U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green's Interview with EWTN'S Lauren Ashburn

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim


For Immediate Release

Friday, November 16, 2018
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

November 15, 2018
EWTN Studio
Washington, D.C.

QUESTION: Joining me now is the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development Mark Green. Welcome back to the program.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: It's great to be with you.

QUESTION: Really great to have you. This is personal for you. This initiative is part of your past. Tell us.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: So 30 years ago, a long time ago, when I started off on all this, my wife and I were teachers at a school in Kenya; it was a Quaker school that we were at, and we saw how desperate kids were to get what would be a pale shadow of the education that I think we take for granted here, so it was a wonderful opportunity to help marginalized kids, kids who would otherwise be entirely left behind, give them some of the skills that they would need to be able to compete and to be successful. Their passion is what drives me. If I can harness any of that, then we'll be successful.

QUESTION: The numbers of kids who are not educated, staggering, staggering, one in every five --


QUESTION: -- are out of school, so how is USAID collaborating with organizations around the world, in particular faith-based organizations, to change that number?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: It's reaching into those marginalized communities where kids don't have meaningful access to education. Sadly, in the world today, so much of it's displaced, so you have so many kids --

QUESTION: People in camps.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: They're in camps or they're on the move, and so how do we reach them? And very often, it's working with non-traditional schools or faith-based schools and institutions who are oftentimes working in these areas, and so they're able to deliver some semblance of an education.

QUESTION: So the goal is to give them money to continue to do that? Let me give you another statistic that was in your report. Sixty-nine million new teachers are needed by 2030 to get primary and secondary education to these children who do not have that.


QUESTION: So why is this investment right now so critical to USAID?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: No country can be self-reliant. No country can be -- can have sustainable growth if it doesn't have an educated workforce, if it doesn't have educated mothers who can make those right choices for their families, so it really is the key to everything else that we do.

QUESTION: One could make the argument that it is also helpful on the national security level, and on a foreign policy level, so -- how so?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, so first off, in too many parts of the world, we see segments, communities that are left out, and you know, we were talking off the air, but you have, for example, young Rohingya kids in Burma who haven't been able to go to school and get an education for five or six years. I don't think that they're radicalized. They will be if that continues on, if they don't have access to meaningful educational opportunity, so they gain the tools for the future. We have to reach out and be able to provide some hope, some semblance of education.

QUESTION: In places of conflict, severe conflict, what's the biggest challenge to guaranteeing that this program is going to work?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, there are no guarantees, of course, in conflict settings, but children in crisis and conflict is what I worry about more than anything else in the world. I'm off on a, what gets you up in the middle of the night; this is what gets me up in the middle of the night, children being born in displaced settings and, therefore, having no hope for the future, so we have to find unconventional ways. Technology's our friend. There are ways of working with technology to help deliver, but it's working with, often, mission-driven organizations, many of them faith-based, some of them not, but whatever it takes to be able to reach and provide some access to education, so those kids can begin to realize their abilities, but also have some hope.

When people don't have any hope at all, that's when you begin to get the problems that we're talking about; that's when you get to radicalization; that's when you get to the truly marginalized that I think eventually will present national security risk to us.

QUESTION: This is such an important issue. I wish we could spend much more time talking about it. Mark Green, USAID. Thank you.