Bryan Schaaf is a consultant based in Geneva with expertise in emergency response, monitoring and evaluation, and humanitarian diplomacy. He served as the Senior Humanitarian Advisor for the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance respectively in Ukraine from 2016-2019.
Health diplomacy has been dismissed by populist governments in recent years as costly and unnecessary. However, reinforcing health diplomacy during the pandemic is a way to re-establish much diminished and sorely missed U.S leadership and cooperation – for the benefit of both Americans and the world. Simply put, Americans will never be safe from COVID-19 until it is under control both at home and abroad.
The US response to emergencies has been severely hindered by this administration’s hostility to refugees, migrants, other vulnerable populations, and the federal agencies that assist them - whether through financial contributions, specialized expertise, or humanitarian diplomacy.