Forum 2012

Thank You!

 This year’s Forum brought together more than 1,000 members of our community to hear top-notch speakers, share ideas, network and celebrate our accomplishments. Special thanks go to our sponsors, staff and volunteers who made Forum 2012 a great success. See you in 2013!

Monday Highlights

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The Role of Development in U.S. Global Engagement

With shrinking foreign assistance budgets and a changing aid landscape overall, there needs to be a more focused, efficient approach to development, said several speakers at the opening plenary session at InterAction’s annual Forum conference in Crystal City, Virginia on Monday.

“Assistance budgets are tighter and our funders are demanding greater effectiveness, accountability, transparency,” said USAID Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg in the opening plenary session, which looked at the role of development in U.S. global engagement.


hillMillions to 1 Billion

Minh Nguyet Le, country representative from Oxfam America in Vietnam, talked about the work she is doing there which focuses on rice production and is based on the principle that small farmers can create big change. 


hillQuality: Greater Coherence Between Standards

Questions were raised regarding the challenges and complexities organizations face today with multiple sets of standards, how and who should be consulted regarding this problem, and what the future of humanitarian quality and architecture could be. 


Has Busan Changed the World?

This was the fundamental question Monday’s workshop sought to answer. The Busan outcome document, agreed upon at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) in Busan, South Korea, has the potential to significantly change U.S. government policy.


What Should Replace the MDGs?

Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of UNDP, jumpstarted the discussion on the future of the MDGs by reaffirming their impact and emphasizing the need to meet commitments by 2015.  She argued that the MDGs are right to place human development at the center of debate, but that thinking in terms of “success” or “failure” is too narrow a view of progress. 

Tuesday Highlights

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New Actors New Roles

This plenary highlighted the rapidly changing context for humanitarian and development work and the promise of technical innovation in encouraging ever wider engagement in solving humanitarian and development challenges.



hillMedia Partnerships

Lisa Anderson, Editor of Thomson Reuters Foundation’s TrustLaw Women, Bill Warren, Vice President of Foundation Relations and Grants at National Geographic Society, and Dan Green, Deputy Director of Strategic Media Partnerships at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discussed how to approach partnerships. 


hillSelling U.S. Foreign Assistance

NGOs confront the challenge of promoting foreign assistance spending to a Congress faced with unprecedented economic pressures. Without a domestic constituency, the conventional wisdom says that aid funding would be easy to cut.


Using Games to Change Behavior

As technology creates a smaller world and shatters geographical borders, how does the NGO community use new technologies to its advantage?


Youth, Gender and Political Change

Co-sponsored by InterAction's Commission on the Advancement of Women and the Alliance for International Youth Development (AIYD). Day two at InterAction’s Annual Forum had an inspiring and youthful start as the morning plenary focused on youth, gender and political change. 

Wednesday Highlights

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Conversation with World Bank President Robert Zoellick

As his presidency comes to an end at the World Bank Group, Robert Zoellick discussed his legacy and the future of the institution with InterAction president and CEO Sam Worthington.



hillLiving On The Edge

The InterAction Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Working Group hosted a panel, Living on the Edge: Building Resilience in Coastal Cities, to discuss the relationship between coastal cities, disaster risk, and climate change.


hillDisaster Relief: Encouraging Donations

Funding appeals during an emergency require nuanced messaging, a challenge which was tackled in a workshop on the final day of Forum 2012.  The Ad Council’s Tony Foleno and Jamie Corder of the Boulder-based research company Egg Strategy, presented results from several months of research into the best messaging tactics in an emergency.


Igniting Change

A recent convergence of government interest, private sector investment and available technology has renewed and highlighted the issue of clean cookstoves on the development agenda. 


The Evolution of Multilateral Institutions in a Globalizing World

The final session of the 2012 InterAction Forum started with a conversation with World Bank president Robert Zoellick, who discussed recent shifts at the Bank and how the institution must change to remain relevant going forward.



Pictures courtesy of Stephen Elliot  (