On June 9, the leading international humanitarian and development organization CARE hosted its first-ever Virtual Advocacy Summit. CARE transformed its annual CARE National Conference, which has been held in Washington, DC for the past 17 years, into a dynamic digital gathering, open to all. The event included high-caliber speakers, in-depth conversation, and plenty of inspiration about how we can all do our part in the global fight for gender equality, even during times of crisis.
The Virtual Summit focused on the unprecedented challenge presented by COVID-19 that threatens to reverse decades of progress toward ending global poverty and hunger. Speakers and participants discussed how with economies shuttered, there is a very real possibility that more than 500 million people will slip back into poverty. The event provided people interested in speaking out about injustice, especially gender injustice, the avenue and tools to do just that.
“The pandemic is having a profound impact on vulnerable people around the world from New York City to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. In the struggle for lives and livelihoods in the face of COVID-19, women and girls – especially those living in poverty, in countries experiencing conflict, and in refugee and displacement settings – face unique challenges. As a global community, it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that women are not overlooked and underserved as the world recovers and rebuilds,” said Michelle Nunn, President & CEO of CARE. “CARE is working tirelessly to help struggling communities around the world respond to this pandemic equitably and justly so that all of us come out of it stronger. We invited people from all walks of life to join the CARE Virtual Summit to learn about these challenges and how they can become part of the solution.”
As we face the challenges of both a global pandemic and systemic racism in the U.S., CARE is standing in solidarity with the most marginalized populations fighting to build a more just and equal world. While the focus of the Summit remained largely on the global COVID response, the event also addressed the moment that we are in and the intersection between racial justice and social justice.
Key speakers included: Michelle Nunn, President and CEO, CARE; Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight Action; Representative Susan Brooks; Sylvia M. Burwell, President, American University; Ambassador Mark Green; Honorable Mark Dybul, Former United States Global AIDS Coordinator; Helene Gayle, President and CEO, Chicago Community Trust; Iman, CARE’s Global Advocate; Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama; Anja Manuel, Co-founder and Partner, Rice, Hadley, Gates, and Manuel LLC; Representative Grace Meng; Bellamy Young, Actress, Singer and CARE Ambassador; Senator Cory Booker; Sofia Sprechmann, Secretary General, CARE International, Amanda Gorman, Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, and more.
The CARE Virtual Summit was open to anyone interested in these issues to meet other passionate advocates, learn about the latest policy issues affecting women and girls around the world, and meet Members of Congress to speak up and stand in solidarity.
CARE encouraged conference participants to sign the petition asking to Congress to put women and girls at the center of the COVID-19 response. CARE Action advocates are calling on the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to include additional funding — no less than $12 billion for the global response — for prevention and response in the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world.
The CARE Virtual Summit was generously supported by Delta, The UPS Foundation, Cargill, and P&G.
In a virtual invite-only gathering prior to the Summit, CARE hosted members of its Global Leaders Network (GLN) to hear from US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as well as Admiral Mike Mullen (USN, Ret.), Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Patrick Leahy, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Michèle Flournoy, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Vice Chair, CARE Board of Directors on the future of U.S. National Security.
The GLN also hosted a conversation on First Families and Humanitarian Leadership with Neil Bush, Chairman of the Board, Points of Light Founder, George H.W. Bush Foundation for China-U.S. Relations, Jason Carter, Partner, Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP, Chair, The Carter Center , Susan Eisenhower, Chair, The Eisenhower Group, and author, How Ike Led (Thomas Dunne Books, 2020) and Lynda Johnson Robb and Lucinda Robb Board Member, Library of Congress Rubenstein Awards Board member, Nat’l Archives Foundation.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to confront hunger, ensure nutrition and food security for all, improve education and health, create economic opportunity and respond to emergencies. In 2019, CARE worked in 100 countries and reached more than 68 million people around the world.