Reflecting on Gayle Smith’s Message of Hope

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One of the things I enjoy the most as CEO of InterAction is the chance to bring together the NGO community and its partners each year at our annual Forum. It's always a tough task in deciding how to allocate the limited amount of time we have available, though each year we are thrilled and grateful for the insightful dialogues that ensue over the three days.

This year we had a special honor and treat – a keynote address by recently appointed USAID Administrator Gayle Smith. Her remarks were not only poignant and captivating, but timely.

Gayle assumed the position of USAID administrator in December 2015, building on her legacy at the White House and as a leader and advocate for development. Her keynote reflected the administration's humanitarian priorities, recognized the challenges we face and praised the progress that has already been made. She called for increased support by all actors. Gayle made some important commitments in advance of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS).

Gayle spoke of the many growing crises around the world – from war and intractable conflicts, to famines and disease – and the imperative role that partnerships play when working with communities to not only respond, but help people recover and rebuild.

U.S. humanitarian NGOs are adapting in a time of unprecedented challenges. On behalf of our members, InterAction will make commitments at the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit. We are honored to recognize the heroes among us who strive every day to make the world a more just, safe, and equitable place. And for all of those who were unable to join us at our Forum this year, I hope you will also enjoy Gayle's insights, advice and words of praise for how humanitarians and development professionals around the global continue to, "beat the toughest of odds and inspire hope in the darkest of places."

Watch Gayle Smith’s Keynote.