and how are you bringing in this new taste into our, into -- the increasing growth of that changing american consumer? and number two, what do you think can be done to increase the interest in the fact that so many farm workers are becoming farm owners in the united
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states? i have someone here with me right now who came as a farm worker and now is a farm owner. so the programs that usda has are very important, but how do we connect them to organizations like the ones you have? if we didn't have the 2501, we wouldn't have the growth of the farm workers who are now becoming farm owners, so what is being done by the industry? >> i can start, i'll take the first one and would love to talk to you offline on the second one. we, obviously, have huge opportunities for partnership and collaboration for new farmers or farmers that have been in wiz for a long time -- in business for a long time, so i would welcome that conversation. as it relates to food pallet changing, what we have found is there are some, obviously, sophisticated people that know what to do with those products whether it's cooking shows or consumer interest. the other thing that we're experiencing is even though the variety is changing and the pallet may be changing, a lot of consumers don't know how to cook
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it and don't know how to use it in a way that puts a nutritious meal on the table. so we think the next evolution after we nail marketing and really have marketing fruits and vegetables more prevalent across the industry, the next order of business will be we need to really educate and train consumers how to to cook fruits and vegetables. i know that sounds really simple, but that's a huge barrier for consumption especially on varietals, and so we're excited about that next space. and hopefully, we'll have partnerships to be able to help us do that. >> so as the pallette changes, we try and be responsible to that. i mentioned the earth we have in -- the effort we have in africa, but come back to the united states and as the pallette changes, we've modified soybeans. and what we can do with soybeans is zero trans fats and improve
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the oil profile so that it's much more healthier and also from a taste standpoint and a functionality is much more like olive oil. so we made the product better from a nutritional standpoint, zero trans fat, as well as improving the the profile to be something that, you know, consumers already enjoy -- old love oil -- but now they can get that same functionality through soybean oil. >> and then i'll just, i think when i hear your question, a lot of what i hear is, you know, how does that information get back to farm level. i mean, consumer -- tastes may be changing, you know, but the signal is getting scrambled somewhere in between. and, you know, i immediately go back to, again, it's market data like price and volume, and, you know, if that can be communicated, demand signals can be communicated through the supply chain, i think that helps efficiently respond to that.
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and so, and there are many mechanisms for that. we are one type of mechanism,ing but there are others -- but there are others. and so that's how i think that the two come together and meet. >> i just want to add one, one point about this discussion. that in order for the market signal not to get scrambled and to be received appropriately, it has to be voiced in a way that is not seen as a criticism of -- >> right. >> -- of what somebody has been doing the last 10, 15 is, 20, 30 or 40 years. and all too often how that message is received is not, hey, this is happening, and you may want to adjust your operation to this new reality, it's, you know, what you're doing is wrong, what you're doing isn't right, and, you know, this is not sustainable, and it's perceived as a criticism. and to me, what has to happen in
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this country is there has to be a much greater appreciation for producers generally and for those who feed us. every single person in this audience who who is not a pardos the luxury of not being a farmer, and the reason we have that luxury is because we don't have to produce that food for our families. we don't have to grow it. we've transferred that responsibility to somebody else. and we're happy to do that because with we have the most productive farmers in the world. but we don't appreciate that. we don't know -- and we don't appreciate the fact that i could be a lawyer or some could be a doctor or some could run a seed company or some could start an entrepreneurial activity is because we don't actually have to spend the time and the effort to raise the food as our forefathers and foremothers used to do. and so i think the dialogue in order for messages to be received appropriately has got to be couched in a way that it's
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not a criticism, it is, indeed, just simply an educational opportunity. and one thing i want to note about panel is that if this panel had taken place five years ago or ten years ago or twenty years ago, you wouldn't see the diversity on this panel that you see today. you just wouldn't. and and that's something that agriculture needs to understand and embrace. that diversity, whether it's in crop production and land use or in producers is not a threat. it's something to be celebrated. it's something to be encouraged, especially if we're going to convince young people to get into this business. so our next panel will be talking a little bit more about your second question which is, you know, how do we help folks get into this business? and so so if you don't mind, we'll wait and met them help answer that question. we've got time, i think, for one
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more question, katherine, if it's not -- anybody over here? my eyesight's not the best. a few over here. >> i've got some young folks over here, katherine. so the young lady next to the -- yeah, you. [laughter] there we go. >> hi. >> speak into the -- yeah. >> thank you. [laughter] you mentioned in your -- >> hold it close to you. >> you mentioned in your five-year prediction that you were trying to bring african and asian cultures into the market more. my school, i attend university of maryland eastern shore, and my school's currently researching specialty or ethnic crops and how to produce those in our markets. is there any move towards that kind of on a bigger scale to
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bring those populations to, you know, try to get into the market more? >> raj, you want -- >> sure, i'll start first. i'm glad you're doing that at your school. you know, one of the evolutions over the last decade or 15 years in thinking about how to help countries that are largely still agrarian economies where 60% of the population is still in food production -- unlike here, right? -- is to recognize that this isn't really just about exporting our knowledge, know-how, crops and technologies but, rather, listening, learning, understanding what people's local food preferences are and really breeding new crop technologies that have the traits that perform better in that local context. and so a lot of the best research partnerships, especially the usda and usaid and dupont and research
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institutions in africa or asia are actually quite focused on that specifically. and one of my favorite stories is we've all worked together over a decade to create this orange flesh sweet potato which is a biofortified product, and i had this wonderful opportunity to be in northern uganda with young kids, and they grow up eating very dry, white sweet potato. this is a soft, orange sweet potato. and at first they're a little hesitant about it for a variety of reasons. and they literally will do tastings of seven, eight, nine different kinds of subvarieties. and based on the responses, the local scientists working with the usda partner and probably some funding from usaid and others will then work on sort of being responsive to those kids in terms of what do they -- they want more sweetness, they want softer foods, you know, what are the traits they want? and the beauty of that is when it works, all of a sudden these things take off and 100,000,
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200,000, 500,000 young kids are now protected from vitamin a deficiency, are protected from river blindness, and the consequences are just extraordinary. so i think it's great that you guys are doing that at the university of maryland. i think that's part of the solution going forward. >> and is we try and be responsive to those shifts as well. if you know our business, dupont pioneer in the united states, you know, clearly we develop and produce and sell corn and soybeans. to the secretary's point, the u.s. is very efficient in producing those crops. but in a country like india -- and we operate in about 90 countries around world -- in a country like india, we have to adopt, adapt to the local conditions. so we develop, produce and sell corn, millet, mustard, sunflower, rice, wheat because that's what indian farmers and the indian economy demands. >> there are a couple things here. there is the ability to grow
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agriculture within these countries that are developing, and the theory behind that, of course, is that that will allow them to do a better job of feeding their own people and allow their people to move from 60% in agriculture to 50% to 40% to less than one-tenth of 1% which is where we are in the united states. that creates an economy that creates a demand for higher valued products, much of which are produced in the united states including agricultural products. so it creates export opportunities. and so it's important for us to know, to see that evolution and to be able to continue to export our products from the united states to these countries in a way that it's acceptable to them. so you have to understand their concerns, you have to understand the barriers that are constructed to trade. conversely, internally and domestically we have an extraordinarily diverse population in the united states, and and there are market
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opportunities to cater to specific ethnic tastes and needs. and as we see restaurants and grocery stores begin to expand that opportunity, i guess to cathy's point, i may want to try that. but you know what? i'm a little bit concerned. i don't know how to fix that. so if i get a recipe or i get something that's easy to understand, i'm going to try it, i'm going embrace it. that could potentially create a domestic market for that very product being group. so it's both -- being grown. so it's both ways. cathy, you want to -- >> no, you said it perfectly. >> well, i see by the clock it's 10:00, and i want to keep this on schedule. i think we're going to take a break now, if that's correct? take a break, we're going to come back with a panel on beginning farmers. please join me in thanking -- [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> and we will be taking you live shortly to the white house state dining room for remarks by president obama, vice president joe biden. they're going to be speaking with some of the governors who have been visiting washington, d.c. over weekend for their annual meeting. while we wait for that meeting and those remarks to begin, going to take a look at what one of governors, iowa's terry branstad, had to say yesterday on "washington journal." >> host: and we are covering thn winter meeting of the nga, and one of those participants is iowa governor terry branstad. thanks very much for being witha
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us. >> guest: thank you, steve. this to be with you morning. >> host: i want to begin with a political question because youoi announced earlier this year you are seeking a sixth term. are you now the longest-serving governor ever in the history of this country? >> guest: no, there's one othert governor, the first governor of new york, george clinton, who was a revolutionary war general. he was elected in 1777 under the articles of confederation and served 21 years. so he has the record if all of american history -- in all of american history. >> host: why are you seeking ad sixthin term? >> guest: well, was i love the state of iowa, and i think i've made a real difference. people said we need your experience and leadership, and i came l back, and we got theg a state's financial house in order, we passed major education reform and property tax relief, and with our own iowa health and wellness plan designed to getwi people to take ownership of their own health, so we've gotdo iowa going in a good direction. we've brought the unemployment rate down from 6.1 to 4.2%.
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i love what i'm doing, aye got a good team, and we have a lotnt t more work to do. iowa's working, but we have aea, lot more that we want to accomplish. >> host: and we have one phone line set aside for those of you who live in iowa. the number's 202-585-3883. governor branstad, i want to ask you about the affordable care act because it really was a reversal this past year on how yo:u initially viewed theffor implementation of obamacare and its impact on iowa residents.ena why the change? >> guest: we want to be the healthiest state in the nation. we did health risk assessments on all faculty, staff and students, and we encourage people to set their own goal, and we found this worked effectively. and so now what we've done as -- and we had to get a waiver to do this, but -- and i have a split legislature, so it was a
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delicate situation to work out, but we call it the iowa health and wellness plan, and people need to pay a modest premium be they're below the poverty level, but then they do health risk assessments. if they do that, the state will actually refund the cost of the premium, and that way they can know what their risk factors are and what they can do to reduce them. and we also are working, obviously, to encourage people to not use tobacco products, exercise, good nutrition and all those things that can make us the healthiest state. the affordable care act or obamacare is unaffordable and unsustainable in the long term, and we know that, and we know there's a lot of problems with it, but we also want to make sure that we're doing all we can to help iowans and to make sure that iowans are doing the kind of things that can help them live a longer and healthier life. >> host: you may have just answered my next question, but why not just go ahead with the
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straight expansion of medicaid? >> guest: because it's not affordable and not sustainable. i have watched medicaid over last several decades, and it expanded and expanded and expanded coverage, and the health of americans have gone downhill. we are trying to do the opposite. we're trying to improve the health of our citizens, and we're trying to get people the take ownership of their own health and partner with them, and we did work out a compromise between senate democrats andous republicans on our health and wellness plan. we then had to get a waiver from hhs, and it took until almost christmas eve before they finally gave us the waiver, but this is an opportunity for us -- >> going to the leave this now, you can find the rest online,, take you live to the white house state dining room for remarks by vice president joe biden and president obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thanks for making the cabinet
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stand up for me. [laughter] i appreciate it. [laughter] it's great to see you all, and i don't know about you all, i had a great time last night. got a chance to actually do what we should be doing more of, talking without thinking about politics and figuring out how we can solve problems. you know, the reason you've observed by now the reason the president and i like doing this every year is it's nice dealing with people who know they've got to get a job done. and today get a job done. they get a job done. and i've gotten a chance to work directly with an awful lot of you in the days of the recovery act and even when we were working on the gun violence, rebuilding from that superstorm sandy which hit my state as well and tornadoes and floods in a number of your states. but it never ceases to amaze me that how you all mobilize. you just mobilize. when crises hut your states, you -- hit your states, you mobilize and rebuild, and you
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rebuild your infrastructures not to the standards that existed before, but to 23st century standards -- 21st century standards. you balance your budgets, you save neighborhoods, and you bring back jobs to your communities. and the other thing i pick up, and i may be wrong -- i'm always labeled as the white house optimist like i fell off the turnip truck yesterday. i am the youngest here, i'm new -- [laughter] but it always amaze misss -- amazes me your sense of optimism. you're the one group of folks you go to with all the problems you have, and is you're optimistic. you're optimistic about being able to be done, getting things done. that is not always the mood up in in the place where i spent a large portion of my career. last night i got to speak to a bunch of you particularly about the jobs skills initiative the president asked me to lead. but i had a chance to to speak with some of you specifically, and i'm going to ask -- i'm going to get a chance to see more of you this afternoon. but this is more than just -- at
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least from the president's perspective and mine -- more than just a jobs skills initiative. it's about, literally, opening the aperture to the middle class. the middle class has actually shrunk, and, you know, we always have these debates with our economists, the middle class 49,820 or $52,000 -- the middle class to me and i think to most of you is, it's really a state of mind. it's about being able to own your home and not have to rent it, to be able to send your kid to a park where you know you can send them out and they'll come home safely, it's about being able to send them to school that if they do well, they're going to get to something beyond high school, and you're going to be able to pay for it. and in the meantime, you may be able to take care of your mom and dad and hope that your kids never have to take care of you. that's the middle class. and before the great recession it was already gunning to shrink. beginning to shrink. so together we've got to -- mayor, you and i have talked about this, open the aperture
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here for access to the middle class. but we'll be speaking a lot her about that in the next several months. a couple of you invited me to come out your way including some of my republican friends, and i'm going to be working with all of you. but today i just want to say thank you. thank you for what you always do. you come to town, you come to town with answers. you come to town with suggestions. you come to town to get things done. and believe me, we need that, and the american people are looking for it. and i want to welcome you back to the white house and introduce you thousand to my friend -- now to my friend, your president, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you, everybody. thank you. please, have a seat. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you so much. everybody, please, have a seat. [applause] welcome to the white house. i know that you've already been doing a lot of work, and i'm
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glad to be able to come here and engage in a dialogue with all of you. i want to thank mary and john for their leadership at the nga. i want to thank my outstanding vice president, joe biden, who is very excited, i think, about the jobs initiative and is going to be -- the job training initiative and i think is going to be doing a good job on that. michelle and i had a wonderful time hosting you last night, and i hope all the spouses enjoyed it. i know alex enjoyed it. [laughter] you know, one good thing about living here is that you can make all the noise you want, and nobody's going to complain. [laughter] and i enjoyed watching some of you with your eyes on higher office size up the drapes. [laughter] and each other. [laughter] we don't, we don't have a lot of time today, so i want to be very brief, go straight to q&a and
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discussion. we're at a moment where our economy is growing, our businesses have now created over to 8.5 million new jobs over the past four years. but as i've said several times, the trends that have battered the middle class for a couple of decades now are still there. and still have to be addressed. those are the top -- those at the top are doing very well. ordinary families, still feeling squeezed. too many americans are working harder than ever and just barely getting by, and reversing those trends are going to require us to work together around what i'm calling an opportunity agenda based on four things. number one, more good jobs that pay good wages. number two, training more americans to be able to take the jobs that are out there right now and the jobs that are created. number three, guaranteeing access to a world class education for every american child all across our 50 states
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and our territories. and making sure that hard work pays off with wages that you can live on, savings that you can retire on, health insurance that you can count on. and all of this is going to take some action. so far just in the past few weeks i've acted to lift the wages of workers who work for federal contractors to pay, make sure their employees are getting paid at least $10.10 an hour. we've ordered an across-the-board reform of our job training programs, much of it aligned with some of the work that mary's done during can her tenure -- during her tenure as head of the nga. we directed our treasury to create a new way for americans to start saving for retirement. of we've been able to rally america's -- [inaudible] the long-term unemployed find work and to help us make sure that all of our kids have access the high-speed internet and
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high-tech learning tools in the classroom. the point is, this has to be a year of action, and i'm eager to to work with congress wherever i can. my hope is that despite thing bg an election year that there'll be occasions where both parties determine that it makes sense to actually get some things done in this town. but wherever i can work on my own to expand opportunity for more americans, i'm going to do that. and i am absolutely convinced that the time is right to partner with the states and governors of all across the country on these agendas, because i know that you guys are doing some terrific work in your own states. there might be much of an appetite in congress for doing big jobs bills, but we can still grow select usa. secretary pritzker's team has put together a terrific formula where we're attracting investors from all around the world to see
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america as a outstanding place to informs. to invest. and i mentioned this at the state of the union. for the first time last year, what we're seeing is that world investors now see america as the number one place to do business rather than china. and it's a sign of a lot of things converging both on the energy front, worker productivity, our innovation, our research, ease of doing business and a lot of that work is as a consequence of accepts we've taken not just a -- the steps we've taken not just at the federal level, but also at the state level. of secretary pritzker's been helping a belgian company create jobs in stillwater, oklahoma, an austrian company create jobs in georgia, and so we can do more of this, and we really want to engage with you over the next several months to find ways that we can help market america and your states to businesses all around the world and bring jobs
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pack. since i walled on congress to raise -- suns i called op congress to raise the minimum wage last year, six states have gone ahead and done it on their own. last week gap said it would lift wages more about 65,000 of its employees. several of you are trying to boost wages for your workers. i'm going to do everything i can to support those efforts. while congress decides what it's going to do on making high quality pre-k available to more kids, there is bipartisan work being done among the folks in this room. you've got governors like robert bentley and jack markell, susana martinez, deval patrick all dedicating funds to make that happen in their states, and we want to partner with you. i'll pull together a coalition this year all of whom are excited and interests in working with you to help more kids
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access the high quality pre-k that they need. and while congress talks about repealing the affordable care act or doing this or doing that to it, places like california and kentucky are going gang busters enrolling more americans in quality, affordable health care plans. you've got republican governors here. i won't name them this front of the press, because i don't want to get you all in trouble, of who have chosen to cover more people under options under medicaid, and millions of people are going to get help. states that don't expand medicaid are going to be leaving up to 5.4 million americans uninsured x. that doesn't have to happen. work with us to get in this done. we can provide a lot of flexibility. folks like mike beebe in arkansas have been designing programs that are right for their states but also provide access the care for people who need it.
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and i think kathleen sebelius, a former governor herself, has shown herself willing to work with all of you to try to find ways to get that done. on the west coast, you've got governors brown, ensley working together to combat the effects of climate change on their states. we set up a task force to help communities prepare for what we anticipate are going to be intensifying impacts of climate change, and we're setting up climate hubs in seven states across the country to help farmers and ranchers adapt their operations to a changing environment. in the budget that i'll send to congress next week, i'm going to propose fundamentally reforming the way federal governments fund wildfire suppression and prevention to make it more stable and secure, and this is an idea that's supported by both democrats and republicans. and finally, i want to thank those of you who have worked with michelle and jill biden our their joining forces initiative
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to help military families. at your meeting two years ago, they asked for your help to make it easier for service members and their spouses to carry licenses for professions like teaching or nursing from state state rather than have to get a new one every time they were reassigned. at the time only 12 states had acted to make this easier for spouses, only nine had acted to make it easier for service members. today 42 states have passed legislation to help spouses, 45 states have made it easier for service members. we got a few states remaining, let's get it done for everybody. because it's the right thing to do for those men and women who are working every day to make sure we stay free and secure. and the point is even when there is little appetite in congress to move on some of these priorities, at the state level you guys are governed by practical considerations. you want to do right by your people, and you see how good
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policy impacts your citizens, and you see how bad policy impacts your citizens. and that means that there's less room for posturing and politics and more room for getting stuff done. we want to work with you. and i'm committed to making sure that every sing is l member of my cabinet -- single member of my cabinet, every single member of my team will be responsive to you. we won't agree on every single issue every single time, but i guarantee you that we will work as hard as we can to make sure that you succeed, because when you succeed, the people in your state succeed, and america succeeds. and that's our goal. so thank you very much, and i look forward to having a great discussion, all right? prison -- [applause] thank you, everybody. [applause] >> cameras aren't allowed in the room during the q&a portion that follows here, so we're going to have to leave the room at this point. let you know, though, later today here on c-span2 defense secretary chuck hagel are
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announce billions of dollars in defense budget cuts and how to balance those cuts with the needs of the military. "the wall street journal" reports those proposed cuts would reduce housing allowances and other benefits and increase health care premiums and limit pay raises. secretary hagel will be speaking about those cuts along with joint chiefs of staff chairman general martin dempsey at 1:00 eastern time live right here on c-span2. and during that briefing share your thoughts. go to facebook, our facebook page and also check out twitter and use the hashtag c-span chat. let us know what you think. congress back after a presidents day recess. the house in tomorrow, the senate returns today, 2:00 eastern time. angus king of maine will be delivering the annual reading of president washington's farewell address. then at 5:00 debate and later a vote on a u.s. district court nomination with live coverage of the senate hoar on c-span2. and some news from capitol hill today, congress' longest-serving member in
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history will step down at the end of the year, representative john dingell. he's a democrat from michigan first elected to congress in 1955, succeeding his father. he's 87 years old, dean of the house and former chair of the energy and commerce committee. he became the longest-serving member of the house in 2009. last year he surpassed the late west virginia senator, robert byrd, to become the longest-tenured member of congress. you can check out c-span's facebook page to share your thoughts about the retirement of congressman dingell. steve on facebook says: thank you, representative dingell, for your years of service to our nation. enjoy your retirement. and jonathan writes: it's well past time for him to move on. this should not be allowed. serving is a duty, not a career. share your thoughts, ..
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>> transactions are frequently viewed as a way to shape markets. so there are a lot of conditions that could be placed on the provider, the minka kelly, low-cost offering, being perhaps a build out to schools for the presidents connect education initiative, upgrades, internet access, 99% of american schools. there's a whole host of things that are similar to conditions that comcast agree to a little over three years ago when it bought nbc universal so i can see it being strictly considered
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at the fcc something they would approve, but with a lot of conditions. >> the impact of the comcast time warner cable merger tonight on "the communicators" at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> former afghanistan war commander general john allen said he is cautiously optimistic about the future of afghanistan. he spoke last week on the topic of u.s. policy in afghanistan after the 2014 troop withdrawal. specials fro for the world organization for resource development and education also discussed the report on further civil society engagement. this is hosted by the center for strategic and international studies. >> program on crisis, conflict and cooperation here at csis. thank you all for coming out today. we will be talking about a topic that is discussed less and less in washington, unfortunately. we will talk about afghanistan
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today. you might have seen this one of the gallup came out with a poll that shows the majority of americans now think that the war in afghanistan was not worth it, and it's not a vital national security interest. and they would like us to leave completely and immediately. i recently published a report which we look out for the next 10 years and speculated about what u.s. policy makers parties would be over the next 10 years, and among our conclusions was that afghanistan will not be among the highest priorities in the region. by contrast to the views of the american public and abuse in washington are the views in afghanistan itself of the afghan people. every country that has successfully recovered from conflict and successfully transformed itself, that happens due to the efforts of the people
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who live there themselves. so i am pleased today to be hosting the launch of a report that talks about afghan civil society and the resource that they provide to their own security in the future and the support we can provide to them. before we get to the report launch, i am very pleased that we have general john allen to offer some remarks about afghanistan. general allen retired u.s. marine corps general, is currently a distinguished fellow at the brookings institution in the center on 21st century security and intelligence. as you all well know, general allen was the commander of the nato international security assistance force in afghanistan from july 2011 through februar february 2013. he commanded all u.s. and nato troops there, he knows all of the main players in afghanistan and pakistan, and is clearly an
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expert on all these issues. dr. hedieh mirahmadi, to the far right there, is the purpose of the world organization for resource development and education, or worde for short. she is a well-regarded expert on violent extremism and works domestically and internationally to affect that sort of issues. waleed ziad is the director at worde, a ph.d in history at yale university and is writing a monograph in the early political and economic history of the pakistan-afghanistan frontier. mehreen farooq is a senior fellow at worde and traveled extensively across afghanistan and pakistan ended up giving hundreds of youth activists, religious scholars and tribal elders to explore the issues that we will be talking about today.
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general allen needs to leave at 2:00 today, and so i will turn the podium over to general allen to offer some thoughts. we will have probably a little bit of time for questions and answers before he has to leave, and then we'll talk about the report. so thank all of you for coming today. and thank you, general allen. >> thank you, robert. it's great to be with you today. great to be sharing the podium with three very distinguished scholars. i would like to offer my sincere congratulations for the work that you've done, the work that is represented in this report, and what i believe will be some very valuable outcomes, if we read your recommendations closely and make an effort to implement them. i would also like to acknowledge the afghans in the audience today. until i take my last breath, the afghan people would be a very
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precious group of people to me. we served shoulder to shoulder through some very tough times. afghanistan has made a great price to be where it is today. i just want you to know that at least this marine, thousands and thousands of others like me, are with you for the long term. it's good to see you here today. i not long ago had the opportunity, my headquarters sponsored a number of students at one of the high schools in kabul, a coed school. every one of the students is going to college. it's a really remarkable place. we sponsor a number of students and brought into our headquarters, and they, we sought to see how they're doing, to tell us about their aspirations and things they would like to accomplish. on one occasion they brought me to oil paintings. this is a liberal arts school, very well steeped in the arts.
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one of the paintings by a young afghan taliban who spoke perfect english was of an afghan who was asleep. you had a frontal shot of the face of this young man who was asleep, and there was a chain around his neck and the chain was fashioned in the number 2014. you could see into his head the dreams he was having. it was a dream of a man hanging from a different, a woman in a burqa being beaten by a stick, and the ruins of buildings. the other picture was by one of the young ladies who was with us who desires to be a lawyer in her future life. and that painting showed she and two of her classmates in white gallons, -- gallons, their faces uncovered, in school precluded enthusiastic about the learning experience that they were having and then across the middle of the painting the number 2014 and then you see her in the lower
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corner dressed in very dark robes and in dark light, public turned educator self in the aftermath of 2014. i tell you that story because 2014 is a watershed year for afghanistan. for a whole variety of reasons. the first is the election which is coming, is one of the most important political events that will happen in the modern history of afghanistan. it will be the first time where the afghan military, the afghan national security force is, the police and the army will have the reach and scope and depth necessary to plan and secure this election in ways that we have not seen before. the international security assistance force will be helping, but the preponderance of the security of this election will be in the hands of the afghans. we will see the transition of the administration that will be elected from the president was elected in 2014 in april on the
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fifth, from the karzai administration to the first post a karzai administration in modern afghanistan. you will see in large measure the drawdown and the departure of the large permanent presence that we have had in afghanistan for nearly 13 years. and you will see ultimately the enduring presence force remain in afghanistan to assist in the continued development of the afghan national security forces over the long term. it's a critical year. and there's a lot of concern in afghanistan about the future. having had extensive experience with the afghan national security forces, and having seen them in action at this year of the first year in 2013 of being in the lead operations for the
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campaign across the fighting season of 2013 and remain in the lead, i can tell you that from our perspective, while there is much work still to be done, work that we had hoped to do with the enduring presence force of the post-2014 period, the afghan national study forces have, a very, very long way. while in last years fighting season they took heavy casualties, they were in the lead. the operations were planned and led by afghans with our presence in an advisory capacity largely. and the afghan people have a great deal to be proud of in what their forces have accomplished. again much work still remains to be done. and this is why it's absolutely critical that we are clear about our commitment to afghanistan in the post 2014 period. the afghan people deserve that clarity. the afghan national security forces deserve that clearly. the region deserves that clarity. and our allies do as well.
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so the post 2014 period i think will experience an afghan national security force that afghanistan has not seen in its modern air. with the continued presence of the west in general and u.s. forces in particular providing advice and support, and continued professionalization to the afghan national security forces i think we'll see a couple of things occur. i think we'll see the continued development of the afghan national security forces providing that critical security platform that will be necessary to provide the white space for the first post-karzai political administration to get its legs up under it. it will be in the first year for that administration and the entire government may not yet have been fully formed by the end of 2014. having an afghan national sector divorce that is confident in its western support, confident in its own abilities which are getting better each and every
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single day will provide that security platform necessary to provide that next president and his government the opportunity to come together to create capacity and to begin to move to the post-karzai period. the other really important contribution of the afghan national security force is in creating a security platform, and this is really important, something remarkable happened in tokyo in 2012. the donors' conference there, my term, the donors conference in afghanistan for afghanistan in tokyo 2012 pledged an enormous amount of international foreign direct investment and development money over that period of what the bonn ii conference ultimately called the decade of transformation. and so a secure security environment in afghanistan not only gives us the ability to move to the next level of political capacity and
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development, it also creates a sense of confidence inside afghanistan for i think the very natural entrepreneurial spirit of the afghan people to catch fire, but also to maintain a close relationship with those elements in the west, those elements in the international organizations that will seek to invest in afghanistan over the long term. afghanistan truly has in my mind to great natural resources. the first is underground. underground. we don't know how much value can be attributed to the natural resources of afghanistan underground, but it's probably in the trillions. the extractive capacity of afghanistan's future mining industry is really breathtaking. when you think about this, but it will require -- it will require security. the of the great natural resources of afghanistan is, frankly, its people. in the aftermath of 9/11, and
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for the period of time that we've been in the struggle in afghanistan, the struggle where the west and afghans were shoulder to shoulder, waiting together, sacrificing together, we delivered afghanistan to a point today through our joint and our mutually shared sacrifices where a new generation of afghans ultimately can face the future of afghanistan with optimism. optimism they couldn' could havr imagined during the darkness of the taliban are more imagined during the period of the civil war, or during the soviet war. now, much work remains to be done and this is really a very delicate moment for the future of afghanistan. but i saw the emergence of a young generation of afghans who are well-educated, they are healthier, they're optimistic about the future. they desire ultimately to bring afghanistan to a point where it can be not caught in the grindstone between empires, but
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ultimately define its own future as a sovereign state. we have, a great distance in that direction. i think the afghan national security, if we do commit over the long term, and i hope we do, to this afghan force, can provide a platform for us to be reasonably optimistic that the post-karzai political administration and the opportunity for western development money and western investment to continue will occur. and so i offer you that view. i was there for 19 months, commanded a 50 state coalition and 150,000 coalition forces. i would remind all of us here that there was a great sacrifice that has been made in support of this objective, but we also have to understand the sacrifices that have been made by the afghans now for generations. they are just now beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. our continued cooperation, our continued commitment to
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afghanistan is not a waste. it is not cutting our losses. it is locking in the gains that have been paid for, so enormous the and -- well, such an enormous costs. so i will end there, robert, and think you for the opportunity to share the podium with folks at me every important contribution to the discussion or i will just end with one point. i apologize. civil society is in many respects the future of afghanistan. we still suffer from absence of subnational governance. and that is to be expected. it isn't something that will, quickly and easily. our own country have difficulties in that regard in our earliest moments. but the work that is bound in afghanistan over the last 10 years in furthering the rights of women and furthering the opportunity for the organization of women, care, health care, longevity, child morbidity, opportunist for education, the
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rule of law, religious engagement, all of those things are at a level we could not have imagined before and that is come as a direct result of the sacrifice of the individual afghan people, and the afghan national city forces supported by the west but and until we are able to develop the competence of subnational governance, our continued emphasis on the developer, civil society in all of its many forms and shapes, i think come will provide the afghan people who yearn for freedom, who yearn for government, who yearn for an opportunity in human rights, i think it would give them that opportunity until afghanistan's government is more fully developed over time. i will stop. thank you. >> thank you very much, general allen. we have about 12 minutes for questions or ask you to raise your hand if you have a question. wait for the microphone, identify yourself and your affiliation. and i ask, beg, that you keep your question as a brief question and not give a speech as we get asked me questions as we can on the floor.
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so we will begin up front here. please wait for the microphone. >> hello, and thank you all for being here today. my name is christy vargas and had the privilege of supporting afghaafghan women in some of 20. my question revolves around the upcoming election. i have several friends, democracy international will be monitoring it. what kind of tenor are we going to see amongst the population in regards to the election? and feel free to comment as liberally or as narrowly as you wish. and thank you. >> i'm going to take a second question to aggregate them. >> my question would be, beyond 2014, if this doesn't happen, how do you see the impact on the
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afghan national city forces? >> thank you, sir. >> i think in terms of the election, as i mentioned, the afghan national security forces have reached in depth and capacity that we could not have imagined in 2009 election. so i think just in terms of the breadth of the country that will be able to vote now, there will be a greater participation by the afghan people. i also think that there is, because president karzai cannot serve another term, there is pretty significant interest on the part of the afghan people in participating, not just in this democratic process, but also getting on with the building of a democracy. they really yearn for it. and actually, democracy comes naturally to them, the tribal council, the concept of the shura, all those things i think in my own experience with afghans, and most recently when
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i was departing in 2013, they were looking forward to the opportunity for this election. they were concerned about security. there are still many unknowns about security but i think your average afghan is really getting excited may be an overstatement of the term, but is interested in participating in this democratic process as an afghan citizen in ways we have not seen before, which i think is very important. if we don't get the bsa, president obama has been very clear that he will not leave american troops in afghanistan after 2014. the message should be very clear. i was standing there when he said that twice to president karzai in a press conference. if the u.s. goes, i think we can be pretty confident that nato will go. into the u.s. and nato go, i think would be pretty confident that a willingness by the international community to invest in afghanistan or commit
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very scarce, increasingly scarce development dollars to afghanistan will be chilled dramatically. i think the ansf is a very well-trained force, relatively speaking given its age. i believe that we will see, absent american and western trainers, i think we will see resources still made available to the ansf funding and weapons systems available to them that were denied ultimately when the soviet union collapsed and the funding dried up and that was the beginning of the end of the post soviet afghan national security force. so my sense is, and they don't know where president karzai is on this issue at this particular moment, whether he intends to sign the bsa oresteia said will leave it to his successor. i think, thankfully all of his successors, potential successors seem to be favorably disposed or predisposed to getting on with the signature.
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we, within the u.s., are doing all of the contingency planning necessary to be able to deploy rapidly that enduring force, if necessary. we reach a point where we can't, but we still have months before that period arrives. so i think absent of american or western presence, two things would occur. we would continue the resourcing of the ansf, and as necessary, my guess would be we would bring large numbers of afghans, afghan security, army or police personnel out of the country to be trained elsewhere and to be reinserted back into the force. we will be very innovative to lock in these games rather than appear to be cutting our losses. very important question, thank you. >> let's take two more questions, please. start with the dog. >> -- start with doug. keep your questions brief and identify yourself. >> doug brooks, afghan american
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timber comes to great comic that i agree with you fully on i think the military and the police improvement that we have seen, but the third leg of the triad of course is the afghan public protection force. that's a the private sector relies on for the security and is rather unfortunate organization has definite getting any better. and anybody who's going to invest their needs better security, used to be done privately, appf seems be the wrong way to go. is there any possibility that will be replaced with the new president? >> let's take one more question in the back. >> my question is, how can the u.s. engage parts of civil society that are traditionally more conservative and do not necessarily aligned with the interests of the united states but are still important? member of civil society a noble goal of working with these types of groups would help empower civil society, how do we deal
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with that as the united states? thank you. >> thank you very much. >> i think this very well since it actually. i guess i'm partially guilty for the appf. i arrived in afghanistan about 45 days before i realized it wasn't up and running, everything shut down. the appf is come for those of you are unaware, president karzai i think properly made the decision that all privacy companies had to go away because of concerns of predatory behavior. not all of them were. some of them were. some of them, many of them or not by the decision was made ultimately to replace them with the afghan public protection force which is entity within the m.o.i. and it is a state-owned enterprise actually. the intent would be that if you want to do business in afghanistan you contract for your site and convoy security through the appf.
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afghanistan still is a state nation where western bureaucracies are difficult to adapt to. difficult to embrace. and the idea of the afghans within the appf and the minister of interior being able to write industry standard contracts for security was frankly very difficult. and i provided well over one of advisors into the appf to sit right next to the desk with the afghans to help the process because i couldn't stop the clock but it was coming straight at us. the personal privacy companies were going out of business. so as with all things associate with complicated bureaucratic processes, that is not an indigenous process with any country. but in this case afghanistan. it's going to take time to build this kind of efficiency into the
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contracting process, so that it does meet industry standards and those who might do business with the chamber of commerce or be interested will have a level of confidence that the business practice in and of itself was correct. and second, that the troops themselves who are securing convoys, who are protecting sides, that they are sufficiently well-trained and our professional enough that we can rely on them to provide a level of security. more work still remains to be done. i doubt that we will see a new president change that, but i wouldn't, given whoever it might become we might see that he might be open to some number of vetted, secured, bonded private security companies. he might be willing to consider them. there are still some i think, if we're diplomat year, privacy companies that are protecting diplomatic missions, but those have got to be vetted and secure, bonded. so we may see a requirement to
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do that, but my guess is it'll be difficult to walk the whole process back. we just need to invest in getting the process right. >> general halleck and get about 30 seconds left, any final thoughts you would like to share with the? >> well again, much work has been done. much sacrifice has been made on the part of both our people. americans more broadly, the west, and our afghan, dear afghan allies and partners. i remain cautiously optimistic that the future is bright for the afghan people. what a look into the faces of the young men and women of afghanistan who have emerged in the air since the taliban, the young girls who are skipping off to school every single day with a backpack on their backs to go to school and to come out and they're being well-educated, it feels the with a level of confidence that frankly i didn't have when i initially arrived in
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afghanistan in july 2011. what changed so dramatically that the ansf are embracing the burden of the protection of the people. and when the afghan people are protected, they can do remarkable things. i think if we remain committed, we remain engaged, afghanistan's trajectory can be up. if we do not remain engaged, i am uncertain, frankly, about the future. but i will always be with the afghan people. >> general allen, it's nice that he just down the street from us. i appreciate your continued dedication to afghanistan, and thank you very much for coming out today to share your thoughts. >> and to be with you, thank you. [applause] >> as general allen makes his way out, i will ask you to respect his time. i would like to invite hedieh
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mirahmadi, who's going to present i guess the findings and results of their study on afghan civil society. and i will turn it over to you. would you like to stand up your? entirely up to you. spin is that with a clicker is, to? -- is that where the clicker is, to? [inaudible] >> i'm going to give it to her. i don't know if i can scroll and talk at the same time. hello, everyone. thank you for being here with us today. thank you, robert and csis for hosting us an and thanks to jena ljimallen for sharing his commes and his wisdom. so of course role here today because we agreed a secure and prosperous future for afghanistan is critical not only for regional stability of the u.s. national security as well.
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so over the past 12 years, the u.s. achievements in afghanistan have been remarkable as general allen mentioned, and as a public health, education and, of course, of women's rights. despite investing almost six or $50 billion, insecure to an terrorism continues to plague the country. as we look at the horizon beyond 2014, the u.s. and international committee will need to find economic and effective ways of containing the growth of militancy in the region as well as protecting those important development investments we've made already in the country. over the past week much of the discussion in d.c. has focused on the bsa, the bilateral security agreement, and, of course, the upcoming presidential election. these issues are very important to but what we have to keep in mind is that recruitment into violent extremism is essentially a bottom-up phenomenon. regardless of the number of troops with the outcome of election to our investment over the past decade will be
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jeopardized unless we strengthen local actors and their ability to lead grassroots peace building efforts. our report from afghanistan 2014 and beyond, the role of civil society in peace building, encountered violent extremism suggest a more robust, focused, civil society engagement strategy is a critical part of afghanistan's long-term future. having traveled to over 35 cities and villages across afghanistan, the worde research team determined many actors have both the will and the fortitude to engage in peace building initiatives. and even further good news is that we don't have to reinvent the wheel. the groups on the ground who have already traded viable models that we can scale and replicate. some of those programs have been done with international support but interestingly there are many others which collectively represent an untapped reservoir of indigenous talent and resources for combating
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violence. there are many notable civil society endeavors in afghanistan, but our efforts are focused on those specifically cured to peace building and counting violent extremism. we will allen for some of the best practices to date, the challenges many of them faced in programming, and some recommendations for overcoming those challenges. we also explore how the u.s. and the international community can best leverage the efforts of both faith-based and non-faith-based actors and local afghan organizations. in addition to the report were published a directory exclusively for stakeholders which includes over 100 civil society groups from human rights organizations to networks with a detailed entry on the capacity and geographic scope. there are several things to our research. first let's safeguard our development investment as coalition forces withdraw, u.s. funded reconstruction projects
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may become inaccessible for a lot of american officials to see for this it. therefore, therefore many of the civil society actors, especially in the more remote regions, can be valuable partners for the monitoring and evaluation of u.s. government funded or internationally funded programs. in many parts of afghanistan, particularly in the rural areas, the central government has limited influence. instead it is the local civil society actors from the social worker to the religious leaders who are better placed to address the basic needs of their community. partnering with them would also be a great way to cultivate local support for u.s. government funded initiatives. second, we want to call attention to the capacities of what we call traditional muslim networks that remain underutilized. album in the u.s. government initiatives have tried to bring in a very diverse group of afghan participation, many importance of society actors are still left out. as the recent report by usip indicates, excluding or limiting
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civil society input not only rewards groups that use violence or abuse their political influence, it also reduces the public ownership of the peace process and the political will required to implement it. for this reason our analysis places a lot of emphasis on religious leader engagement. third, we hope to raise the public profile of effective efforts on the ground and encourage the continued investment in the afghan people brought prioritizing funding to strengthening civil society. we provide some history and context of what has already been done in the field, encountered violent extremism specifically so program managers had a good starting point for further engagement with these groups. for more in depth discussion of her findings of our report i will hand it over to worde director, waleed ziad. [inaudible]
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>> something about the two things side-by-side. thank you very much, bob. thank you so much for putting this together. is a real honor to have been with the general allen at the same podium. this research is part of a regional study which we began in pakistan in 2010. over the past two years we've been conducting fieldwork in afghanistan, and we traveled the 15 provinces, really in the north, in the south and really all the way up to the border in the east. we met with community activists, religious leaders and tribal elders with the aim of assessing civil society's potential to lead peace building nonviolent resolution and reconciliation efforts. promoting democratic ideals, and counting radical narratives within a culturally appropriate
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paradigm as hedieh was alluding to. and administering aid in conflict areas. next slide, please. today, there are more than 4700 officially registered civil society organizations operating in afghanistan. and although the vast majority of them were created within the past decade, is important to note that afghans and civil society is by no means a construct. historically the foundation of our civil society was born by committee-based shuras, causa, by tribal associations of elders. and by traditional muslim networks which are comprised of shia and sunni scholars him and cultural thought leaders, local leaders who ascribe to one of the classical schools of islamic jurisprudence. the first phase of secular civil society development began under
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king shah's new democracy foster the constitution and concurrently you have the development of political islamist organizations which are very distinct from the mostly apolitical traditional muslim networks that we just refer to. these were influenced generally by love and brotherhood, islamic groups, et cetera. a second wave of second or positions been emerged in the 1980s, 1990s. many of them amongst the desperate community in pakistan. the most recent state has been shed by or positions created after 2001, including women's interest groups, sports institutes, educational institutions, media, and the list goes on. these organizations are currently registered with the afghan government. of course, there are many more unregistered ones. they have received considerable international support. you will note that for the
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purposes of this research we've adopted a broad definition of civil society which includes religious institutions as well as tribal networks, both of which remain understudied. next slide. as all of us i am sure no, tribal networks play an essential role, especially in the pashtun region. tribal elders can resolve conflicts between families and tribes, mediate between tribes, the government and the taliban, they can help reintegrate former militants and even foster public support for activities from development programs really all the way to elections that we are seeing now. despite their pivotal role for many tribal leaders that we interviewed, felt they were underutilized by the government. i will give you an example of a tribal elder from the south who, in fact, was a former mujahideen
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which thought -- imaging to try to form a council of tribal leaders to provide development agencies with suggestions for projects, but was ultimately denied because it just so happens the provincial powerbroker is believed the council would have exceeded too much authority to tribal structures. this kind of sidelining of tribal and others -- elders which we already disrupt afghanistan's fragile social structure. the second segment of civil society which deserves further exploration is traditional muslim networks which perform three key roles. first, institutions like mosques are powerful communication platforms using the power of the public, the moms can address a range of issues from human rights all the way to corruption, good government. second, religious scholars -- source of conflict within the committee and even mediate conflict between militants and
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their communities. their strength of course lies in putting all within a cultural paradigm that is valuable to local populations. they are, religious leaders are uniquely positioned to mobilize support for post-conflict reconstruction programs. they are institutions can serve as be posted as david to more insecure regions. next slide, please. >> as we mentioned earlier, traditional muslim institutions have for centuries served as the foundation for afghanistan and civil society. really at the core they promote social cohesion. quite simply by bringing together communities from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. so what do the institutions look like? next slide, please. shrines, honoring -- the most popular cultural landmark in afghanistan today. every day thousands of shia and
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sunni pilgrims flock to shrines. major shrines will hold a cultural events and some are the few spaces in which women can socialize in the public sphere. some of the ones we visited just outside of kabul and some of the major cities, some of the ones we visited have appointed days for women and children several hundred women in attendance at these shrines. as such they can be important venues to disseminate positive messages and to counter their exclusionary conceptions of islam. they can also serve as a safe space fo where gullible segmentf that unity can seek support. as a caretaker of the 11th century pilgrim sites in herat, explains for example, that when a male member of their community develop a drug addiction, the committee provided his wife refuge at the shrine for weeks
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until he was rehabilitated. we have many stories like this. next slide, please. centers for cultural and spiritual development host weekly events, very popular in which featured meditation or poetry resuscitation or the performance of sacred music in addition to providing social services and welfare assistance to the poor, they often hold deradicalization and drug use individuals in their own from work and terminology. remarkable example i'll share with you which we reported from the very historic area in herat, very essential historically, when unemployed youth and helmand were being recruited by the taliban, their families requested that this hanukkah which is to provinces wake of a third away across, conduct an intervention. within days the hanukkah was
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able to tap into its network and find employment and financial support for the young man. next slide, please. the primary vehicle for religious education in afghanistan. as a 2011, the rep oxley 700 registered, but there are thousands the remain unregistered with crumbling infrastructure in many cases. teachers are very concerned and this is something we heard across the board, that some communities may accept funds from abroad to build up their schools. and this may and has been in some cases change the ideological landscape of afghanistan. kunar province, well-known cases where foreign funding, italy for someone who does not ascribe to a particular form of islam is outside the village and in the
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worst case, worthy of being killed. next slide, please. while traditional muslim networks offer many opportunities, there are four key challenges amongst of course many others that we face which we really should keep in mind in developing and engagement strategy going forward. starts to address the question we had earlier on. first of all, traditional muslim leaders are not as well networked as their counterparts in other muslim countries. for example, just across the war in pakistan, religious institutions will coordinate resources amongst their affiliate soup kitchens, macro shots, for organizations, medical sorties and the list goes on. next during the soviet occupation many networks were dismantled. scholars were killed, tortured or exiled. many hanukkah's were destroyed
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by landmarks became derelict. many charitable endowments that sustains some of these institutions were also dissolved. so today many communities have to rely on meager local donations. this is a very important point, but given social norms we cannot expect traditional muslim leaders to see eye to eye with us on sensitive issues. for example, like women's role in the public sphere. instead we have to find areas that we do agree on like national reconciliation or women's education, and there are numerous traditional which have women's branches come with hundreds of women's independence that we have fortune of visiting. and then once we address these issues then we can move on to our sensitive issues after building trust. the other challenge comes from violent extremists who have targeted traditional networks, denounce practices and have physically assaulted pilgrims at
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shrines. the are a handful of responses to this, scholars from northwestern afghanistan for example, -- a council of 50 prominent personalities and thought leaders who aim to organize events to preserve authentic afghanistan culture and spirituality and to raise awareness about the issue of violent extremism. next slide, please. historically religious landscape of afghanistan was a fluid mix of local islam practices and tribal customs which were shaped in many ways by the traditional networks were discussing. by the '70s like in other countries, egypt and south asia, political islamism begin to appeal to disenfranchise of the middle classes and others. the story of afghanistan party, is probably similar to most of
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us i won't get into details and probably most of us also our for my with the violence and human rights abuses that many groups were engaged in in the civil war period. these parties have recently reemerged in interesting flavors. a familiar example is pashtun i'm sure many of us have heard of what's happened in this case we have one faction that joined the government and adopted a very progressive stance, such as women's education. and then another move towards militant opposition. today there is a prevalent concern that if some of these groups come to power they may abandon some of their progressive rhetoric on democracy and human rights, but the verdict is still out. now, with that overview of the actors, we will now look at peace building and initiatives carried out by local organizations. we will give you a glimpse of the broad range of methods and channels that have been used get some of them very innovative.
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particularly how indigent to the resources are employed. next slide. we will begin with programs to prevent sectarianism which many afghan community leaders fear could fuel for the violence as it has in iraq and syria. one of the popular nationwide responses came from scholars who formed a council of over 100 well respected sunni and shia leaders known as the islamic brotherhood council. members issued a public statement or organize small demonstrations of social solidarity. i'll give an example. some of us never, never this. when the cultural landmark honoring -- was attacked in 2012, the counselors pledged their support to the shia community. other initiatives are less institutionalize. for example, in kabul religious scholars and academics and radio personalities will convene at a
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major pilgrimage site to discuss how to disseminate messages of tolerance within friday sermons and on other public platforms. next slide, please. conflict resolution is another key type of program because local and land disputes or tribal disputes often feed militancy, if left unresolved. these types of disputes were traditionally handled by the council of committee leaders or elders. one particularly effective example of how this traditional mechanism can be scaled up comes from herat or hundreds of imams congregate at the mosque to resolve committee concerns. what's remarkable about this program is that you often have these programs televised, and local scholars who are participating will take lessons learned to their particular community. there are several secular organizations funded by usip,
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usaid, like ptr oh which is also designed excellent piece on conflict resolution training to bolster these kinds of grassroots mediation efforts. next slide, please. >> social welfare assistance to afghan community is a very important part of a holistic strategy and this is to counter this hezbollah type strategy of providing aid in order to win recruits. there are dozens of cso's all the way to the local ones. that will provide food and to mentoring assistance to thousands. however, most grassroots initiatives are not institutionalized and more sustainable efforts are required to target committees that are particularly being courted by militants. next slide, please.
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they are development initiatives from public murals to street theater to address issues on drug abuse, and small arms proliferation, both of which fueled militancy. radio public awareness campaigns have also been developed by the radio stations to inform the communities at the national or regional levels, but you also grassroots organizations like the association for solving community problems. that's developed door-to-door, arms reduction campaign. we noted in this case that personalized interventions at religious institutions were particularly effective. in jalalabad, for example, they bring together local imams, committee leaders and activists to develop collective solutions for drug users. they will arrange rehabilitation programs again to the best of ththeir ability. and for arms dealers they will
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offer alternative employment. if the initial intervention fails the team then invites a large group of scholars and literally bombard them with ideological arguments. if all else fails then they will turn to local government officials. next slide, please. poetry remains one of the most powerful mediums of commie kitsch in -- indication of social commentary in afghanistan. anyone who has taken a local taxi window that even cabdrivers use classical poetry and political critique. very common everywhere. across the country, communities are organizing public events to explore the tolerance in the works of afghanistan's native famed poet, notably -- and these are instrumental in developing a positive narrative that changed intolerant ideologies. and then you organizations like
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the foundation for culture and civil society which organize poetry recitals and musical performances on a very large scale, which were previously banned under the taliban. so now, therefore, i will turn it over to you. i believe you will discuss some of the best practices. [inaudible] >> okay, so there are several channels in afghanistan to which community groups are disseminating messages to promote good governance and anticorruption, human rights, women's education. all of these issues which in that building resilience against armed opposition groups. the first our religious institutions which was spoken extensively on. to better to disseminate information about these key issues and mosques, there are
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several notable religious leader training programs such as -- training program on women's rights. the second channel is the media. while many of us are familiar with afghan tv programs to promote democracy, it's really afghanistan over 150 radio stations which are playing an important role, particularly in rural areas. organizations such as equal access have developed radio dramas in partnership with local religious scholars framing peaceful things in a cultural context. finally, there's a number of alternative channels. the grassroots theater in jalalabad for example, uses street theater to promote nonviolent conflict resolution. so let's say it is th is a conft over water rights, the organization will perform a play and then engage the audience in a live discussion as to how they would resolve the issue within their community.
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now come in our fieldwork we identified numerous best practices. for instance, we found the programs were most successful when they used appropriate framework to address sensitive issues. it's noteworthy that the afghanistan branch of planned parenthood -- yes, there is one their -- has address reproductive health issues for nearly four decades, by engaging these issues within an islamic framework. still there is a concern that some societies, foreign construct a sort of created, by foreign actors to undermine islamic principles. so to maintain credibility, even some secular organizations have created partnerships with religious scholars to publicly sanctioned their work. in fact, usaid have done since similar by airing public service announcement which involve religious scholars to discuss about the importance of civil society. second, programs tend to be successful when local committees have the ownership of the
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initiative. several of the programs we study were funded by the u.s. government but interestingly non-were branded as such but and appears to be locally driven. third, many organizations only attempt to go to the ministry of high get and religious affairs to identify religious leaders to work with. we found that initiatives tend to get the most reach when they go beyond these state networks. so individuals associated with state link madrasas or mosque, even the high peace council, tend to have limited credibility special agent in the rural areas. so while engaging these groups can't be avoided, it's important to keep in mind that there is a distinction between the state religious officials and the more trusted local religious leaders. officially islamist groups that were implicated in the kinds of civil war in the taliban era are similarly tainted in the
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public's eyes. fourth, we found counter narratives resonated strongest when they were supported by renowned international religious scholars. two years ago worde cosponsored conferences which brought over 200 afghan religious was with international scholars, big names, all of whom who were invited. during the conferences the participants develop a fatwa against terrorism and suicide bombing but interestingly for security purposes when i thought love was aired on the radio, the names of the local actors had actually been omitted. but many of the civil society groups that we met with still decided to fatwa because of the authoritative way of the international speakers associate with it. in fact, while many faith-based networks we met with were hesitant to engage with foreign governments directly, they specifically requested that organizations like worde and gauge them given the respect for the scholars and our network.
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finally, we found involving local society organizations in peace bill intends to be successful once trust has, that once we foster trust building and once we met the basic needs of the communities. even simple roads and wells which we have invested quite a bit of money in can be an expensive and can go a long way in terms of buying community support. wrong way. so there are several challenges of the civil society activists continues highlighted in our research. security of course has prevented project implementation and monitoring, and i've made it difficult for local to organize public awareness campaigns about extremism. if the bsa remains unsigned and the u.s. were to pursue something close to the zero option, this could jeopardize new efforts on the ground. ..
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>> that foment ethnic or sectarian conflict. so in short, due i to the myriad of actors, it's difficult for activists to develop counternarratives. despite these complications, there is at least a consensus that groups killing civilians trying to create


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