Brown-bag focuses on USAID’s mission to build self-reliance



Brown-bag focuses on USAID’s mission to build self-reliance

The eighth presentation of the InterAgency Brown-Bag Lecture Series for CGSC academic year 2020 was conducted March 12, in the Arnold Conference Room in the Lewis and Clark Center on Fort Leavenworth. Stephanie Chetraru, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Distinguished Chair for Development Studies, spoke on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) role in combatting malign Kremlin influence and predatory Chinese lending around the world.

Stephanie Chetraru, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Distinguished Chair for Development Studies, discusses USAID's role in countering Russian and Chinese influence during the InterAgency Brown-Bag Lecture on March 12, 2020.

Stephanie Chetraru, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Distinguished Chair for Development Studies, discusses USAID’s role in countering Russian and Chinese influence during the InterAgency Brown-Bag Lecture on March 12, 2020.

Stephanie Chetraru, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Distinguished Chair for Development Studies, discusses USAID’s role in countering Russian and Chinese influence during the InterAgency Brown-Bag Lecture on March 12, 2020.

Chetraru began her presentation with a brief review of USAID’s overall mission of building self-reliance in impoverished communities around the world; something USAID does on a limited budget – less than half of one percent of the U.S. government’s budget. Chetraru stated that USAID’s primary goal, like that of her military counterparts, is to work themselves out of a job. “The less war, the better… The less poverty, the better,” said Chetraru.

Chetraru went on to discuss USAID’s efforts to counter Kremlin influence and disinformation campaigns. Chetraru discussed USAID role in strengthening business sectors in the countries surrounding Russia, using shifting Moldova’s wine market from Russia to the European Union as an example. She also spoke about predatory lending from China, which threatens the stability of financially vulnerable Eastern European and Eurasian countries, before taking questions from the audience.

Stephanie Chetraru is a commissioned Foreign Service Officer with USAID. During her 16-year career with USAID, she has served at U.S. embassies in El Salvador, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, and Moldova. Prior to her USAID service, Chetraru was a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, a consultant for the think tank Inter-American Dialogue, and a community liaison for Glamis Gold/Honduras. She is a graduate of James Madison University (B.A.) and Illinois State University (M.A.). She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Security Studies at Kansas State University.

The InterAgency Brown-Bag Lecture Series is co-hosted by the CGSC Foundation’s Simons Center with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School (CGSS). The series is an extracurricular, interagency topic-focused series that is intended to help enrich the CGSS curriculum. The presentations are scheduled each month. The CGSC Foundation and the Simons Center have received support for all brown-bag lectures in academic year 2020 from First Command in Leavenworth, Kansas.

For more photos from the lecture see the album on the Foundation’s Flickr site

To view the entire lecture click the video below.

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