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Mandy Moore leads bipartisan staff delegation to Cameroon

At least there’s one person who is bringing Democrats and Republicans together this summer. Actress, singer, and humanitarian Mandy Moore recently led a bipartisan delegation of congressional staffers on a trip to Cameroon to promote foreign aid and disease prevention there. Moore spoke with The Cable late last week from the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, ...

550700_1mandy12.jpg
550700_1mandy12.jpg

At least there's one person who is bringing Democrats and Republicans together this summer. Actress, singer, and humanitarian Mandy Moore recently led a bipartisan delegation of congressional staffers on a trip to Cameroon to promote foreign aid and disease prevention there.

Moore spoke with The Cable late last week from the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, where she was finishing up a visit before the lauch of Cameroon's upcoming country-wide campaign to give out long-lasting insecticide treated anti-malaria mosquito nets. The visit was organized by Nothing but Nets, run by the U.N. Foundation and the global health organization Population Services International (PSI).  Moore has been an ambassador with PSI for over two years.

At least there’s one person who is bringing Democrats and Republicans together this summer. Actress, singer, and humanitarian Mandy Moore recently led a bipartisan delegation of congressional staffers on a trip to Cameroon to promote foreign aid and disease prevention there.

Moore spoke with The Cable late last week from the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, where she was finishing up a visit before the lauch of Cameroon’s upcoming country-wide campaign to give out long-lasting insecticide treated anti-malaria mosquito nets. The visit was organized by Nothing but Nets, run by the U.N. Foundation and the global health organization Population Services International (PSI).  Moore has been an ambassador with PSI for over two years.

"Every 45 seconds a child dies of malaria and this is the number one leading cause of death here in Cameroon," Moore told The Cable. "I’m here with this bipartisan congressional delegation to learn how this net distribution actually happens…. I’ve loved coming here with them because they ask some hard hitting questions."

The delegation visited a clinic run by the Chantal Biya Foundation, met with private sector leaders and UNICEF representatives, filmed a public service announcement in a rural area that is receiving nets, and distributed nets at a local orphanage. Moore also met with Prime Minister Philemon Yang and Minister of Public Health André Mama Fouda.

Moore’s trip comes right in the middle of a fight over foreign aid funding in Congress. Moore said the plight of the Cameroonians was one issue that shouldn’t fall victim to partisan bickering or short-term cost-cutting.

"I think it’s lovely that it’s a bipartisan delegation. I think this is an issue that effects and unites both Republicans and Democrats," she said. "African economies are critical to the health of our economy, from manufacturing to consumer goods, and even with some of the things that I do in terms of music and films."

"One of the things I love about our country is that we are a generous country and the work that we’re doing here and elsewhere in the developing world is having real, measurable results and I feel fortunate that the congressional staffs can see that as well."

Moore didn’t perform during the trip, but the Cameroonians put on a show for her and her team. They threw a gala that included traditional dancers who had the name "Mandy Moore" painted in pink letters on their stomachs.

The Hill staffers on the trip included Michael Shank, communications director and senior policy advisor for Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA),  Julie Nickson, chief of staff for Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Steven Shearer, chief of staff for Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), Richard Hudson, chief of staff for Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Rachel Dresen, legislative director for Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ), Jenn Holcomb, legislative assistant for Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Jessica J. Lee, legislative assistant for Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA).

"For what I pay every day for lunch at Longworth House Office Building cafeteria, I can save two lives in Cameroon from deadly malaria, which kills a significant portion of this country’s population each year," one of the staffers on the delegation told The Cable. "Major props to Mandy for making this a priority in South Sudan, Central African Republic and now Cameroon, and for dedicating her platform to malaria prevention."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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