More than two dozen groups ensure presidential candidates discuss international issues

By Oxfam

'US in the World' makes foreign affairs part of the 2020 debate

Oxfam America joins a coalition of more than twenty organizations concerned about international development, human rights, national security, migration, climate change, and veterans’ issues, have joined together to sponsor a series of one-on-one interviews with presidential candidates focused on the international issues that have gone woefully under discussed on the campaign trail. The first of its kind series will be broadcast by NowThis and the social media platforms of the participating groups, reaching a combined audience of tens of millions of Americans.

The series will feature expert interviewers, not talking-heads, to help give a richer sense of the candidates’ plans and views. All the major party Presidential candidates have been invited to participate, and the series will launch today with an interview with Democratic candidate Andrew Yang.

“From income inequality, to climate change, refugees to war and peace, gender equality to preventing corruption, how the US President engages in global issues impacts Americans and people across the world, yet too many of these issues are all-but-ignored in debates, rallies and other forums,” said Ben Grossman-Cohen, Global Campaign Manager for Oxfam America. “US in the World seeks to shed light on how presidential candidates aim to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

“Foreign policy should be made by and for the people — yet in administration after administration, it’s an elite few, often looking after their own private interests, who end up deciding how the US interacts with the rest of the world,” said Kate Kizer, Policy Director at Win Without War. “We hope this series gives everyday people a chance to hear what candidates would do with the presidency’s immense power around the world, so that they too can help to shape it.”

“The US in the World series is as important as any debate, townhall, or community gathering. It’s an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates and how they think about shaping their foreign policy platforms. For too long, the national conversation has separated domestic and foreign policies; but we know each impacts the other. This series shines a light on the way these candidates are thinking of the role of the United States in an increasingly interconnected global community,” said Hoda Hawa, Washington, DC Director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

“America’s endless wars won’t stop until voters demand it from their presidential candidates,” explained Diana Ohlbaum, FCNL’s Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy. “Getting the candidates – Republicans and Democrats – to explain how they see our role in the world elevates this issue and ensures it stays relevant. These interviews will allow voters to evaluate candidates’ plans and make an informed choice.”

“The United States is withdrawing from global leadership even as nationalism and autocratic rule are on the rise around the world,” said Rev. Adam Taylor, Executive Director of Sojourners. “From the climate crisis to justice and human rights for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, to armed conflicts, many of our most pressing national problems are global in nature. It is also a moral imperative to alleviate suffering and end extreme poverty in the world. For that, we must elect a candidate with a vision and plans for how to provide American global leadership. I am optimistic for how these interviews will create a new space for presidential hopefuls to present their views to American voters on some of the most pressing international issues of our time.”

“It's becoming clearer every day – 2020 is going to be a foreign policy election,” said Andrew Albertson, Executive Director of Foreign Policy for America. “With Trump marching us toward a disastrous new war with Iran, Russia still trying to meddle in our democracy, and the consequences of climate change all around us, we need to hear candidates' vision for U.S. engagement in the world now more than ever. Foreign Policy for America is proud to participate in the U.S. in the World series, and we hope candidates will use this vital opportunity to champion diplomacy first foreign policy.”

“This is a critical moment to engage our constituencies and prospective leaders on the importance of US leadership in development and human rights,” said David Ray, CARE’s Vice President for Policy & Advocacy. “Given the deep-rooted inequality that persists at home and around the globe, especially for women and marginalized communities, this U.S. in the World series presents an exciting and timely opportunity to bring poverty and injustice to the fore of conversations with our electorate – making the connections between the progress we aspire to here at home, to the need for engagement and progress globally.”

Expert interviewers include Elise Labott, Journalist-in-Residence at the Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and former Global Affairs Correspondent for CNN; Heather Hurlburt, Director of the New Models of Policy Change project at New America's Political Reform program and former Executive Director of the National Security Network; and Kate Brannen, Editorial Director of Just Security and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.

Organizations joining Oxfam America include MoveOn, Win Without War, Sojourners, Indivisible, Amnesty International USA, Save the Children, Save the Children Action Network,, Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund, Auburn Seminary, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Foreign Policy For America, United We Dream, Common Defense, Beyond the Bomb, Women's Action for New Directions, Human Rights Watch, International Rescue Committee, Southern Border Communities Coalition, CARE, National Council of Churches, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, HealthGap, STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, American Jewish World Service, and the Oxfam America Action Fund.

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