Press Release
U.S. Agency for International Development
Washington , DC
Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lebanon Public Affairs Update


Washington , D.C. - The Public Diplomacy office for Middle Eastern and MEPI Affairs at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) conducted a two-hour briefing on the Lebanon humanitarian crisis and the U.S. relief response for the Lebanese American community of the greater Washington DC area on August 11.

This was one of a series of briefings conducted by the Department of State and USAID. Participants included representatives from non-governmental organizations, several Lebanese media personalities and the community at large.

USAID's humanitarian briefing initiative is designed to present an accurate image of America 's response to the unfortunate situation in Lebanon .

Among the USAID officials at the briefing were Jim Kunder, assistant administrator for Asia and Near East Bureau; William Garvelink, senior deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance; Ed Fox, assistance administrator for Legislative and Public Affairs; Jeff Grieco, senior deputy assistant administrator; and Dan Runde, director of the Office of Global Development Alliances. They were joined by Gina Abercrombie Winstanley, director of the Office of Lebanon Affairs at the Department of State to explain the U.S. response from all aspects -- humanitarian, political, private participation and disaster relief.

The meeting was concluded with a tour of the Lebanon situation room at USAID headquarters.

Walid Maalouf, the principal planner and moderator of the Lebanese American briefing, said the information that was disseminated was crucial for the community to know because the U.S. government is doing more than the community knows.

Members of the Lebanese American community have recommended some very important ideas, and they offered to participate in any humanitarian mission USAID would like to undertake in response to the country's needs.

On August 30, the Department of State's Public Affairs Office organized a meeting for several Lebanese American leaders who met Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs C. David Welch to discuss the crisis in Lebanon . The group was also briefed by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Affairs Robin Meyer and USAID's Gregory Gottlieb, the acting director of Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.