I recently had the opportunity to give the keynote address at the annual dinner put on by the Washington Chapter of the Society for International Development (SID).

In light of the latest, absolutely reprehensible comments to come out of the White House vis-à-vis our friends and neighbors from Haiti and across Africa, it seems appropriate and pertinent to share the video of that talk with all of you, here.

At a dinner where I was humbled to be speaking to room full of hundreds of people who have spent much of their lives at great risk, doing everything they can for those who not only have the least, but who often have nothing, I shared a prescription for how we can – and should! – work to build bridges and create security around the globe.

It’s a message I think the President would do well to hear.

In short, the President should remember that we do not stand alone in this world. Not only that, but we cannot stand alone or build walls – rhetorical or otherwise – to keep others out. As I mentioned in my most recent op-ed for Bloomberg View, doing so dangerously degrades our national security. The tactics of the 20th century that saw the building of the Maginot Line, the Schlieffen Plan, the Iron Curtain, the Bamboo Curtain, the Berlin Wall, economic walls erected through tariffs all led to disaster and should be seen for what they were: an absolute failure.

The 21st century will be characterized by building bridges, not walls. Bridges built between countries and international alliances and powers; bridges that allow for inter-agency co-mingling of hard and soft power; bridges between private and public entities that encourage prosperity and growth; bridges that connect us through strategic communications which spread our values of democracy, liberty, freedom of speech and education, gender equality, and racial equality. Those will be the bridges that allow us to connect with the world around us through word and through deed in a manner that means we can work together to tackle the world’s toughest problems.

Building these bridges won’t immediately fix problems. They will take time, take patience, take trust and partnership, and take incredibly hard work. But they are the only way forward.

As always, thanks for reading.

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