Monday, September 14, 10:00 am to Noon – UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue – Emmy Simmons speaks on “Transforming Food and Ag Policy: How US Decision-Making Might Shape the Future of Food at a Global Scale”. Simmons, now an independent consultant focused on food, agriculture and Africa, in 2005 completed 30 years at USAID as Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade.
Friday, October 9, 11:30 – 2:00 – UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue – Lester Brown will speak about “The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy”. In his long career, Brown, who founded and headed the WorldWatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, has focused on food production, population growth and climate change. His latest book and powerful advocacy are directly relevant to the forthcoming December Paris meetings on climate change.
Friday, October 23 – UAA Annual General Meeting. This year’s theme: “Building a new consensus for development and the role of foreign assistance”. See immediately below for more information.
Annual General Meeting
Thee UAA Annual General Meeting will take place on Friday, October 23, 2015, 8:15am to 4:00pm, at the Center for Global Development. This year’s theme is “Building a New Consensus for Development and the Role of Foreign Assistance.” The program will feature an introductory panel on “Bridging the Congressional-Executive Chasm: A conversation with Three Congressional Leaders,” with former Congressmen Matt McHugh, Jim Kolbe, and Howard Berman, chaired by George Ingram. RSVP at email@example.com.
Bibliography of USAID Authors
A new bibliography has been prepared by members of the USAID Alumni Association with assistance from the USAID Knowledge Resource Center. It contains over 165 books written by current and former USAID employees and their family members with descriptions of the book content and the author’s relationship to USAID.
The bibliography will be updated quarterly with new titles (next update Sept 30) and will be available on the UAA website and the USAID KRC website. To add titles to this bibliography, email John Pielemeier at Jpielemeie@aol.com, with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bibliography has been prepared as part of a UAA effort to retain and publicize key elements of USAID’s history and make them available to current USAID staff as well as former USAID officers. To access the bibliography, click here.
New Interactive Development Issues Page: Perspectives
USAID alumni often have informed views on various development issues, based on their experience. PERSPECTIVES is a platform where alumni can express their views on development issues and anyone can offer comments on the views they express. Alumni are invited to submit perspectives in essays not exceeding 2,500 words, accompanied by a brief paragraph summarizing their views.
Alumni are invited to share their perspectives by submitting them by e-mail addressed to email@example.com.
USAID History Proposal – Pledge Request
For those of you who have not already made a pledge, we need your support. Please make a generous pledge to help us make this independent history of USAID a reality. Without your personal help it will not happen. We are already losing many of the firsthand accounts of USAID’s earlier work and there are nearly 55 years of learning to capture before it is too late. Please read about the project here and make a pledge now.
The UAA Annual Picnic was held on Saturday, July 25. We returned to last year’s outstanding venue at Fort Hunt Park, near Mount Vernon. The fun was shared by over 60 Alumni, family members and friends who enjoyed the congenial gathering along with the clear weather and refreshing breeze. The first experiment with a potluck affair was a total success. View additional photos. (Photo credit: Barbara Carter-Garms)
On April 23, the White House announced that USAID alumnus Warren Weinstein, who had been held hostage in Pakistan since 2011, was accidentally killed in a U.S. drone strike this past January. As has been published on this website over the past year, the UAA has sent several letters to USAID and State Department officials urging greater action in seeking Warren’s release. As friends and colleagues, we greatly mourn the loss of a respected and highly regarded USAID alumnus. The following letter was sent by the UAA to Warren Weinstein’s widow Elaine:
Dear Mrs. Weinstein:
All of us in the USAID Alumni Association were shocked and saddened to learn today about Warren’s death in Pakistan. Please know that our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with you and your family during this time of sorrow.
Many of us worked closely with Warren over the years and we saw first-hand his deep commitment to international development and to making the world a safer and better place for all people. We hope that your pride in his global contributions and memories of his good humor and joy of life will bring comfort in the coming weeks, months, and years. Please let us know if there are ways we can help you celebrate Warren’s life of service and excellence. We also want the world to know the huge difference our former colleague and friend, Warren, made to people around the world.
Again, our thoughts are with you and your family.
Alexander Shakow and Carol Peasley, Co-Chairs
The following links provide an offering of media coverage of the death of Warren Weinstein:
– Obama Apologizes After Drone Kills American and Italian Held by Al Qaeda (New York Times): Article provides initial coverage of the announcement and has a link to President Obama’s condolence message.
– Warren Weinstein’s Devotion to Pakistan Was Part of a Lifetime of Service (New York Times) – Provides an overview of Weinstein’s long association and affection for Pakistan and its people.
– FBI Facilitated Ransom Payment from Hostage Weinstein’s Family (Wall Street Journal) – In 2012, Agency helped U.S. hostage Warren Weinstein’s family assess whether it should pay Pakistani middleman for his release.
UAA Development Conversations
The UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues is a series of interactive conversations on a broad range of topics relevant to the interests of international development professionals.
Below are summaries of the most recent events. Each includes a link either to an audio or video of the event. Being able to listen or watch an event should be of particular interest to Association members who live outside the DC area.
– UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues:
On July 24, 2015, Masood Ahmed, IMF Director for the Middle East and Central Asia, spoke at a UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue on The Arab Spring Four Years On: Has the Bloom Faded? Before a very large and enthusiastic audience at DACOR, Ahmed described the current situation in the region, the likely economic impact of the spread of conflict and violence, a few signs of optimism and the role outsiders, including the IMF and other international institutions, can do to help. Listen to it here.
On July 6, 2015, Bill Hammink, USAID Mission Director in Afghanistan, provided a fascinating account of how USAID is managing a very large program in a very difficult security environment where the population has suffered from decades of war. USAID is focused increasingly on strengthening local institutions and on sustainable progress rather than quick impact. Its increased reliance on local systems and local partners is accompanied by intensive, multi-tiered oversight to assure both effectiveness and accountability. Listen to it here.
Shahid Javed Burki
On May 15, 2015, Shahid Javed Burki spoke on “Reassessing United States’ Leadership of the Global Economy”. Burki – retired vice president of the World Bank, former finance minister of Pakistan and now a widely published author and columnist – presented a largely optimistic view of the future of the US economy and its positive impact on the rest of the world. Listen here to Mr Burki’s encouraging presentation and the exchange with audience members.
UAA/USAID Mentoring Program – A Call For Mentor Volunteers
New! UAA, in collaboration with USAID partners, is preparing for the launch of a 5th cohort of our mentoring program, which matches alumni members with USAID field officers who have applied for this assistance. Alumni with experience in the full range of USAID backstops and interest in strengthening the current generation are requested to send expressions of interest to the addresses below. We welcome a return of alumni who had successful mentoring relationships through participation in the early cohorts as well as those for whom it will be a new experience. Many of those who have participated in the program to date report that the experience was as fulfilling for them as they hope it was for their mentees.
The program calls for a six-month commitment, extendable as desired by both parties. Mentor/mentee pairs communicate primarily by phone and skype, supported by e-mail as needed. Our experience is that development of successful, trusting relationships requires a regular schedule for contact. Each relationship will be different, but a common characteristic is that it is mentee driven, with joint responsibility for taking initiative and building trust.
In its first three years the program has responded to over 50 requests from officers serving in missions worldwide. At latest count there are 24 active pairs in the program.
We will confirm receipt of expressions of interest with a brief profile form, which we ask be completed and returned to us not later than October 1. Communications should be directed to co-chairs of the Strengthening USAID Committee:
Marilynn Schmidt – firstname.lastname@example.org or Jerry Wood – email@example.com.
Where in the World
Updated Thru 8/15 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.
UAA has learned of the recent deaths of the following members of our USAID alumni community: Jerry Pagano, Bauduin de Marcken, Robert Jimenez, Luann Martin, Al Furman, Jeanne North, Barbara Rodes, Julie Phillips, and Herb Adelman. A full listing of alumni obituaries 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Attn: Memorials.
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. If you are interested in finding USAID alumni in your area to speak at an event or to consult about a future program, contact email@example.com.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com, Attn: Jobs/Volunteers.
Below are the most recent postings:
Job Opening: Chief Financial Officer, Population Reference Bureau (Washington, DC). Looking for an experienced financial manager with strong knowledge of USAID funding. Exceptional opportunity for an individual to oversee financial operations and to be part of the senior team of a mission-driven, globally-focused, nonprofit organization that currently has a budget of $11 million and a staff of 50, and is poised for significant growth over the next few years. Please see complete job announcement, including application instructions, at www.slesingermanagement.com. Search by Larry Slesinger, Slesinger Management Services, 301-320-0680 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (10/1)
The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is hiring individuals to serve as Personal Services Contractors (PSCs). USAID/OFDA is responsible for providing emergency non-food humanitarian assistance in response to international crisis and disasters, and leads the USG’s humanitarian assistance efforts overseas, responding to an average of 70 disasters in over 50 countries a year. OFDA is looking for qualified humanitarian professionals to serve in Washington, DC and Internationally as Regional Advisors, Policy Advisors, Program Officers, Training Specialists, Administrative Specialists, Communication Specialists, and Team Leaders. Full announcements of open positions can be found at www.ofdajobs.net. PSC positions are open to U.S. Citizens only.
The DCHA Bureau has newly launched the Crisis Surge Staff. The Crisis Surge Staff is somewhat similar to OTI’s Bullpen or the OFDA DART except that they provide the skills needed by the rest of a USAID mission. The “Firehouse,” as it is called, is comprised of intermittent PSCs that would be deployed to Missions for 2-10 months on an as needed basis. DCHA is looking for people with the full range of skills including: Senior Development Advisors, General Development Officers, Democracy and Governance Officers, Elections Specialists, Program Officers, Strategic Communication Officers, Contracting Officers, and Executive Officers. Here is the link for the full program description: http://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/organization/bureaus/bureau-democracy-conflict-and-humanitarian-assistance/office-2.
– The State Department Office of Inspector General is seeking recently retired senior USAID management officers, project managers, security officers and IT officers to serve on OIG inspection teams as WAE employees (when actually employed). Applicants should be familiar with operations at embassies and domestic bureaus, including grants management, social media and supporting interagency initiatives. Positions are available on domestic inspection teams (Washington-based, normally 10 weeks duration) and overseas inspection teams (normally, four weeks in Washington and eight weeks overseas). Applicants should have a valid top secret security clearance. Superior interviewing and writing skills are a plus. WAE inspectors can normally expect to work between three and six months a year. Interested applicants should contact Patricia Murphy at OIGISPRecruitment@state.gov
– 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! 6 Leadership Lessons from USAID (Government Executive) – Though it has its problems, the author sees USAID as a laboratory for effectively getting meaningful work done. Who knew?
- New! Making USAID Fit for Purpose — A Proposal for a Top-to-Bottom Program Review (Center for Global Development) – This paper offers a blueprint for an agency-wide review of USAID’s strengths and weaknesses.
- New! U.S. Agency for International Development: Background, Operations, and Issues (Congressional Research Service) – This report provides background information on the institutional makeup and operations of USAID.*
- New! Two USAID Employees Designated Among USG Top Workers (Washington Post) –Mia Beers (OFDA) and Natasha de Marcken (Office of Education) are highlighted in Washington Post feature.
- New! Bid Protest Denied in Largest Ever USAID Award (Devex) – Chemonics wins $9.5 b Supply Chain Management procurement.
- New! Judge: USAID Must Lift Contractor Suspension (Washington Post) – IRD had been accused of “serious misconduct.”
- Making USAID Fit for Purpose — A Proposal for a Top-to-Bottom Program Review (Center for Global Development): This paper offers a blueprint for an agency-wide review of USAID’s strengths and weaknesses. The proposal recognizes that a modernized USAID should position itself to better complement assistance from other countries and multilateral institutions, as well as private investment, remittances, and recipient countries’ domestic revenues.
- Gayle Smith’s Bid to Run USAID Hits a Snag (DEVEX): Republican senators object to her stance on the Helms amendment.
- Tax Them and They Will Grow (Economist) – To be able to grow, poor countries need to get better at raising tax, and multinational firms need to get better at paying it.
- U.S. Never Asked Alan Gross About His Imprisonment in Cuba (The Daily Beast) – Alan Gross was locked up by the Castro regime for half a decade. When he got out, no one in the U.S. government debriefed him about his time in captivity.
- Why Is the U.S. Letting Its Best Foreign Aid Tool Fall Apart? (Foreign Policy) – As America is blowing billions by using its military as a one-size-fits-all solution for emergencies around the world, USAID is understaffed, underfunded, and on the cusp of crisis.
- Reflections on the U.S./African Leaders Summit (Wilson Center) – The Summit theme was “Investing in the Next Generation,” and provided an opportunity to discuss key issues and define a way forward for US-Africa relations.
- Strengthening Africa’s Security Governance (Wilson Center) – A key theme of US-Africa Leader’s Conference was Africa’s role as a venue for economic growth, social development and rising democratic governance while also confronting the grueling realities of transnational terrorism, illicit trafficking and intra-state conflict that still grip parts of the continent.
- GAO Review of Steps to Safeguard G2G Activities USAID has government-to-government (G2G) assistance activities policies that generally reflect federal accountability standards to help ensure funds are used as intended. However, GAO identified several steps in implementing these policies that could further strengthen accountability.
- USAID Gets a New IG Nominee After a 1310 Day Vacancy (Diplopundit) – Ann Calvaresi Barr, the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Transportation, is President Obama’s nominee to be the USAID IG.
- The End of Extreme Poverty (Ted Talk) USAID’s Alex Thier shares the Agency’s view on how this goal might be achieved.
- Howard W. French on the Gayle Smith Nomination (Diplopundit) – More concern expressed re. Smith’s past involvement with authoritarian regimes, but there is not a good field of options for the appointment.
- Conspired to Defraud Uncle Sam? Be Very Afraid. We’re Gonna Put You in Home Confinement! (Diplopundit) The CEO of Louis Berger, the third largest USAID contractor, gets feather-slapped by the court.
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! Foreign Service Oral Histories (Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training) – Included are more than 1900 searchable oral histories completed over the past thirty years by individuals from USAID, State, USDA and Labor.
- New! Development Talk – A World Bank Blog – Interesting reading hosted by the Bank’s Chief Economist.
- July/August 2015 Front Lines – This link will take you to the most recent edition.
- The Good Country Index offers a measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity. For a TED Talk that discuss the Index, click here.
- Fragile 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
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: email@example.com Attn: Website.