U.S. Agency for International Development
Washington , DC
February 21, 2007
USAID Hosts Lebanese American Renaissance Partnership
WASHINGTON , D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently hosted the Lebanese American Renaissance Partnership (LARP) for a briefing on current and future infrastructure development programs in Lebanon and the Middle East at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
USAID's Office of Public Diplomacy for Middle Eastern & Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Affairs conducted this meeting to strengthen the Lebanese-American Diaspora's participation in rebuilding Lebanon after the July 2006 conflict in that country.
LARP is an initiative of successful Lebanese American business, entrepreneurs and community leaders diverse in their skills and geographical location around the United States. Their intent is to make their collective experience and extensive networks available as a resource and conduit between entrepreneurs in Lebanon and their United States emigrant counterparts.
Walid Maalouf, Director of Public Diplomacy for Middle Eastern and MEPI Affairs, said “LARP members are anxious to take an active role in Lebanon's reconstruction and contribute to the stability and security of their mother country.”
LARP was formed as a result of President Bush's general request for Americans to help Lebanon recover from the destruction of the July conflict. Group members have expressed interest in partnering with USAID to help municipalities and non-governmental organizations that need resources to help Lebanese citizens trying to recover and rebuild after the conflict.
Speakers at the event included USAID's Edward Fox, Assistant Administrator for Legislative and Public Affairs, Jeff Grieco, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Legislative and Public Affairs and David McCloud, Director of the Middle East Affairs office in the Asia and Near East Bureau.
At the briefing, Fox emphasized the importance of such meetings between Lebanese Americans and USAID so the two can gain knowledge from each other and find better ways to help Lebanon and the Middle East region through development programs. McCloud gave the group a breakdown of the United State's financial commitment to Lebanon, which has now reached $1 billion, while Grieco presented a training session to educate LARP members about how to apply for USAID assistance to help them implement projects in Lebanon.