WASHINGTON - November 30 -
WHERE: U.S. Department of State Entrance
2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC
WHEN: Thursday, December 1, 3:15 p.m. (Press Conference to follow 2:30 p.m. meeting)
CREDENTIALS: Press will need government issue photo ID
"We fight against poverty because faith requires it and conscience demands it," President George W. Bush, 2002
Prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders will meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week to urge the United States to show leadership at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting next month in Hong Kong. Leaders will also encourage the administration be bold in their proposal for poverty-focused development assistance in the president's FY 2007 budget request.
Religious leaders will challenge the administration to push ahead with the trade policies calling for an end to trade-distorting farm subsidies it has proposed for the December WTO meeting. Eliminating subsidies that primarily benefit big agribusiness would help alleviate poverty for farmers in rural America and in developing countries.
Faith leaders will also encourage the administration to live up their pledges of aid to developing nations. "We fight against poverty because faith requires it and conscience demands it," President Bush declared when he announced the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) initiative in 2002. The MCA presented much-needed fresh thinking on how poverty focused development assistance aid should be spent and the president promised adequate funding of the program. The administration also showed its commitment to reducing global poverty by joining other industrialized nations in promising to double aid to Africa at this summer's G8 Summit. Unfortunately, these promises have fallen short. Congress has failed to fully fund the president's requests to ensure his commitments to the world's poorest people.
"As the administration plans its FY2007 budget, our message to the administration is to be bold," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "Bread for the World's 'One Spirit' campaign to increase poverty focused development assistance is to push for an increase of $5 billion. The administration needs to be doing more on Capitol Hill to fight for its promises to reduce global poverty."
Faith leaders attending the meeting will be: Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World; Rabbi Frederick Mark Dobb, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation; Imam Mohamed HagMagid, Executive Director and Imam, All Dulles Area Muslim Society; Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim Chaplin, Georgetown University; Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA); Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Catholic Archbishop of Washington; Bishop Roy I. Sano, Executive Secretary, United Methodist Council of Bishops; Bishop Monroe R. Saunders Jr., Presiding Bishop, The United Church of Jesus Christ, Apostolic; Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Secretary General, Islamic Society of North America; Dr. H. Eric Schockman, President, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger; Dr. Daniel Vestal, Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg, Adas Israel Congregation.