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SOTU 2014: Obama, Africa, and the Pope
President Barack Obama participates in a joint press conference with President Macky Sall of Senegal at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
What President Obama says about U.S. global priorities in tomorrow's State of the Union address can set the tone for several upcoming opportunities to forge historic partnerships to make progress on global hunger and poverty.
In March, the president will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The topic of their discussion will be global inequality. The World Economic Forum identified the rising gap between rich and poor as the greatest threat to global stability for the next decade.
In April, more than 500 young African leaders will be coming to Washington, DC, as part of the president's new Young African Leaders Initiative. The program will provide both leadership training and mentoring in the United States, and opportunities for participants to put new skills to use to build economic opportunity in their communities once they return home.
And last week, the White House announced that the president will host the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on August 5-6. The summit will bring African presidents from across the continent to Washington to strengthen ties and build on the progress made since Obama's visit to three African countries in June 2013. During that trip, the U.S. president focused on commitments to global food security; expanding economic growth, strengthening democratic institutions, and investing in the next generation of African leaders.
This year's SOTU themes can pave the way to strengthen partnerships with these new audiences in the global community -- to the benefit of everyone, but particularly the world's 842 million hungry people.
By Michele Learner and Faustine Wabwire, Bread for the World Institute
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