Note New Date: Friday, March 7, 2014 (10:00 am to noon): “Evaluating State and USAID Projects and Programs: Progress and Challenges.” This event at the USAID Learning Center will feature reflections from USAID alumnus Peter Davis - the founder and former President of Development Associates - who is retiring from the Department of State where he developed and oversaw the implementation of the Department’s first evaluation policy; and fromCindy Clapp-Wincek, Director of USAID’s Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research, who will review three years of experience in implementing USAID’s Evaluation Policy (2011). (See the latest Update) UAA member and long-time evaluator Richard Blue will moderate this discussion. If you plan to attend, please advise Alex Shakow at: email@example.com.
New! March 25, 2014 (12 noon – 2:00 pm): UAA-DACOR Development Dialogue “Finding New Ways of To Cover Global Development Issues”with John Schidlovsky, Founder and Director of the International Reporting Project (IRP) at Johns Hopkins University, and Jennifer James, IRP Fellow and Founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good.
New! March 28, 2014 (10:00 am to Noon): “Re-inventing Science and Technology at USAID: a discussion with Dr Alex Dehgan and Andy Sisson, moderatedby Dave Eckerson“. This event will take place at the USAID Learning Center in Crystal City.
New! May 13, 2014 (12 Noon-2pm): UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue – Charles Kenny, Center for Global Development, “The Upside of Down: The Rise of the Rest is Good for the West.”
New Alumni Profile Archive
A membership favorite of the UAA newsletter has long been the Alumni Profile section. This section shares the widely varied stories of what we have been doing in our post-USAID afterlives. Now, you can see the full collection of these profiles under the “Alumni” tab of the navigation bar at the top of this page. Another option is to click here.
UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues:
On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Maria Otero, founder of Accion and former USAID staffer and mostly recent Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, spoke eloquently to an admiring audience at DACOR about the “structural challenges that make collaboration between State and USAID difficult”. She offered a number of lessons from her own experience that would enhance opportunities for collaboration – strengthening “mutual respect, common understanding, communication and appreciation for value added”. Read the full text of her presentation here. (A voice recording will be available soon.)
Geoffrey Lamb, Gates Foundation
On Monday, November 18, the UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue lunch featured Geoffrey Lamb of the Gates Foundation. Lamb is chief adviser on economic and policy matters to Bill and Melinda Gates and to the Gates Foundation’s CEO, and is a member of the Foundation’s management committee. His topic – “Rethinking Development Assistance for the “Post-Aid” World” provocatively suggested that development aid was rapidly becoming “basically irrelevant.” He proceeded to explain in detail what he meant and why, and to suggest what the big development challenges were likely to be in the next decade. Hear Lamb’s talk and the Q&A session that followed by clicking here.
UAA Friday Mornings
As many will have noted, there is a new excitement to Friday mornings. Taking advantage of USAID’s generous offer of its new Crystal City Training Center, UAA been able to offer presentations and dialogues of interest to its member alumni. In this space, usaidalumni.org will provide summaries of our speakers have presented so that a broader audience may share in them.
Do you have an idea for a person or topic that you believe would be of interest to your alumni colleagues? If so, please send them to Alex Shakow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overview of Recently Completed Events:
On January 30, 2014, John Sanbrailo, currently Executive Director of the Pan American Development Foundation, spoke to the UAA on the topic of “Extending the American Revolution Overseas: Little-Known Origins of U.S. Foreign Assistance and Their Lessons for Today.” Prior to joining PADF, John served as USAID Mission Director in Ecuador, Peru, Honduras and El Salvador. An active UAA member, John has over 40 years of experience managing international development programs and disaster assistance. His talk was based on that extensive experience and additional research he has been doing for his book on the history of US assistance in Latin America. At this very stimulating session, John made a very powerful case for a much broader understanding of the roots of American aid. Building on the works of leading historians, John argues persuasively that the origins of foreign aid can be traced back to the American Revolution. To see a video of his presentation, click here. For a view of his power point presentation, click here.
On Friday, November 15, David Shear (USAID 1961-83) led a group of AID alumni in a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion of the rapidly growing crisis facing African elephants and rhinos. While localized poaching of these animals is not new, it is now a major commercial enterprise where poachers hunt with sophisticated equipment and slaughter vast numbers every year to meet a growing demand for tusks and horns, particularly in Asia. David described efforts being made to mobilize international public opinion and action to fight this destruction, as well as the many steps being taken to protect the animals’ habitats. For further background and photos, see: http://elephantstory.wcs.org/ and here.
On Friday, December 13, 2013, USAID Counselor Susan Reichle spoke before an enthusiastic and engaged audience of USAID alumni. She welcomed reactions and suggestions to a draft USAID mission statement designed to reflect the Presidential commitment to help end extreme poverty around the world by 2030. She also described USAID progress in implementing priorities in the science and technology area, and the challenges associated with incorporating 900 new Foreign Service Officers into the fabric of the agency. She expressed particular gratitude for alumni support on mentoring and for advice provided on various recent policy and guidance papers. See her full presentation here.
On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, Brookings Institution development expert Homi Kharas described to a rapt group of USAID alumni and others the highlights of his High Level Panel’s report to the UN Secretary General on the post-2015 development agenda. He illustrated the complex process of putting together, in a UN setting, a report built upon very extensive consultations with multiple constituencies - including special interest from the business community. He noted the differences with the MDGs and focused on the five transformational shifts reflected in the report’s recommendations. See and hear his presentation here.
UAA/USAID Mentoring Program
Updated Feb. 2014 - Building on the successful mentoring pilot effort with the Europe and Eurasia Bureau, the Strengthening USAID Committee, at the request of USAID, is extending the program to the PPL, Asia, LAC, and Global Health Bureaus of USAID. The Committee has been recruiting UAA alumni as mentors and provides training for and support to their mentoring efforts. It also monitors the implementation of the overall program with USAID. If you would like to participate in the program please email the Committee at: email@example.com.
Where in the World
Updated Thru 12/13 Remember the good old days when the first thing many of us turned to in a new Front Lines was the “Where in the World?” page where we found out who was promoted, who was transferred and who retired? Well, it is back here now on the UAA website. Hopefully, we will be able to do regular updates in the future. To view the most recent update and our WITW archive, click here..
Join the Alumni Directory
The Association strives to build a roster of alumni (USDH, FSN, PSC, etc. – see eligibility information under “Join” on the sidebar) and freely share it among us, whether you choose to become a financially contributing, voting member of the UAA or not. Your registration for the Directory will be followed by receipt of log-on information that that will give you access to the Directory. Contributing member or not, add your name and contact information now, You also can update your contact info at this same location, if needed.
For those of you already registered and have the password, please click here to access the Directory. If you have registered, but have lost the password, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and request that it be sent you
UAA has learned of the recent deaths of the following members of our USAID alumni community: Dan Creedon, Allen Randlov, Malcolm Novins, Hal Fleming, Albert “Bert” Fraleigh, Carol Pierstorff, Ann Dotherow, Michael Zak, Frank Method, and John Burdick (click on the links to see their obituaries, which are located in the Forum). Other obituaries and personal tributes may be seen in the Tributes section.
If you would like to provide a brief obituary or personal tribute for these former colleagues and friends to be posted on this website or if you know of other people who have passed way and have not been noted here, please send the information to: email@example.com Attn: Memorials.
UAA Board News
New! Strategic Goals and Implementation Plan: At its February meeting, the UAA Board approved an updated Statement of UAA Strategic Goals and Implementation Plan for 2014-2016. This statement provides a medium-term guide for the work of the UAA. It is intended to be a working document that will be reviewed and revised from time to time to reflect evolving circumstances. Members are invited to provide comments and suggestions on the goals and implementing actions at any time.
UAA is your organization. Your getting involved in Association activities will make us stronger, more interesting and – definitely – more fun. Below are just some of the ways you can participate:
- UAA Speakers Roster
The UAA has a roster of some 65 alumni around the country who regularly speak to community groups, universities and others about a range of international development and foreign affairs issues, and who are available for additional engagements. Further information about the UAA Speakers Bureau can be found in the attached brochure.
To become a member of the Speakers’ Roster is simple. Just fill in the information here and press the “send” button. For an illustrative list of alumni already on the roster, their locations and the topics they can address, please see the UAA Speakers’ Roster. It is understood that if/when you are presenting or interviewing you will speak for yourself, not as a representative of USAID or the UAA.
If you are interested in finding USAID alumni in your area to speak at an event or to consult about a future program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- UAA Committees
UAA has five committees. These include: Membership Services, Public Outreach, Strengthening USAID, Development Issues and Finance and Administration. You can find descriptions of the committees here. Your ideas, involvement and energy would be very welcomed in any one of these.
- Alumni Groupings
In several regions around the country (and, perhaps, eventually abroad), people have organized local USAID alumni groups. Find out about these and get contact information about them here.
Do you belong to a local alumni group not posted here? Please share it with all of us. Send information to email@example.com Attn: Alumni Groupings.
- Job and Volunteer Opportunities
Alumni looking for work? On request, UAA vets and posts USAID-related jobs and volunteer opportunities. For a full listing, see: Job Opportunities.
Also, from time to time, the AFSA Job Board may have employment or volunteer opportunities of relevance to USAID alums.
If you wish to post a job or volunteer opportunity, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Jobs/Volunteers.
Below are the most recent postings:
- The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art is seeking volunteers. For more information, click here.
- Peace Corp Response Program: The Peace Corps Response Program complements the traditional 2-year Peace Corps tour by providing volunteers to do short term (3-12 months), high impact projects to address critical needs in host countries. Many of these volunteer slots have been opened recently to professionals with at least 10 years of experience. Although many USAID alumni are returned Peace Corps Volunteers, even those who are not possess exactly the kind of skills needed as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer. These positions come with the same benefits as the 2-year program, including travel to and from the country of service, full medical benefits, and a living stipend. To learn more about the program and view open positions, visit: peacecorps.gov/response. New positions are posted on this website as they are requested by the host country, so please check back regularly. For additional information and response to any questions, please contact Allison McReynolds at email@example.com.
(NOTE: Inclusion of any given article or web link does not constitute endorsement by UAA.)
Articles and Videos
Below are recent articles on development happenings, issues, etc. If you have comments on them, please share them with us in the Forum. If you have articles that you believe would be of general interest to the UAA membership, please submit them here or feel free to post or link them in the Forum.
Over time, this list of articles has grown. To keep this page at a manageable size, older articles have been removed. To see and access the full list of articles, please click here.
- New! Administrator Shah Speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast (video) – The Administrator eloquently describes how USAID is bringing diverse communities of business, science, government, and faith together to end extreme poverty in our lifetimes. His presentation begins about 47 minutes into the video.
- New! USAID Looks Ahead to Uncertain Operating Budget (Devex) – USAID will “exhaust” this year any carryover funding it has to help offset operating expenses budget cuts included in the fiscal year 2014 omnibus bill, according to an agency official. That means things could get rocky in 2015.
- New! USAID Cut Out of Cuba Programs - USAID has been left out of the $17.5 million appropriated for Cuba democracy programs this fiscal year, amid complaints over partisan political fighting and agency mishandling of the programs.
- New! Ending Extreme Poverty in Fragile Contexts is a USAID discussion paper that looks at how to achieve sustainable development outcomes in fragile states, recognizing the difficult hurdles these states face.
- New! Poverty and the Safety of the Poor (Washington Post) - As elites abandon the public security system, their impoverished neighbors are left relying on underpaid, under-trained, undisciplined and frequently corrupt police forces for protection and all-but-paralyzed courts for justice.
- New! The Case for Aid (Foreign Policy) – Piling onto the Bill/Melinda Gates statement, Jeffrey Sachs tells us all why he thinks foreign aid does a lot of good.
- New! U.S. Pushes for Outside Oversight of World Bank, Opposes Push Toward ‘Big Hydro’ (Washington Post) – The United States is demanding stricter oversight of World Bank projects amid concern that the bank has slipped in how closely it guards against violence, forced resettlement and other conflict associated with the works that it funds.
- New! Mythbusters: Misconceptions About the U.S. and the Word (Politico) – A group of globally minded people—from diplomats and senators to economists and entrepreneurs—are asked: What myth about America’s role in the world most drives them crazy?
- New! Three Myths on the World’s Poor (Wall St. Journal) – Bill and Melinda Gates call foreign aid a phenomenal investment that’s transforming the world. Extreme poverty has been cut in half over the past 25 years, child mortality is plunging, and many countries that had long relied on foreign aid are now self-sufficient. Once you have read this, you may interested in this related interview with Gates.
- New! US Congress Sending Mixed Messages on Aid ‘Localization’ (Devex) – Conflicting language reflects what has been a clear partisan divide over a central pillar of the USAID Forward reforms. Senate Democrats generally support the “localization” effort, while House Republicans’ have sought to curtail the process.
- New! US Aid Reform in 2014: 8 Issues Congress May Tackle (Devex) -Congress has long avoided comprehensive reform of U.S. development cooperation, and 2014 will likely be no different. But there’s a good chance lawmakers will consider a number of issues that could affect international development.
- Kidnapped USAID Alum Pleas For Help – Held in Pakistan for more than two years by al-Qaeda militants, Warren Weinstein recorded a video message calling on the Obama Administration to negotiate with his captors. Also, read the response of Warren’s Family.
- USAID to Leave Ecuador (Christian Science Monitor) - USAID expects to close its doors in Ecuador by September 2014 due to an increasingly acrimonious relationship with President Rafael Correa. This comes six months after it was kicked out of Bolivia.
- Africa’s Aid Mess (Baron’s) - Author Paul Theroux discusses why the philanthropy of Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Bono, and Jeffrey Sachs largely fails. Here’s what works.
- The Charitable Industrial Complex – Warren Buffett’s son re-thinks the impact of foundation-based aid efforts.
- Senator Raises Questions About USAID Inspector General’s Independence - Managers in USAID’s inspector general’s office “routinely” pressure auditors to drop findings that would reflect poorly on their programs and punish those who don’t go along, according to whistleblower allegations cited in a recent letter to Sen. Tom Coburn.
- USAID Contractor Jailed in Cuba, Appeals to Obama to Intervene – On the fourth anniversary of his imprisonment in Cuba, former U.S. government contractor Alan Gross said he fears his country has “abandoned” him and appealed to President Obama to personally intervene in his case.
- The Crucible: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Future of USAID -The evolution of USAID over the past 15 years and how the post 9/11 experience may have changed that.
- Philippine Typhoon Revives Debate on U.S. Food Aid Methods - Aid workers and antipoverty groups say that current laws governing American food aid could delay or hurt recovery efforts in the Philippines.
- Why Are Development Agencies Giving up on Development? – The World Bank has announced that their goal is to “eradicate extreme poverty.”This is a shift from an organization that supports national development agendas towards an organization that just promotes cost-effective charity work.
- The Battle for Hearts and Minds: The Role of Aid in Foreign Policy - Humanitarian aid would seem to have no place in hard power geopolitics. But that, as it turns out, is far too simplistic.
- No Need to Dig (The Economist) - Many of Africa’s fastest-growing economies have not relied on oil or mining.
- The Economics of Sexual Inequality (The Economist) – New research hints at a better method to ensure girls in Africa stay in school.
- Perceptions of Democracy in Latin America(The Economist) – A new Latinobarometro report shows that, despite an economic slowdown, Latin Americans feel pretty satisfied with their lives, but they don’t give much credit for that to their democratic institutions.
- Pennies From Heaven(The Economist)- Giving money directly to poor people works surprisingly well. But it cannot deal with the deeper causes of poverty.
- Trends in the Practice of Development Cooperation – Strengthening Governance and the Rule of Law - In recent decades, development economists have argued that good governance and the rule of law are essential for sustained economic growth, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger. Alumnus (and UAA Board Member) Jim Michel reviews what has been done in response to this conclusion.
- The Controversy Over Procurement Reform: Is Local Spending Better? – Efforts at USAID, to utilize other countries’ local governments and organizations to carry out its programs on the ground have triggered a debate that will ultimately affect millions of lives in the years to come.
These are links of general interest to folks involved in the development “arts. If you have links you would like to submit, please send them here. Over time, this list of articles has grown. To keep this page at a manageable size, older articles have been removed. To see and access the full list of articles, please click here.
- New! Interactive Map of Global Remittances – International migrants sent $529 billion in remittances back to their home countries in 2012. Such funds are fundamental to development in many countries. This map shows where the money came from and went to.
- (March 2014) Front Lines – This link will take you to the most recent edition.
- Multilateral Development Banks: Overview and Issues for Congress -A Congressional Research Service report prepared for the Congress.
- World Bank Group Strategy - The new strategy says there will be shift from a focus on stand-alone projects to a “development solutions culture embedded in widely disseminated knowledge of what works and how to deliver it.”
- The Global Gender Gap Report, introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, provides a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities around the world.
- The Global Peace Index is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace and the Economist Intelligence Unit. It ranks countries on their level of peace by measuring the level of safety and security, the extent of domestic or foreign conflicts and the degree of militarization. This snapshot focuses on the 91 low- and middle-income countries that received at least $2 million USAID funding in fiscal year 2011.
- Current USAID Mission Directors – This is a list maintained by the Agency.
- USAID 101 - USAID has put together an on-line “course” that will explain what the Agency does and how and why it does it. This course is principally directed at university students. New material will be added each month.
- Update (July 2013) - Failed States Index (Foreign Policy) – This index uses 12 social, economic, political, and military indicators and ranks 60 states in order of their vulnerability to violent internal conflict.
- The World Bank Atlas of Global Development - The Atlas of Global Development is a comprehensive guide to the most critical issues facing our changing world today
- IFC Doing Business Table – Economies are ranked by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation on their ease of doing business. A high ranking on the ease of doing business index means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm, a vital factor in economic growth and development.
- Development Aid and Governance Indicators The Brookings Global Economy and Development Program has launched a new interactive featuring data on development, aid and governance. Information include trends in foreign assistance, governance, and global poverty and middle class populations.
- The Center for Global Development (CGD) works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community to make the world a more prosperous, just, and safe place. CGD combines world-class research with policy analysis and innovative communications to turn ideas into action.
- Freedom in the World 2011 Survey – Freedom House released its 2011 annual survey of global political rights and civil liberties. According to the findings, 2010 was the fifth consecutive year in which global freedom suffered a decline—the longest period of setbacks for freedom in the nearly 40-year history of the report. If you would prefer to visit just the free/not free map, you may see it here.
- The Foreign Assistance Dashboard - The goal of the Dashboard is to enable a wide variety of stakeholders to examine, research, and track U.S. Government foreign assistance investments in an accessible and easy-to-understand format. As it evolves, the Dashboard will incorporate budget, financial, program, and performance data from all U.S. Government agencies implementing foreign assistance, humanitarian, and development funds.
If you have articles and/or links you would like to share with the rest of us, please send your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Development Issues.
Foreign Aid Reform
Find articles and links on the topic of foreign aid reform here.
Report on the UAA Annual General Meeting
The 5th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the UAA membership was held on October 25 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC (to see the full report, click here). The Center kindly offered their excellent space near the USAID Ronald Reagan Building headquarters, providing the Association with a convenient location and a great cost savings.
The theme for this year’s AGM was Revitalizing USAID. USAID has been investing in re-building its staff and programmatic capabilities. There appears to be significant creative thinking on tackling current and future development issues. The organizers of the AGM concluded that it would be of interest to alumni to hear observations and concerns from the Agency’s “new blood,” exemplified by the Development Leadership Initiative (DLI) program, which has brought on board some 800 junior officers in the past four years. The agenda for the AGM was organized around six panels, each with two or three representatives of a new generation of USAID development professionals. A summary of key issues raised in these panel discussions is provided here.
The morning’s discussion with the junior officers was nicely complemented by the remarks after lunch by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. In his talk and in the Q&A session that followed, he outlined the progress made in restoring USAID’s leadership role on development issues and highlighted priorities for the future, including commitment to working with our partners towards the elimination of absolute poverty by 2030. For the Administrator’s full remarks, click here.
The AGM also offered an opportunity to bring the membership up-to-date on UAA initiatives in the past year — especially the pilot mentoring program and the substantive program policy contributions the organization is beginning to provide USAID. These initiatives keep our alumni engaged in current development issues, while helping USAID meet its needs for experience and expertise in a number of program areas. This is discussed in more detail here. More membership engagement with the four UAA standing committees (Public Outreach, Strengthening USAID, Development Issues and Membership) was encouraged. For additional information on these committees, click here.
UAA Board Elections: As in the past, elections for five of the seven Board seats took place electronically and in-person. Results were announced at the end of the meeting and are now posted on the UAA website. See details in the website article immediately below.
The AGM also served to reinforce one of the key objectives of the UAA: to serve as a vehicle to stay in touch with former colleagues through the various formal and informal opportunities the UAA makes available – e.g., website, registered alumni directory, picnics and other social events.
Following the AGM, the UAA took a survey of the attendees to find out what they thought of the event. You can read the results here.
UAA Board Election Results
The USAID Alumni Association (UAA) Annual General Meeting took place on Friday, October 25 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC. Elections to fill five (of the seven) UAA Board positions took place. 138 contributing members voted electronically and 14 voted in person, for a total of 152 votes cast (the most ever in the Association’s five-year history). At the end of the Annual General Meeting, results were announced, and they are as follows:
· Jim Michel was re-elected to the Board (without opposition) for a one-year term ending October 2014. (As previously shared with all registered alumni, this one-year position was created on an exceptional basis to adjust the election cycles that should result in having only three or four of the seven Board positions open at the end of each year.)
· Frank Almaguer and Alex Shakow were re-elected to the Board for two-year terms ending in October 2015.
· David Eckerson and Carol Peasley were elected to serve two-year terms ending in October 2015.
· David Cohen and Nancy Pielemeier, who were elected in the 2012 cycle for two-year terms, will continue to serve on the Board until October 2014.
We thank all who took time to vote and all who placed their name in nomination. After the next regularly scheduled Board meeting, on November 21, we will announce the officers for the 2013-14 cycle and co-chairs of the standing committees of the Association.
We also thank out-going Board members Margaret Carpenter and George Hill for their many contributions to the UAA. We are confident that the Association will continue to enjoy the benefit of their active participation in UAA activities in the years to come.
Development Dialogue at DACOR
Guide for Newly Arrived Former USAID FSN Immigrants to the U.S.
A new initiative on the part of UAA is the Living in the USA Guide for former USAID Foreign Service Nationals who have migrated to the U.S. The Guide provides practical information to help the recently arrived settle into everyday life. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather lays out the important areas which individuals need to consider in relocating to the U.S. The guide is a work in progress so please feel free to share with your former FSN colleagues. We are looking for comments and suggestions, which you may send to email@example.com.
Suggestion Box – Your Ideas for UAA
Some of you may have noticed the many changes that have been made to this, the UAA website. The objective is to provide a site that members will find useful and interesting – a place you will want to return to on a regular basis.
We would greatly appreciate your feedback and ideas about usaidalumni.org. We also would like to have any news, articles or anything else you would like to share with your fellow alumni. Please send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Attn: Website.