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Melinda Gates speaks at the University of Washington on Wednesday night. (GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane)

President Donald Trump isn’t the biggest fan of science. He has also been very quiet on the topic of foreign aid, although some within his administration have advocated for cutting aid, which currently makes up less than 1 percent of the federal government’s budget.

But Melinda Gates — one of the world’s leading philanthropists and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — said she hopes the Trump administration will be able to see the importance of those funds.

“What you will continue to hear Bill and I say is that less-than-1-percent portion of the U.S. government budget is highly effective,” she said yesterday, at a talk celebrating the 10th anniversary of the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health.

She also emphasized that the money isn’t just helping the recipients, but that foreign aid creates sustained stability across the world.

“Families don’t want to uproot from their communities,” Gates said, “and they certainly don’t want to go across the high sea on a terrible boat to make it to Europe. But they are not finding economic opportunity where they are, they are not having good health where they are.”

Gates said the U.S.’s foreign aid spending is “incredibly important, both for a humanitarian reason and for a peace and security reason. And it could be that this administration, the place they feel more comfortable with investments, might be around peace and security,” she said.

“We will figure out a way to work with this administration,” just as the Gates Foundation has worked with governments around the world for the past 15 years, she said. 

Stay tuned to GeekWire more coverage of Melinda Gates’ talk at the event.

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