I went home to New York for Easter weekend and was surprised to find my work life infiltrating the holiday weekend. On Saturday night I went to a popular Broadway musical. The theatre was packed, the production phenomenal and the applause lengthy. The surprise came after the curtain came down and the lead actor asked the audience to give money to a charity that helps prevent disease in Africa. My curiosity was piqued by the recipient. I had never seen a Broadway actor pitch for any charity outside of the U.S before. Surprise number two came during Easter services at the church I have been going to since I was a little girl. Three quarters of the way through, a woman went to the pulpit and spoke about a church trip she had made to Africa. The story was riveting, and then she came to the point -- a plea for the congregation to give generously this year because everything donated on Easter Sunday would go to charities in Africa.
Working in Washington, one can lose perspective on what the general public is focusing on at any given time.
Having worked at USAID and now the State Department, I was well versed on the situation in Africa and development in the region. The President's unprecedented increase in aid to Africa surpasses that of any of his predecessors; the richest man in America devotes a large portion of his foundation to the cause; and the most visible celebrity in America adopts children from, visits, and gives time and money to this region.
I've noticed "Africa:"on many of the resume I've received lately. It seems as if every high school and college student is racing to do good work on the continent of Africa. I have often asked myself whether this is a trend, or a sustainable interest of the American people. Is this the "in" cause due to all the attention high profile names have given to it, or is this a cause the general public believes is important to global stability?
Today, DipNote is partnering with Sodahead, a polling company, to quantify your thoughts on various foreign policy issues. This is your poll, devoid of any bias. The only opinions taken will be the ones you give. The poll will attempt to determine broad trends of thought with regard to an international issue.