Hibberd attends Global Leadership Forum in Wash. D.C.

Above, right, is U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan who attended the forum. Photo by Randy Hibberd.
Philip A. Janquart
Weiser Mayor Randy Hibberd recently returned from the Global Leadership Forum held in Washington, D.C. on June 3-4.
 The purpose of the forum was to educate leaders on national foreign policy and how diplomacy and humanitarianism can lead to greater economic benefits in the U.S.
 “It’s a non-partisan group of people that promotes diplomacy and humanitarianism aid as a way to forestall having to use military intervention,” Hibberd explained. “The whole forum was about how dollars spent on diplomacy and aid quell the need for military intervention later because what happens is, when people aren’t getting their basic needs met, when they aren’t getting their food or security needs met, it causes unrest and that leads to war. That then leads to having to do intervention and ends up being way more expensive than simply supplying food.”
 Hibberd added that one statistic showed that every dollar spent on foreign aid translates into $4 to $23 back to the U.S.  
But, he said, for every dollar that is not spent on foreign aid, the U.S. ends up paying $4 in military intervention.
 He said that providing aid increases stability, including economic stability, which leads to trade and better trading partner relationships. 
 Using China as an example, Hibberd said some countries provide aid that comes with “strings attached.”
 “They’ll go out and build something a country may want, but there is actually no need for,” he said. “They just do it without taking a look at it. In the U.S., we’ll do a feasibility study to see if it will work. If it all checks out, we turn it over to private industry to take to their lenders and financers, saying, ‘Hey, this proposal will work; will you back us?’ So, it’s a private-public partnership.”
 The American economy benefits, which leads to greater economic stability for all and a strengthened nation, he said.
 Hibberd said his involvement began about a year ago when he received an email asking if he would be interested in being part of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. 
 The coalition is a nonprofit organization formed by American businesses and NGOs (non-governmental organizations), senior national security and foreign policy experts, and faith-based and community leaders from across the U.S. who promote U.S diplomatic and development efforts among politicians and the public.
 “I got an email inviting me to go to lunch at the Arid Club in Boise, so I thought, ‘I’m not real clear on what kind of outfit this is, but I can at least go and if I don’t like it, I can just walk out.’” Representatives from Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch’s offices, as well as Idaho Congressman Russ Fulcher’s office were in attendance.
 Also in attendance was former Idaho Supreme Court Justice and Attorney General Jim Jones, as well as Larry LaRocco who served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Idaho’s 1st congressional district from 1991 to 1995. 
 Then, this year, I got invited to this forum in Washington, D.C. and sometimes Cathy and I are just looking for excuses to travel. I still wasn’t getting much information, and it was starting to spook me, but again we thought it was a good excuse to travel.”
 Hibberd said the forum had nothing to do with the City of Weiser and that he paid all expenses to attend. He and wife Cathy even arrived early to do some sightseeing.
 Turns out the forum was attended by about 500 individuals including civic leaders, state elected officials, university professors, etc.  Speakers included the current U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff George S. Brown.
 “Several people contacted me afterward, when I was still trying to figure out what good I could do and, for instance, with Risch’s office – he is on the foreign relations committee – they were saying to go back and educate; that’s what you can do.”
 The forum included the opportunity to personally meet with Senator James Risch, and aides for Mike Crapo and Russ Fulcher. Hibberd said that although, in the beginning, he wasn’t sure what to make of the invitations, that he is glad that he attended the meeting in Boise, as well as the forum in Washington.
 “I think it’s something very worthwhile,” he said. “Like I said, it’s a bipartisan group and it’s mainly led by volunteers, though they do have some paid staff. It’s sponsored mainly by industry, like Coca-Cola, John Deere, and Deloitte accounting firm. They are big sponsors. And it wasn’t like some forums where after a while, your eyes start getting heavy, you really paid attention. It was never boring.”



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