On Nov. 3, 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID). It was the first U.S. foreign assistance
organization whose primary emphasis was on long-range economic and social development
assistance to foreign countries. USAID's origins were planted shortly after
World War II ended in 1945.
On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall shared with the world
a plan to commit significant U.S. resources as a way of responding to calls
to rebuild Europe's infrastructure and economy following the War. In what would
come to be known as the Marshall Plan, the United States helped stabilize a
post-war Europe by providing financial and technical assistance through the
European Recovery Act of 1947.
In his inaugural address in January 1949, President Truman announced that
four major themes would guide American foreign policy in the post-war period.
Support for the United Nations, programs for the economic recovery of Europe
from the destruction of the war (The Marshall Plan), assistance to free nations
to resist aggression (embodied in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and
“Point Four”, to "embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our
scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and
growth of underdeveloped areas.”
Truman appointed as Assistant Secretary of State to be in charge of the Point
Four program. Bennett was particularly interested in the area of adult education.
He believed that adults could benefit from educational opportunities and the
Point Four program gave him the opportunity to put his theory into practice.
Bennett immediately began the development of a university and technical school
in Ethiopia with Ethiopian Emperor Haile Salase.
Bennett died in a plane crash the following year in Iran, but the success
of Alemya College and Jimma Agricultural and Technical School in Ethiopia led
to President Kennedy’s call to make the Point Four program permanent through
the establishment of the USAID. As a result of the OSU education initiative
in Ethiopia in spearheading the Point Four program, OSU’s legacy as a leader
in international development was set in stone. OSU and USAID had a very productive
relationship for over two decades until the fall of the Soviet Union allowed
deep budget cuts in all areas of international development. For more than 2
decades now there has been no relationship between OSU and USAID.
On February 8 the Center for International Trade and Development hosted Paul
Weisenfeld, (USAID Assistant to the Administrator directing the Bureau for Food
Security) as the Wes Watkins distinguished Lecturer. The Bureau of Food Security
leads President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative. This lecture was timely
as USAID has recently announced what it calls “an exciting and ambitious” program
to engage universities and research institutes in novel ways to improve the
agency’s ability to define and solve large development challenges. I believe
this is an opportunity for OSU to recapture its legacy as the leader in international
Paul Weisenfeld presented his lecture “The Future of Global Food Security” in
the Wes Watkins Distinguished Lectureship Series on Feb. 8, 2012 to approximately
90 students, faculty and community members. Weisenfeld, from the U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID), is currently the Assistant to the Administrator,
directing the Bureau for Food Security, which leads President Obama’s Feed the
“Food security is at the core of transforming rural economies overseas,”
Recently, increased efforts are being made in the area of agricultural development
as a result of increased food prices in 2007 and 2008, which resulted, at least
in part, in food instability in at least 30 countries.
He talked about some of the various efforts the organization is making across
the world in conjunction with other groups to ease suffering and chronic hunger,
noting that their development efforts are never made alone, but with other organizations.
USAID targets 20 countries that meet two criteria, one being there is poverty
within the country and two, that the country is investing its own funds to try
and improve development opportunities. In order to have long-term effectiveness,
programs have to be “country-lead,” meaning the country has to develop its own
programs and have some sort of buy-in to maintain development efforts, Weisenfeld
Furthermore, he touched on the fascinating programs currently going on with
women’s empowerment, monitoring systems to lessen disasters and research being
conducted with animal and plant diseases as well as with climate resistant cereals.
Interestingly, he also spoke of a new humus-type product being explored with
Pepsi Co. that would be a nutrient dense, affordable food option using the legumes
countries are currently growing.
Finally, Weisenfeld also discussed some of the grant-related efforts and
opportunities available to universities such as Oklahoma State, noting that
“you can make a difference.”
“What we sell in the development business is hope that you can save lives
and help people,” Weisenfeld said.
I’m a mechanical engineering undergraduate in Engineers Without Borders at
OSU and a group of us were recruited by senior environmental science major Liberty
Galvin to spend our winter break in Sierra Leone. In the short time I was there,
I had the opportunity to work with multiple several local groups and foreign
NGOs with the goal of educating and providing clean water to people who live
in conditions that would be unfathomable to the majority of Americans. In preparation
for this trip, I spent many hours online reading, looking at photos and watching
videos from Sierra Leone to get an idea of the local culture and have a better
idea of what to expect when I got there. I’ve also done a fair amount of travel
before but nothing could prepare me for this experience.
Although our group’s focus was on water quality, the first thing that struck
me in Sierra Leone was how fortunate we are in the U.S. to have clean air. The
smog is an ever-present element in Sierra Leone. The locals use open fires to
dispose of their trash, to clear brush, to cook and to make charcoal to sell.
Then, add to that the many poorly-tuned and unbelievably overloaded vehicles
belching black smoke. Sometimes it looked as if there was a mist in the air
but if you put your hand out little white ash flakes would land on it. Every
time we travelled through the capital, Freetown, my throat would be sore for
Sierra Leone is a country of amazing contradictions.
Financially, it is one
of the poorest countries in the world but a is one of the richest in natural
resources . The people are incredibly resilient and hopeful. My experience working
with the students and staff at Njala University is something I’ll take with
me for the rest of my life. Njala University focuses on agricultural and environmental
programs and the students we worked with were so quick and eager to learn everything
we had to teach. Njala University has a gigantic campus out in the country and
is surrounded by tiny villages where the lifestyle of the people hasn’t changed
much for thousands of years. There is no electricity or plumbing in their homes,
which are small mud-brick huts with thatched roofs. Most people own a couple
of chickens or goats and the roadsides are dotted with little shops where craftspeople
sell traditional wares. I was thrilled to see the master craftsmen teaching
young apprentices who would one day carry on the skills they learned. It really
made me think that as much as we’ve gained with all our wealth and technology
that we’ve lost some things along the way as well.
Local rivers are the life blood of these towns. The villagers use the river
to bathe, to wash their clothes, to fish for food and to dispose of their wastes.
And, most importantly, they drink it. That’s why our efforts are so important.
Bio-sand filter being installed in Njala
Everywhere we tested water it showed the presence of fecal bacteria. We taught
the students at Njala how to build bio-sand filters which, when used properly,
will remove 99.9% of bacteria and contaminants. The bio-sand filter is an amazing
invention. It uses no electricity and can be built using simple tools and materials
available anywhere in the world. The Njala students learned so quickly that,
after a few days, we didn’t have much to do because they had taken over- exactly
what we wanted to happen. Now that I’m back I’m working to stay in contact with
the people I met in Sierra Leone, both to keep them excited and to see what
progress they’re making in our absence, and because I’ve made some genuine friends.
The preparation for this trip was time consuming, exhausting and expensive
and there were several times going into it that I wondered what I had gotten
myself into. However, looking back on everything I learned and experienced,
I wouldn’t take it back for the world.
One critical component of our mission at the Center for International Trade
and Development is to prepare students to compete in the global economy. In
conjunction with the School of International Studies, we are expanding our international
trade curriculum to include a five-course series that addresses all of the components
of international trade.
Beginning in the 2012 Fall semester, the Center will be offering web-based
courses on International Operations, International Marketing, and Import/Export
Compliance. The fourth course in the series is comprehensive and brings all
of the elements together to prepare students for the Certified Global Business
Professional exam, an internationally recognized credential certifying competence
in international trade. Then, to give practical application to the series, each
student will complete an internship that is oriented in international business.
The internship may be with a domestic or international firm engaged in foreign
These courses will be offered at the graduate and undergraduate levels. For
undergraduates, the courses are eligible for credits toward a minor in International
Studies. For more information regarding this series on international trade,
please contact the Center for International Trade and Development or, the School
of International Studies’ academic advisors.
For most of the 20th century, the United States was the leader in manufacturing
and innovation with strong demand for its products and technologies overseas.
American ingenuity and know-how fostered strong employment in the design, manufacture
and distribution of technologies and products sought by consumers the world
over. As a result, a diversified manufacturing and economic base was bolstered
by exports with millions of American jobs supported directly and indirectly
by the reputation for excellence associated with the “Made in the United States”
Today, the U.S. faces challenges to its domination in product design and
manufacturing and an erosion of domestic employment in those areas. To answer
these challenges, President Obama made innovation, manufacturing and increased
exports a central focus of U.S. economic development policy.
The National Export Initiative (NEI) was launched during President Obama´s
State of the Union Address in January 2010 with the goal of doubling exports
by the end of 2014. During the same address, he discussed the need for reforming
export compliance laws as they impact American innovators’ and manufacturers’
ability to sell their products and services overseas and require significant
resources to ensure compliance with the myriad export laws and regulations that
As the U.S. develops strategies and policies to meet the goal of the NEI
to increase exports and to create and retain jobs, it is clear that innovation
will play a crucial role in such efforts. Oklahoma State University is aware
and doing its part. In fact, OSU recently celebrated its ninth annual Research
Week in February, a year which marks the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act
of 1862 which established the land-grant universities; a framework for higher
learning that in the 21st century continues to be as relevant as ever with its
emphasis on research and innovation.
It is imperative that American universities, inventors, entrepreneurs and
companies develop innovative products that offer solutions to the most pressing
needs of the 21st century is imperative. But, to be aware of U.S. export laws
and regulations and their broad reach, that covers much more than the actual
shipping of tangible items, is even more imperative.
In fact, unbeknownst to many, the President’s NEI policies include measures
to strengthen export laws and increase enforcement efforts. This is done in
part for national security and to protect intellectual property. Exports from
the United States including “deemed exports” are subject to various laws and
regulations and in some instances may require a license. The Bureau of Industry
and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce focuses on “dual use”
items that may have a civilian and military application. The Directorate of
Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) of the United States Department of State is also
involved with the export of “defense” technologies, goods and services.
To determine if an item is controlled and requires a license or registration
can be complex and may entail implementing policies and procedures, dedicating
resources to engage consultants and attorneys, analyzing the relevant Code of
Federal Regulations (CFR) and seeking guidance including written rulings from
the appropriate authorities. In some cases it may appear that a technology or
item can fall under the control of both agencies; in such cases a Commodity
Jurisdiction (CJ) request must be submitted to the U.S. Department of State.
The BIS license requirements for exports including “deemed exports “are stipulated
in Title 15 of the CFR Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and includes
the Commerce Control List (CCL) and the Commerce Country Chart. The documents
list specific Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) and countries that
are subject to licensing requirements for specific ECCNs. The definition of
a “deemed export” found in §734.2 of the EAR is quite broad as an export of
“technology” or source code may take place when they are made available to non-U.S.
persons for visual inspection, or its blueprints or design specs are described
when discussing related things, or when “technology” is made available by practice
or application under the guidance of persons with knowledge of the technology.
Technology is defined as specific information necessary for the "development,"
"production," or "use" of a product. Further detail pertaining to “deemed exports”
can be found at:
The State Department´s DDTC, Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) deals with controls for “defense”
articles and technologies and contains the United States Munitions List (USML).
In the ITAR regulations, a “deemed export” may occur when there is a “disclosure”
or “transfer” of technical data to a foreign national. As in the case of “deemed
exports” under the EARs, an export, disclosure or transfer of technical data
can happen when foreign nationals participate in the design of an item or technology,
review its blueprints, or visually inspect the product or even the facility
where it is being design or produced. More detailed information can be found
To achieve increased exports and strengthening of the American economy, the
need for expanding research, innovation and exports are crucial. There are many
examples of initiatives to achieve such objectives including the National Export
Initiative and the recently held ninth annual Research Week celebration at Oklahoma
State University. However, it is imperative that stakeholders including universities,
researchers, innovators, designers, manufacturers, exporters, economic development
and export assistance service providers have a solid understanding of “deemed
exports” and how they impact innovation and exporting. Addressing compliance
issues in the early stage of product or technology development makes good business
sense and will help shape the product or technology´s to avoid costly delays
or penalties for non-compliance.