Plan International USA CEO Moderates Panel at SID World Congress
Tessie San Martin, President and CEO of Plan International USA, was a featured moderator at this year’s Society for International Development (SID) World Congress. The plenary event panel was assembled to discuss the relationship between conflict and development.
The panel included a number of distinguished speakers, including Ambassador Rick Barton, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations; Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator of USAID; Alonzo Fulgham, Vice President of IRD; and Tom Wheelock, Senior Director and Vice President, Communities in Transition, of Creative Associates International. Dr. Arthur B. Keys, Jr., President and CEO of IRD, introduced the panel and provided opening remarks about the complex relationship between conflict and development.
San Martin, a SID board member, framed the hour's discussion by addressing development priorities, the relationship between civil and military groups in conflict settings, and the empowerment of girls and women for long-term community and economic growth.
San Martin promoted discussion among the panelists by addressing the question of local participation, “When we talk about ownership and local voices, one question is whose local voice? There are a number of vulnerable groups,” she said. “How do you deal with ‘whose voice?’”
The panelists spoke about the need for active inclusion of women in every dimension of development work. Gender equity is especially important as development organizations design and implement community-based solutions. Local community control was another consistent theme in the panel’s discussion.
During the question and answer portion of the panel, an audience member asked, “What about men and boys?” Ambassador Barton answered the question by affirming the role of men in promoting gender equity; getting men’s attention on the rights of women and girls is critical to community and international development. “These are not women’s issues, they are society’s issues. Men and boys need to come a long way.”
In concluding the panel, San Martin secured agreement among the speakers that creating lasting results requires new ways of looking at development, and development organizations must create innovative programs that meet vulnerable people at the community level.
Watch video from the event.
The Society for International Development (SID) is a global forum of individuals and institutions concerned with sustainable economic, social and political development. Today, SID has over 3,000 members in 80 countries and over 45 local chapters worldwide. It works with more than 100 associations, networks, and institutions involving parliamentarians, academics, students, political leaders, and development experts, both at local and international levels.