Pulte Institute, USGLC advocate for U.S. global leadership during COVID-19

Author: Heather Asiala

Person Michael Sweikar

Each year, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) gathers on Capitol Hill to advocate for the United States to continue to play a global leadership role through development and diplomacy. Among the contingency is Michael Sweikar, Executive Director of the Pulte Institute for Global Development, who serves as an Indiana advisory committee member to the USGLC. 

This year was much different, however, due to COVID-19 and the unrest in our country today. Typically, Sweikar and other USGLC members meet face to face with Indiana’s Senators and Representatives at the annual USGLC State Leaders Summit; this year they met virtually via Zoom.

Priorities this year from the Indiana delegation included the message that U.S. global leadership in combating the COVID-19 pandemic around the world is directly tied to protecting the health, security, and economic interests of all Americans. In addition, they weighed in on the importance of investment for the International Affairs Budget as part of a comprehensive domestic response to this pandemic threat.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that infectious diseases do not have borders,” explains Sweikar. “In addition, other current legislation such as the Global Fragility Act (GFA) and its funding and implementation becomes even more important due to the challenges that fragile states now face with COVID-19.”

The Keough School of Global Affairs and the Pulte Institute are currently assisting government agencies to consider options for the effective monitoring and evaluation of GFA programming in the future. “We are facing a world where poverty and inequality are becoming exacerbated by COVID-19, and it is critical that the U.S. lead this effort globally,” says Sweikar.“

The International Affairs Budget is typically only around one percent of the total federal budget of the U.S. government.  The majority of the International Affairs Budget is used to fund the work of government agencies, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). These agencies, in partnership with organizations like the University of Notre Dame, work to address the root causes of global poverty and inequality.

The USGLC “works in our nation’s capital and across the country to strengthen America’s civilian-led tools — development and diplomacy — alongside defense. By advocating for a strong International Affairs Budget, the USGLC is working to make America’s international affairs programs a keystone of U.S. foreign policy."

The Pulte Institute for Global Development—an integral part of the new Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame—works to address global poverty and inequality through policy, practice, and partnership. 

Contact: Heather Asiala, Communications Program Manager, Pulte Institute for Global Development, h.asiala@nd.edu