Friday, June 15, 2007

Advocates Raise Global Poverty Concerns on Capitol Hill at CARE's National Conference

Advocates Raise Global Poverty Concerns on Capitol Hill at CARE's National Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 13, 2007) - Presidential campaigning is heating up the debate over the United States and its role in the world, helping to mobilize more Americans to get involved in issues, like poverty, that shape our global community. This year, more than 300 CARE supporters from across the country are traveling at their own expense to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the poor by participating in CARE's National Conference on June 13 and 14. Many are members of the CARE Action Network, or CAN, which helps Americans influence U.S. policies that affect global poverty

This marks the fifth year of the conference and the ranks of supporters continue to swell, inspiring the conference theme: "The Voice of One, The Power of Many." "It's striking just how many people are looking for ways to become engaged in the fight against global poverty," says Kate Bunting, deputy director for CAN. "People are recognizing that they can change policies and decisions by making their voices heard."

Participants will take part in panel sessions exploring critical issues such as climate change and poverty; gender based violence; global health, including HIV and AIDS; education; and hunger. CARE President Helene D. Gayle will open the conference with reflections on CARE's work today, 61 years after its founding. Keynote addresses will follow from Ann Compton, ABC News White House Correspondent; Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Chair, House Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee. A special highlight will be the "I Am Powerful" award, presented by actress and CARE ambassador Sarah Michelle Gellar to a woman who has become empowered to change her community for the better.

"I am honored to present the 'I Am Powerful' award," says Sarah Michelle Geller. "I just returned from visiting CARE programs in Guatemala, where I saw firsthand how empowering women can lead to a better life for everyone. I feel strongly about recognizing women who are taking action to change their lives and improve their communities."

The following day, Bill Novelli, CEO of AARP and former executive vice president at CARE, will address the gathering prior to a day of meetings with members of Congress and other influential policymakers. Conference participants will proceed in groups to Capitol Hill, where they will go door to door, urging their congressional representatives to take action on key issues in the fight against global poverty, including:

Support for robust funding for poverty-focused development programs, including basic education, family planning, maternal and child health, clean water and emergency relief in places like Darfur, Sudan.
Support for legislation to eliminate the arbitrary abstinence provision in funding for HIV and AIDS.
Support for education for girls through the Education for All Act of 2007.
CARE addresses the complex social, economic and political causes at the root of poverty in 66 countries, placing a special emphasis on empowering marginalized women and girls. Worldwide, 1.3 billion people battle to survive on $1 a day or less. Nearly 70 percent of these people are women and girls.

"CARE's work clearly shows that empowering individuals, especially women and girls, has a dramatic impact in overcoming poverty," Dr. Gayle says. "This impact is felt across generations and across communities because the power of women has a ripple effect that spreads far and wide. It is women who weave families and societies together, making the whole stronger than its parts. We in the United States have the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with these women by making sure that our representatives know just how much reducing world poverty matters to us."

Media Contacts:

Washington, D.C.: Alina Labrada,, (404) 457-4644

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