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December 1, 2009: International Aid

In the introduction to Carol Lancaster's book, Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics, it states: "A twentieth-century innovation, foreign aid has become a familiar and even expected element in international relations. But scholars and government officials continue to debate why countries provide it: some claim that it is primarily a tool of diplomacy, some argue that it is largely intended to support development in poor countries, and still others point out its myriad newer uses."

There are a few interesting take-away messages from this brief statement: 1) The concept of foreign aid is new - a "twentieth-century innovation," 2) Foreign aid is commonplace, and 3) Foreign aid is controversial.

In our dialogue group there are a number of individuals engaged in projects and organizations that provide foreign aid, so in addition to the readings, we expect some interesting personal perspectives on the value of providing international aid and the associated risks.

Please plan for about an hour for the readings. You'll want to look at the optional pieces as well. They round out the readings nicely.

Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics
(Read Chapter One)
by Carol Lancaster

Why Development Aid Fails, by Rupert Taylor

US and Foreign Aid Assistance

Foreign Aid - Who Actually Benefits?
blog post on e.the.people

Volunteers Send Aid through Burma's Backdoor
Christian Science Monitor

U.S. Delays Somalia Aid, Fearing it is Feeding Terrorists
NYTimes, October 1