“Today, I am going to die” — A Syrian refugee's story

Ahmed’s hands hovered over the tea cups and he paused, sucking in his breath. When he spoke, it was barely above a whisper. “That’s when I surrendered myself,” he said. “To this certainty: today, I am going to die.”

Ahmed, 32, is a Syrian refugee living in northern Lebanon with his family. Just a few years ago, he was working at a prominent job and living in his own home with his wife and two children, busy, successful, and satisfied.

Refugee crisis: We must not forget where needs are greatest

We have all seen the heartbreaking imagery of refugees desperately trying to escape war and persecution for the safety of Europe. Some, like the now infamous photograph of Syrian man Laith Majid in tears clutching his two children just off the Greek Island of Kos, have ended happily. Others, notably the lifeless body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi on the shores of Turkey, ended tragically.

An Opening and an Opportunity in Central America

Ambassador Daniel Speckhard, president & CEO of Lutheran World Relief, wrote this op-ed that was published by The Hill on Sept. 3, 2015.

Five things you should know about children in armed conflict

The first thing that may come to mind when thinking about children in armed conflict is the use of child soldiers. Images of small boys and girls with faces covered in dirt and war paint, awkwardly hugging rifles close to their bodies that seem almost as tall as them, fill our minds.

Providing Aid to the People, Needing Peace as the Crisis Continues

This July marks the 4 year anniversary of independence in South Sudan. However, in its current state there remains very little to celebrate in the young country.

InterAction Forum Inspires New Thoughts On Development

The InterAction Forum, held recently in Washington, D.C., explored solutions to improve the lives of the world’s poor and marginalized. I was able to participate as a panelist on the session, “Mind the Gap: Creating Economic Opportunities for Youth.”

As a consultant who works on youth employment issues for FHI 360’s Workforce Connections project, spending time with like-minded peers from the development community helped me to gain a fresh perspective on my work.

USAID Moving On Up on Aid Transparency

In 2014 USAID ranked at the bottom of the “Fair” category of Publish What You Fund’s Aid Transparency Index, narrowly missing joining a few fellow U.S. government agencies that were rated as “Poor.” Less than a year later USAID has jumped into the “Good” category. That improvement, noted in PWYF’s 2015 U.S. Aid Transparency Review, clearly demonstrates that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Rising to the Challenge of Local Ownership: Are We Adapting Fast Enough?

When it comes to local ownership and local solutions, we are well past the point of asking whether we can or should do this.  As USAID’s Counselor to the Agency Susan Reichle has said, for USAID to remain a leading development agency, “we have to put partnering locally front and center.”

Forum Takeaways and Future Action

This June, InterAction held its 31st annual Forum. More than 1,000 attendees from over 350 organizations participated in the three-day event.
 
In an effort to synthesize three days of stimulating conversations, brainstorming sessions, and building connections with many of you at InterAction’s Forum 2015, let’s reflect on some key takeaways:
 

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