In today’s interconnected world, the future of America’s leadership on the global stage lies in innovation. Every day we face new crisis after new crisis—bare grocery store shelves due to supply chain disruptions, multiple global health threats, climate shocks, and inflation driving up gas pump prices. America’s global leadership is more important now than ever to combat these complex global threats, and we know that investing in innovation and technology through development and diplomacy is key to advancing America’s interests.
As Hoosiers, we know the vital importance of innovative global leadership and how it affects us here at home. Last year, Indiana companies exported $41.2 billion in goods, which helped support nearly 750,000 jobs in the state. There are hundreds of thousands of families in Indiana alone who benefit from America’s leadership on the global stage. Especially amid the disruptions of the past two years, we can see that ingenuity and resilience help support our state’s economy, which exported 16% more goods in 2021 than in 2020. But what we can also see is how much important is digital technology not only to our daily lives, but to American global leadership through development and diplomacy.
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The United States is responding to the need for modernized foreign aid, and in April 2020, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) launched its first Digital Strategy. Two years later, the strategy is already delivering results, from the fight against COVID-19 and corruption to the use of digital technologies that empower farmers to use more sustainable growing practices. Strengthening digital transformation and modernization efforts through USAID and other government agencies dedicated to development, diplomacy, and foreign policy helps craft a vision for humanitarian assistance that is innovative and responsive to the looming global crisis.
In fact, Indiana has been a vital partner in modernizing solutions to address the growing global hunger crisis. Purdue University runs the USAID-funded Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security program. Through this program, US scientists are helping to address global food security through innovation, technology and knowledge building to help developing countries. Program participants—US scientists, researchers, policymakers—improve their understanding of agricultural science and promote science-based trade policies that open market access for American agricultural products abroad. Through this partnership, Purdue University is investing in digital technology solutions that can impact the global hunger crisis as well as help Indiana agricultural products find a market in international trade.
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We also know that the United States must stay at the forefront of emerging technologies and innovation, especially as China aims to set global standards for the next generation of technologies. Here in Indiana, our fast-growing technology industry, which now supports over 87,000 jobs and contributes $16.4 billion to Indiana’s economy, is uniquely positioned for global leadership. With this opportunity, it is imperative that policymakers and innovators understand critical emerging technologies to make informed policy decisions and address America’s competitiveness. Because of these efforts, the state of Indiana and the United States will continue to benefit from “technology diplomacy” and ensure that America maintains its digital leadership to withstand foreign competitors and malicious actors.
Indiana’s partnerships and initiatives with USAID and others would not be possible without America’s leadership in emerging technology innovation and diplomacy. That’s why we call on the entire Indiana congressional delegation to support a strong and robust International Affairs budget to protect America’s interests through diplomatic and development leadership.
Amid global crises, we are at an inflection point and must leverage our digital leadership to ensure America remains competitive and can address the threats of today and tomorrow. Whether its food insecurity, global supply chains, energy and climate challenges, or modern technology issues, America is poised to be the global leader for an innovative future where everyone, including us Hoosiers, benefits. From our education to our exports, Indiana’s prosperity is tied to America leading globally. And when America wins, Hoosiers win.
Bonnie Glick is director of the Krach Institute for Technology Diplomacy at Purdue University. Martin Baier is president and CEO of the International Center, Honorary Consul of France in Indiana, and member of the Indiana Advisory Committee of the US Global Leadership Coalition.