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"We've Got A Lot Of Work To Do"

"We've Got A Lot Of Work To Do"At the University's annual Fares lecture, President Clinton called on Tufts and other internationally-focused universities to help the U.S. play a greater role in the global community.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.14.02] Praising Tufts' 150-year record of international impact, President William Jefferson Clinton called on the University -- and others like it -- to help the U.S. take on a bigger role in the global community. Increasing foreign assistance, Clinton said during Tufts' annual Fares Lecture, is critical to building a safer world.

"It is important to build a world that has more partners and fewer terrorists," Clinton told an audience of 5,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni.

While military strength can be used to fight terrorism, the two-term U.S. president said it will not address the long-term issues that breed hatred.

"We have a strategy of prevent and punish, but that's not enough," Clinton said. "If all you have is prevent and punish, you're doing nothing to build a world with fewer problems." [Listen via WBUR radio]

The key, he said, is increasing foreign aid to strengthen education and health care programs around the world.

But too many people think the U.S. is already giving more than its fair share of foreign aid, Clinton said. And too many believe the money isn't having any impact. [Listen via WBUR radio]

Both beliefs, Clinton said, are wrong.

"Democracy cannot make good policy when the people who vote don't know what the facts are," Clinton said. "This is a great University -- you should fix that."

In reality, Clinton said America ranks "dead last" for the percentage of its budget allocated for foreign assistance. There is plenty of money available in the U.S. budget -- it just requires a change in priorities. [Listen via WBUR radio]

And that requires a dedicated effort to educate both people in the U.S., and those around the world, about the power of international cooperation.

Clinton said Tufts was uniquely positioned to take on this task, thanks to its long-standing international focus.

Citing the University's large study abroad program, its leadership in providing Peace Corps volunteers and its Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Clinton said Tufts has greatly contributed to the welfare and security of the U.S. and the rest of the world.

"When the whole world had turned inward -- with America unfortunately leading the way -- Tufts was looking outward," Clinton said, describing the importance of Tufts' decision in 1933 to open the Fletcher School -- the country's oldest graduate school of international relations.

"Today, if you want the roots of learning, they have to be grounded in the fact of our global interdependence," he said.

That is particularly true in the Middle East, Clinton said.

"With all the bad news in the Middle East, it's easy to be pessimistic," he said. "But I want you to look at the hopeful signs."

Saying that Israelis and Palestinians want to return peace to the region, Clinton said the two parties cannot resolve the tensions alone. "We ought to do whatever is necessary to end the most dangerous conflict in the world," he said.

The first step is ending the violence.

"There is no military solution to this conflict," Clinton said. "Israel is not going away and the Palestinians aren't either." [Listen via WBUR radio]

He added, "people actually want a political solution on both sides, but the violence is confusing them."

Convinced that peace is possible for the region, Clinton stressed the importance of seeking an immediate resolution through compromise.

"[We need to have] an effective peace process under way in the Middle East as soon as possible," Clinton said. While U.S. efforts to broker a resolution may not prove immediately successful, Clinton said the country can not turn its back on the conflict.

"We don't have to succeed, but we have to try," he said.

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