Recent foreign policy reforms by the United Kingdom have left the American right brimming with jealousy. First, the U.K. issued a harsh review of the United Nation's inefficiencies, then they de-funded four UN programs, and now Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed a new attitude towards multiculturalism. Since when have UK Conservatives become, well, so conservative?
Enter Project Umubano. Outside of the UK, very few are even aware of it's existence. Yet since its implementation in 2007, the project has steadily transformed the Conservative Party's entire approach to foreign relations.
Prime Minister David Cameron touched on this last December during his speech to the Young International Democrat Union. Seated inside the Houses of Parliament, alongside the Thames River, my colleagues and I listened as Cameron described the historical perception of Conservatives as heartless capitalists with no regard for impoverished nations and individuals. Though dutifully offended, Cameron also noted his party was ill-prepared to change these viewpoints. It all began there.
During their annual two week trips to Rwanda and Sierra Leone, Conservative Party officials and members of parliament participate in civil society projects. They work directly with underprivileged groups and obtain in-depth knowledge of their cultures.
Working with local partners and NGOs, participants use their professional skills to provide medical, business, and educational training and resources. It's not a publicity stunt. Attendees contribute their own money and work alongside common laborers and local ethnic groups.
Lawyers work with justice officials and teach corporate law. Doctors and nurses train local people while providing free clinical work. Businesspeople hold clinics and consult local firms. Athletic individuals and professional coaches teach sports and train coaches. Members of the education field train local teachers, distribute books, and offer English classes for nine hours a day.
Conservative leaders credit the project for their new understanding of human suffering and the opportunities modern countries have to assist the poor and underprivileged.
However, compassion and knowledge haven't changed their stance on fiscal responsibility. If anything it strengthened it. Conservatives are now unashamedly questioning the decorum of wasting British pounds on failing UN programs
After reviewing their UN contributions, the British government has pulled funding for four programs and issued harsh criticism.
Compassionate conservatism is for spineless moderates? Think again. Project Umubano has taught participants liberty is ubiquitous, and a free world upholding the equality of all mankind is a world where free market and pro-democratic principles prosper.
The heartless capitalist image may be gone forever.