From Across the Pond to Farm Life on a (Very) Small Pond!
Pamela Baldwin left USAID in late 2002 after serving as Mission Director in Croatia, joining World Learning to serve as Senior Vice President and head of the Vermont-based NGO’s Washington division. World Learning’s projects during her tenure focused on training and capacity-building, gender, child labor, conflict resolution, primary education and civil society.
Pamela’s second retirement came at the end of 2006, when she decided to join her husband Malcolm full-time on the farm in Lovettsville, Virginia that Pamela had purchased on a whim in 1992 while on emergency leave from Sri Lanka. With 28 acres of fields previously dedicated to hay and horses owned by others, as well as a 1794 house and a large 1870 barn in reasonably good condition, the Baldwins worked to develop an integrated agricultural and tourism business that now includes a flock of Romney and Merino sheep (raised for their excellent wool) and two guard llamas, a vineyard producing Viognier and Cabernet Franc grapes for a nearby winery, a wedding venue and a “farmstay” B&B cottage.
WeatherLea Farm & Vineyard hosts several hundred visitors every year during the Loudoun County Spring Farm Tour, as well as up to 10 weddings each year between May and October, with outdoor ceremonies, cocktails in the vineyard and dinner receptions in the renovated barn. Last year they also began hosting overnight guests in their farmstay cottage and have been overwhelmed by its popularity.
In addition to their farm activities, Malcolm Baldwin is currently a Democratic candidate for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, while Pamela chairs the board of a start-up food co-op in Lovettsville and both are active in a wide range of local environmental and land-use issues including farmland preservation. The Baldwins would be delighted to see USAID friends at WeatherLea and encourage those seeking a getaway from urban or even overseas life to check out their cottage at www.vrbo.com/275209 or www.weatherleafarm.com. A USAID discount will apply!
But back to being gainfully employed. Since 2005, Carlton has worked for the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC). His title is Director, Program Procurement Policy and he provides advisory services to MCC host countries during program development and implementation. His work has taken him to some familiar places – Georgia, Morocco and Senegal, but it has also introduced him to some new places – Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Zambia just to name a few. While the work-related travel has been much more than he could have ever imagined, the work has been extremely satisfying. It has given him the opportunity to work directly with host country government procurement professionals and he has come to learn that no matter how developed or under developed the country might be, when it comes to conducting public procurement the challenge is the same – everything has to be done yesterday!
Carlton looks forward to the day when travel will only be for pleasure and he and Karen will be able to spend more time at their homes in Baltimore, MD. and Sarasota, FL., in other words “real retirement”. Until then, there will be more new places to discover and a few more adventures to be had.
Alan began his career with then-AID at its inception in 1960 as Deputy Executive Secretary. While there Alan was seconded to the White House Food for Peace Office, where he became Deputy Director, and co-director of a White House Nutrition Task Force that recommended that AID explore a U.S. role in national-scale multifaceted nutrition operations.
Ambassador to India Chester Bowles, who had read the report and wanted India to be a prototype country, recruited Alan to plan and implement what would be USAID’s first large-scale multi-sectoral national nutrition program. This effort enabled our Agency to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the Bihar famine of 1966-67. The timely massive intervention he coordinated, along with his other innovative nutrition work, earned Alan the 1968 Jump Award, the government’s annual tribute to the Outstanding Young Civil Servant. While Alan was in India his seminal article, “Malnutrition and National Development,” based on his AID experience there, was published in Foreign Affairs, making the case for the first time that improving nutrition, far from being merely a medical or welfare issue, is vital to a country’s national development. This article led to his secondment by AID to The Brookings Institution where, as a Senior Fellow, he wrote the path-breaking book, The Nutrition Factor: Its Role in National Development.
From this work Robert McNamara, a trustee at Brookings and President of the World Bank, recruited Alan to initiate a nutrition program at the World Bank, with the scope to implement and build upon the recommendations contained in his writings. There, as the World Bank’s senior nutrition officer for 23 years, he was the driving force behind its $2.1 billion nutrition projects portfolio.
Along the way, Alan authored six books and numerous articles. For five years he was Visiting Professor of Nutrition at MIT and chairman of the Nutrition Panel for the National Academy of Sciences’ World Food & Nutrition Study. Further specifics are available from a recently published interview here (“Visionary at the Conception”, page 121).
Gary Bisson reports his second retirement after 10 years of private practice. He and Ellen sold their Arlington home late 2010 and moved to a cottage @ Westminster-Canterbury lifecare community in Winchester. Alas, the garage is still too full for the car. Five years on Board of Trustees, currently Vice Chair, for Medical Care Development, Inc., in Augusta, ME, a public health care PVO with special focus on malaria control in Africa. Golf, poker, occasional game of pool, and for the first time in his life reading for pleasure! Ellen is immersed in genealogy, her own and often for friends. She’s the guiding enthusiast for a family history group here, an active DAR member, resident praline maker, and family travel guide. Two month winter holidays are spent in the Caribbean, wherever the rum is good and the water is blue! Son Mark’s in Arlington and Todd in LA with our grandson Dante nearby. Life is good, especially when the Red Sox are in the ‘win’ column! Call (540 450-0270), write (email@example.com) or visit (169 Elderberry Drive, Winchester, VA 22603).
Jerry Bowers served in USAID for 27 years, retiring as a member of the Senior Foreign Service. He was USAID Deputy and Acting Mission Director in Haiti and USAID Representative in Mexico. He also served as a Health/Population Officer and General DevelopmentOfficer in Pakistan, Thailand, Morocco and Bolivia. In the private sector, he has been a Project Director for two USAID projects, and has undertaken over 30 short-term consulting assignments.
When their son and daughter-in-law urged them to move to rural New Jersey in 2006-“to be closer to your [eventual] grandchildren”–Jerry and his wife Maureen left DC moving to bucolic Holland Township. Suffering from a severe case of acute WDS (Washington Deprivation Syndrome), Jerry sought relief by plunging into a wide range of civic and voluntary activities, including membership on the town’s zoning board and utilities and environment committees and as a district chairman for the Hunterdon County Democratic Committee.
In 2007, Jerry joined his town’s volunteer fire company as a fire police officer. This year, he was accepted into the county/NJ state firefighter training program – a rigorous, four-month certification course. His academy instructors said he is probably the oldest person in the county and likely the state to successfully complete that program. Jerry admits that the punishing physical demands of the program (e.g.crawling through dense smoke in 60 pounds of gear during live fire/search & rescue exercises in the academy’s burn building) took him to the limits of his capacity. Prior to training, he prepared by “slogging up and down the stairs in my house for an hour a day with 25 pounds of kitty litter in my backpack, while carrying a 50-pound sack of rock salt.” He evidently succeeded. “Most of the 18 and 19-year old trainees”, he said, “were able to keep up with me.”
Despite this intense “retirement,” the Bowers spend the largest portion of their time in the exhausting, but happy realization of the true meaning of that “closer to your grandchildren” invitation – spending four days a week looking after Erin, 5 and Nate, 3. Jerry now claims to be cured of WDS – with the possible exception of ending his role in an institution staffed largely by other UAA members, the Arlington-based longest-running poker game in Agency history.
After retiring from USAID in2007, Betsy Brown and Chris Brown settled in Lake Placid, NY, near her childhood home, to enjoy fresh air, outdoor activities, and family. After years of work with international NGOs and as a short-term consultant with USAID missions, an opportunity came Betsy’s way to work from home and apply her international family planning and management expertise domestically. She serves as CEO and President of Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York, a huge territory from the shores of Lake Champlain to the shores of Lake Ontario, ensuring services to the underserved and far-flung population. As an independent consultant for USAID and other clients, he currently is the Acting Chief of Party for an evaluation project in West Africa for the Mitchell Group and works with several companies on new business development. Between field visits, Betsy and Chris enjoy spending time with their adult children, who are pursuing their work and studies. Mike is a lawyer working with an environmental law firm in New Orleans and Danielle is in her last year of school and a practicum for her degree as a nurse practitioner. Danielle plans to work as a rural health NP in the North Country. Betsy’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris’s e-mail is email@example.com.
Richard Brown retired from USAID in 2000, joining Winrock International as Vice President of Programs in their Washington DC office. Since Dick had been in Indonesia as Deputy Resident Representative for UNDP from 1974-77, he took advantage of an opportunity to return as Chief of Party for a Robert Nathan Associates Trade and Investment Project. In December of last year, Dick picked up his golf clubs and tennis racquet and retired after 7 years as Vice President of AEAI. Busy with his life on the Pamlico River in North Carolina, 3 dogs, and 3 grandchildren plus his sports and fitness activities, he can’t believe he had time for meetings and conference calls! However he remains interested and concerned about development activities and likes to stay engaged. Phone him at 202.344.5696 or 252.946.8338 and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Malcolm and Tish met (1978), married (1979), tandem-deployed (1979 – 1999) and created a family (1994) under USAID’s auspices. They had rich and varied careers. Malcolm was Acting AA/DAA in three bureaus, Director in 4 missions and Executive Secretary, retiring in 1994. Before USAID, he was with State, OMB and the NSC. Tish was in mission program offices in Bolivia, Peru and Lebanon, board advisor at the Asia Development Bank, participant in State’s Senior Seminar, Deputy Director/Guatemala, and PPC Policy Office chief. Along the way, they shared a passion for both development and the outdoors–hiking mountains, kayaking, and scuba-diving-and most important, for two infants from Nicaragua.
Malcolm’s “retirement” began as Program Director for the North Carolina Outward Bound School, putting his interest in the outdoors into wilderness training. He followed this with establishing his own consulting firm, serving as President of Partners of the Americas and of the Riecken Foundation, and stints as Senior Vice President at Management Systems International and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. He serves on a number of private and non-profit boards and advises USAID on the Higher Education Solutions Network. Connect at email@example.com.
Upon her 2004 retirement, Tish explored the world of corporate consulting at Booz Allen Hamilton until 2008. However, the siren call of USAID brought her back to help with the presidential transition, serve on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and help create the Policy, Planning and Learning Bureau as the Policy Office Director until her Second Retirement in 2012. She is on the board of The International Foundation and consults part-time from TMB Partners LLC, of which she is President. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roger Carlson joined USAID in 1963 fresh out of college, eager to get involved in foreign affairs and motivated by President Kennedy’s appeal to youth to join government and bring a new era of dynamism and change to public service. After initially working in the Military Assistance Division of the Agency’s Planning Office his first overseas assignment was in Algeria. He convinced his former Peace Corps boss, Gail Sander, to join him there where they were married in Algiers in 1964.
As with many USAID officers in that era with a spouse safe havened, in 1967 they began a two year period of shuttling between Saigon, where Roger was a Planning Officer at Military Assistance Command, and Bangkok, where Gail was the Administrative Assistant to the Peace Corps Director. They then spent 1969-70 at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, followed by USAID assignments in Tunisia, USAID/W, studies at Stanford Graduate School of Business and then Somalia. Roger moved into the Directorship of Southern African Affairs in the mid-1980s and later in Swaziland and Mozambique.
Post retirement in 1996, he teamed up with a small publisher in Johannesburg and launched a magazine, “Transport World Africa,” dedicated to analysis and debate about the African continent’s transport infrastructure crisis. His experience in Mozambique confirmed that high transport costs in Africa, and from Africa to overseas markets, were seriously reducing competitiveness of African products. He never planned to get into journalism, but it was a refreshing change and a real challenge. He recalls spending many days travelling the back roads of South Africa in an un-air conditioned Mazda3, interviewing CEOs about logistics bottlenecks and selling advertising for the new publication.
In 2004, he returned to USAID for a “second time around.” In Afghanistan he helped the Mission find ways to address the narcotics challenge and served as a senior advisor to the Minister of Agriculture. From 2005 through 2013, he served in senior USAID positions on an interim basis in six Near East and Asian countries and in the Asia Bureau in Washington. He remains available for short-term assignments.
Roger and Gail’s children, Caroline and Kevin, were born in Tunisia in the mid-1970’s. Tragically, Gail died unexpectedly in 2009. Roger’s children and their spouses now live in Florida and Roger thoroughly enjoys his role as grandfather to four boys between the ages ten and three. During school holidays he often joins them in Florida and runs what the boys like to call “Camp Gramp!” While Roger still resides in D.C., he spends time on Cape Cod, maintaining a family home and summer rental property near the National Seashore Park. It has become a wonderful retreat, winter and summer, for the Carlson clan.
One of the newest members to engage in the UAA mentoring program is John Champagne who is partnering with a USAID staff member in Armenia. After nearly 49 years of marriage and 26 household moves, John and his wife Penny have returned to Holyoke, their home of origin in western Massachusetts. They have 5 grandchildren. Daughter Kristen, who served with OFDA in the mid-1990s, and her family are in the Foreign Service and currently living in Bangkok, while their son Jeff and his family are happily ensconced in Annandale, Virginia.
John began his international development career with USAID in 1970 following four years as a U.S. Army Officer (Special Forces) and completion of a Masters Degree in International Relations. His first overseas post was Thailand, followed by a two-year rotation to Washington as Assistant Thailand/Burma desk officer and a return to Thailand in 1977. Panama was his next overseas assignment where he served as Deputy in both the Health/Education/Training and Agriculture Offices. Returning to Washington in 1984, John served as Associate Director for Caribbean Affairs, USAID liaison to the Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics Matter and later as Associate Assistant Administrator in the then PPC Bureau. His final USAID assignment was Director of Middle East Affairs.
As he notes, John’s post USAID-retirement has been as eclectic as his foreign service career. He was AED project manager for the largest USAID participant training program with a staff of 145 in 10 countries of the former Soviet Union. He assisted EGAT’s Office of Business Development to launch a domestic outreach program, including the Global Technology Network. After 9/11, he was hired by General Dynamics to assist U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, VA to develop management systems for improved civilian-military coordination and planning for complex emergencies. He assisted USAID to establish an Office of Military Affairs in the DCHA Bureau to facilitate DOD coordination. Finally, in 2008, John and a small team of junior officers set up and staffed a new Office of Civilian Response in DCHA.
“In my non-working life I still run and rollerblade. Penny and I also bike, kayak, snowshoe and cross-country ski. I am currently assisting a small non-profit in the western Massachusetts area develop an agroforestry project in Cameroon. In addition, I help the Director at our hometown’s new $8.1 million senior center to design and develop a lifelong learning program.” There is clearly life after USAID.
Jock Conly works as a full-time gardener in Granby, Massachusetts. The job doesn’t pay much (a few tomatoes), but it rewards him with tangible results. Before his gardening career, Jock was a USAID Foreign Service Officer for 29 years (1977-2013). A former PCV in Sierra Leone, Jock joined A.I.D. as an IDI after earning his MPA in economic development at Princeton.
Inspired by David Shear’s work in the drought-ridden Sahel, Jock requested Niger as his initial FS assignment. Tours in Bangladesh (1980-84) and Egypt (1984-87) followed. He returned to Washington for two years to work in the Office of Southern Africa Affairs. In 1989 Jock left for Pakistan to head the program office. A year later, he returned to AID/W for personal reasons. After eight years of developing strategy for a new assistance program to Eastern Europe, heading the CDIE evaluation division and directing the program office in the ENI Bureau, he attended the National War College. In 1998 he left for Kenya as mission director. He and his family arrived less than a week before Al Qaida bombed the embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. Jock, Buff Mackenzie and Steve Wisecarver were the only USAID officers in the chancery when the bomb went off and were among the lucky ones. USAID awarded colleagues Lee Ann Ross and Mike Trott the Distinguished Honor Awards for their roles in the recovery effort. In 2001 Jock returned to AID/W. He retired two years later.
Jock worked for Save the Children and then joined Booz Allen Hamilton. In 2009 USAID asked Jock to return as mission director in the Caucasus. In 2011,the Administrator asked him to be mission director in Pakistan. Jock agreed to a one-year assignment. It was his most difficult assignment. “Challenge #3 was the inability of the USAID staff to travel widely to monitor projects, due to the security situation. Challenge #2 was endemic corruption and the unwillingness of the local political leadership to make important reforms. And challenge #1 was the redundant layers of leadership in USAID and the State Department who wanted to do my job for me. ”
Jock retired “for the last time” in July. He and Laurie have retired to Granby, Massachusetts, eight miles south of Amherst and one mile from Mount Holyoke College. Their colonial farmhouse, built in 1746, gives an old project officer plenty of projects to keep him busy. Daughter Claire (a business consultant in San Francisco), son Matthew (a lawyer in New York) and daughter Gillian (a third grade teacher in Washington, DC) all visited for Thanksgiving and plan future R&Rs from their own demanding careers in Granby. The house, by the way, has three guest rooms for visiting USAID alumni. Contact: email@example.com.
Winner, 2015 UAA Alumni Award
Jatinder Cheema reached mandatory retirement age while posted in Ghana as the Regional Mission Director for West Africa. She was totally unprepared for retirement, but she was saved from having to figure out life after USAID for another four years when she was recalled to serve in Afghanistan and then Armenia as the Mission Director. She started her career with USAID in 1989 as a PSC in Bangladesh. Prior to her work with USAID, she was a consultant with the World Bank and UNICEF. She joined USAID as a USDH in 1991 in Burkina Faso. She retired as a Senior Foreign Service Officer.
Cheema (the name she goes by) retired again in 2012, moving to Madison, Wisconsin and downsizing her lifestyle into a condo with her husband Jeffrey Wright, a native of Wisconsin. Madison, a university town, was a perfect fit. She immediately volunteered for local associations and was invited to sit on the boards of the Marquette Neighborhood Association, the Greater Williamson Business Association, and the Madison Development Corporation. Besides bringing diversity to the boards, she was instrumental in expanding their activities into programs to help people with special needs and was actively engaged in progressive issues with the associations. During her overseas career with USAID, she learned the value of dialogue, of listening and negotiating to solve problems. To apply that learning back home, she bought a historic house and converted it into a space for the community to meet, network, engage in progressive dialog, and discuss local issues. She called her conversation salon “A Place to Be” (www.aplacetobewillystreet.com). The space was also designed and decorated to house her extensive collection of African, Asian, and Caucasian art, including carpets, sculptures, paintings, and textiles.
She has immersed herself in making A Place to Be a community space, while taking full advantage of all that Madison has to offer: music, theater, festivals etc. She lives in the Marquette Neighborhood, named one of the ten best neighborhoods in the US by a national association of neighborhoods. In 2016, however, USAID knocked on her door again for two short-term assignments in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Since last fall, she has been in Almaty, Kazakhstan as the Mission Director for Central Asia until September 2017.
In between work and retirement in Madison, she loves to travel, especially visiting her family in India where her mom lives. Cheema has just finished producing her mom’s memoirs, which should be in print shortly, called “As I Remember the Life History of Raminder Kaur Cheema.” Cheema is an avid tennis player and has convinced her husband, an equally enthusiastic player, that tennis is a perfect sport to get old with.
August 23, 2011 at 1:51 p.m. an earthquake rippled through Virginia during Carol Dabbs’ first-month of retirement. Was Mother Nature showing her disapproval?
Carol welcomes contact from former colleagues at firstname.lastname@example.org
Winner, 2014 UAA Alumni Award – International Category
Anne Dammarell retired from USAID’s Foreign Service in 1988, having worked in participant training and later as a program officer. Since then she has volunteered on three different continents. First, in Egypt she taught for three years with the Maryknoll brothers, who had set up an English language program in the Coptic Catholic Seminary in Maadi, Cairo, as part of their post-elementary education for young seminarians, primarily farmers from Upper Egypt. She later returned to Egypt for three summers, 1991-93 to teach at the Maryknoll English program for the seminarians in Alexandria.
In the 1990’s, Anne taught English to Latino immigrants at the Sacred Heart Center in Adams Morgan and to several immigrant neighbors she befriended who needed to improve their language skills. She also earned a M.A. degree in Middle East Studies at Georgetown University, studied theology at the Washington Theological Union, and volunteered at the White House answering mail.
Between 2000 and 2007, Anne volunteered at the Sitar Arts Center in Adams Morgan, a project to advance critical life skills of underserved children and youth through visual, performing and digital arts education that is not available in the public schools. These children of poor working parents came to the Center for classes and practice after public school classes were finished. Volunteers and major organizations contributed equipment, musical instruments and instruction, and a variety of performance and technical training. Anne taught the children writing, play composition, knitting and more English. She also held classes for mothers and grandmothers who came to escort the children home, in English and literacy, and even basic creative writing for some.
In 2011 the Maryknoll Brothers again asked Anne to teach English, this time to Buddhist monks at a Wat located in a working area of Bangkok. She volunteered for 3-month periods each year between 2011 and the spring of 2014. She taught both monks and laity ranging from young students and workers to retired men and women. With few exceptions these are a poor and underserved population with little access to education, but with ambition and a strong desire to learn. Buddhist monks value education and wish to prepare for a working life outside the monkhood. Anne taught novices and young monks from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Burma as well as Thailand, between the ages of 14 and 21. Many were selected by their communities based on perceived potential; most were expected to leave the monkhood and return to work in their countries. Those who remain monks frequently teach English to other monks.
The overarching purpose of these volunteer efforts has been to address the needs of the poor and marginalized, to help them individually through access to education, and therefore to find better employment and contribute to the common good of society as a whole.
Bob Dakan, a retired FSO, uses over 37 years of managing development programs in Asia and Africa as the basis for his Coaching career. A speaker of Indonesian, Lao, and Thai, his comfort in working in different cultures has enabled him to guide new entrants to USAID through its often impenetrable culture. Bob, who was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia (196365), began in USAID as a program/economic development officer, gaining supervisory experience in a series of assignments in Asia. He retired in 2000, having served as Mission Director (Belize) and Office Director in the LAC Bureau. Since USAID, he worked for several development partners in Asia, but after the 2004 tsunami, USAID called him back to Indonesia to provide support services for the construction of the 175km Aceh Road. Bob is married to Maya Dakan and, when not coaching USAID employees, enjoys their four grandchildren.
George Deikun retired from USAID in 2009 as a Career Minister from his dream job of four years as Mission Director to India. He came to India from Kazakhstan where he served as the Regional Mission Director to the five Central Asian Republics while they were front line programs after the US intervention in Afghanistan. Over his 29year career, he served as Deputy Mission Director in Russia and Haiti, Environmental Office Director in Egypt, General Development Office Director in Russia, and in numerous RHUDO assignments in South America, Caribbean and West Africa.
After retiring from USAID and with no lack of idealism, George joined the United Nations as the Director of UN Habitat’s Liaison and Humanitarian Affairs Office in Geneva, Switzerland. With his seven-year stint at the UN he realized a lifelong goal of working with the brotherhood of nations addressing the world’s development and humanitarian challenges. He served as UN Habitat’s representative to the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) which brings together all the major UN and NGO humanitarian actors to guide humanitarian policy, law and operations development. There, he led the development of the IASC’s first Strategy for Meeting Humanitarian Challenges in Urban Areas, using the resources of cities to respond to humanitarian crises rather than setting up camps and other inefficient responses. He led the same over thirty UN agencies, INGOs and Geneva based diplomatic missions in advocating an urban perspective in the formulation and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
After reaching the mandatory retirement age, George retired from the UN in 2015. His plan was to retire in Thailand for the following couple of years but he got offers from USAID that he couldn’t resist, bringing to USAID the benefit of his multilateral experience. He returned to Kazakhstan as the Regional Mission Director and gave strategic direction to the program, including a new US foreign policy initiative to reengage with the Central Asian states in trade, energy and security. He then joined RDMA as a senior strategic advisor to develop USAID’s first development cooperation strategy with the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). George is taking some time off to travel in Asia as he ponders his next steps. He just completed a tour of Sri Lanka’s five UNESCO World Heritage sites. He is using the extra time to deepen his practice of Tibetan Buddhism and study of other spiritual traditions, art history and history in general. He is also looking forward to getting his art collection out of storage. George welcomes reconnecting with colleagues. His personal email is email@example.com.
Regina Dennis – Nana
Regina DennisNana survives life challenges. Her first trip to Africa was by train and boat from Brussels, where she had been studying French. Later, as a graduate student, she was a victim of sexual abuse, took the young white wrestler to court, sat on the witness stand for three hours, and saw justice prevail with an allwhite jury and judge. She has survived four car accidents in Africa.
Still, nothing prepared her for the devastating 7.0 earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12, 2010. On that evening, she was working in the embassy and heard the Marine guard’s voice announce: “Get away from the windows; this is not a drill.” The earth shook; the Embassy’s ceiling and platforms fell, and papers flew. This experience brought home the value of appreciating and living each day to the fullest.
Regina worked for 20 years as a Development Anthropologist, focusing on food production and health care among agropastoral societies. Starting her USAID FSO career in 2001, she served in Nigeria, Ghana, Haiti and Guinea. In this capacity, she oversaw Agency policies and procedures to design, monitor and evaluate, budget for agricultural, health care, democracy and governance and educational programs.
Retirement in 2014 has enabled her to concentrate on projects she long had on the back burner. Settling in St. Louis, she renovated a 137 yearold Victorian house in an old neighborhood that is in the process of bouncing back. The home has become a meeting place for family and guests from around the world as well as for community events. Serving as a Division “F” Governor for Toastmasters International has smoothed her transition into St. Louis area. Regina also maintains an active membership in the Nimba Toastmasters club in Conakry, Guinea via Skype.
In 2015, she returned to Cameroon both for sorrowful and happy family events: the death of her husband and the wedding of a nephew, whom she promoted to become a medical doctor. In 2015, she traveled to France to witness the christening of a grandchild, and in March 2016, to Senegal on a “weekend” trip to attend an extravagant wedding for a godson. Most recently, she welcomed the arrival of her fourth grandchild. For the rest of 2017, she anticipates getting involved in her community with gardening projects and serving as a role model for youth interested in international careers. She also plans to promote trade and business with Africa and write books. Taking care of elderly family members is a time consuming, but necessary, element of her life. All in all, she is enjoying her retirement.
Clinton (Tony) Dogget
Born into a USAID family, Tony Doggett spent the bulk of his childhood in Greece, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Kenya. His own 23 year career with USAID began as an International Development Intern (IDI) in 1980 and took him to Niger, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, and Zimbabwe, plus some exotic corners of USAID/Washington, including the Cambodia, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Haiti desks and two funfilled years with the E&E Bureau during the Kosovo crisis. After formally retiring in 2003, he worked for the American Institutes for Research as a proposal writer and manager of USAID and USDOLfunded education projects in Haiti, Djibouti, Yemen, Southern Africa, and Macedonia. Before long he was drawn back to the USAID mother ship and found himself backstopping Millennium Challenge Corporation “Threshold” programs in twentyodd countries. He then spent three and half years as an FSL program officer in the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs. Since 2014, Tony has been providing intermittent program office support to the USAID missions in Morocco, Mozambique, Egypt, and Tunisia as a PSC. Between overseas gigs he outfits gentlemen with high quality suits, shirts, and ties at Wm. Fox & Co., a renowned Washington, DC haberdashery.
Tony has played the guitar since he was in high school in Bangkok in the sixties and has three record albums currently available on iTunes, the most wellknown of which is a collection of twelve original songs about life and love in the Foreign Service called Please Don’t Send Me To Zaire. Tony met his wife Anne in 1977 and asked her to marry him pretty much on the spot after hearing her sing a few Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell numbers. The two have a daughter (Elizabeth) who lives in Munich and three sons (Clinton, Ben, and Bradley), all of whom live in the DC area and have selfpublished record albums of their own. Grandchildren are popping up left and right three at last count with two more on the way this summer.
Tony is very happy as a postcareerbut not “retired”development professional. In fact, he may never retire fully. He thinks it’s wonderful being able to continue making positive contributions around the world while still being a part of the USAID family; being able to choose his own assignments; and not having to write or receive performance evaluations. When not busy being a program officer or haberdashing, Tony enjoys making music with family and friends, playing with the grandchildren, swimming, and taking lots and lots of pictures.
Alan Donovan joined USAID in October 1966 as a Management Intern and served in both Washington and Nigeria. He left the Agency in 1969 energized by the African spirit and culture and moved to Kenya to work on the preservation of African culture and national identifies. Along with Joseph Murumbi, first Foreign Minister and former vice president of Independent Kenya, Alan founded the African Heritage Gallery in 1972. The first Pan African Gallery on the continent, the Gallery once had 500 artisans and 51 outlets worldwide. Through the Gallery’s annual African Heritage Festival, African art and crafts were internationalized. In 1995, the World Bank described African Heritage Gallery as “the largest, most organized craft retail and wholesale operation in Africa “. Architectural Digest’s article described the building as “… a vision of usefulness informed by the African genius for decoration.” Alan had got his inspiration for the house from the mud mosques of Mali, the mud castles of southern Morocco, and the coral buildings of East Africa’s coastal strip. The house has recently been gazetted as a Kenyan national monument.
As Chairman of the Murumbi Trust, Alan has secured a Ford Foundation grant to restore, interpret, preserve and label the Murumbi historic collection of political, artistic, textile, material and cultural artifacts, displayed now in permanent glass showcases at the Kenya National Archives and at the new Murumbi African Heritage Collections at the Old Provincial Commissioners Office in downtown Nairobi. Alan is presently compiling an autobiography of Murumbi based entirely on transcripts Murumbi left behind that will provide an important insider’s view of independent Kenya’s early history.
Alan also worked closely with the Friends of Nairobi National Park and organized several fund raisers for this organization after he closed African Heritage in 2003. The African Heritage has stunning views of the park.
Alan is now looking to preserve the collection, house and vision through collaboration with an American institution. A delegation from American University recently visited African Heritage House to discuss creating a center to promote African history and politics, conservation and sustainability, development and heritage as well as African art and culture.
Alan was nominated for the UAA Alumni of the Year award in 2014 and was one of the finalists. He welcomes hearing from his USAID friends and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
After more than 50 years of involvement in U.S. and international housing and urban development concerns, Bob Dubinsky remains active in these issues. He is the Board Chairman of IHC Global, an advocacy and information dissemination policy focused NGO coalition of 35 organizations in Washington, D.C. that supports raising the profile of sustainable cities and improved housing in the developing world. IHC Global was established 10 years ago by former USAID employees Peter Kimm and Jack Howley and is supported by Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), the National Association of Realtors (NAR), foundations, and members of the housing coalition. IHC works with a variety of partners, publishes a weekly newsletter, organizes events and seminars and is involved in policy dialogues with a variety of domestic and international organizations. Its web site is: www.IHCglobal.org
Early in his career Bob worked at HUD in the Johnson Administration and for various consultants that support U.S. urban development activities. He was the RAND Field Manager that tested the concept of housing allowances and vouchers that led to the development of HUD’s Section 8 Program. For 10 years he served as a USAID PSC and was fortunate enough to manage housing and urban development projects in Barbados and Jamaica. The Jamaica case was an innovative public private project to revitalize downtown Kingston. In the early 1990s he also helped design USAID’s Office of Housing Initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Subsequently, for the International City County Management Association (ICMA) he managed housing, decentralization and municipal management projects in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary.
Bob is married with four step children and lives in Washington, D.C. Between trips to visit grandchildren in Annapolis and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Bob is an active member of the UAA and InterAction and makes it a point to be in touch with the cadre of people in Washington who believe urbanization and how the world responds to it is one of the most significant development issues of our time. Retirement is not his goal. His personal email is Robertdubinsky@aol.com
Sharon Epstein has had a very interesting life before, during and after her time in USAID.
Her career began with nine years in the U.N. Fund for Population Activities. Although the typical U.N. agency at the time employed only about 2% women, UNFPA had about 45% young, committed professional women who were encouraged and supported by senior management especially her mentor Dr. Nafis Sadik. Sharon opened the first UNFPA office in Bangladesh in 1972 as UNFPA Field Coordinator to that country and managed its $10 million program. She then went on to become the UNFPA Regional Coordinator in the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea and then became Coordinator in Pakistan.
In 1984, Steve Sinding and Michael Jordan encouraged Sharon to join USAID. She began in the Bureau of Science and Technology and then moved to the Asia Bureau. She subsequently served in Bangladesh where she was Director for Population and Health.
In 1989, Sharon returned to the U.S. to care for her parents. While in Washington, she served in the Africa, Asia and Latin America/Caribbean Bureaus. Still unable to accept overseas postings because of family responsibilities, she resigned from the Agency in 1997.
During the next four years, she led the Focus on Young Adults Program, a USAID-funded Pathfinder International project addressing adolescent reproductive health. Following her parents’ deaths, she became Director of the Healthy Women in Georgia Project, a USAID-funded John Snow reproductive health project based in the Imereti region of Georgia, roughly four and a half hours from the capital, Tblisi.
Sharon then worked as a consultant in international health, as she has at intervals throughout her career. In 2009, she was reappointed to the Foreign Service in USAID and served as Team Leader for Health in Nigeria and, most recently, in Afghanistan.
Sharon retired to Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2013 and now spends quality time with her many friends, including pooch-sitting for Marco Polo who belongs to a friend. She has recently organized a reunion of USAID Alumni in North Carolina. Like other retirees who are not entirely retired, Sharon “keeps her oar in” as a consultant in international health and development.
Paula Feeney served in USAID for 27 years, including eight years in the Senior Foreign Service. Her long term overseas assignments included Georgia (regional office for the Caucasus), Kazakhstan (regional office for Central Asia), the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Barbados (regional office for the Caribbean), and Nicaragua. In Washington, she directed the Office of European Country Affairs and before that the Health Office in LAC.
Since leaving USAID in 2003, Paula continues working full time in the international development arena at Cardno Emerging Markets USA, focusing on business development in the infrastructure and environment, health, governance and economic growth sectors. However, she does take time these days to smell the flowers, for example pictured here at Singapore’s Botanical Gardens with its most wonderful collection of orchids. Her children, Alison and Will, are undergraduates at William and Mary and the University of Virginia.
Winner, 2016 UAA Alumni Award
Dave’s USAID career reflects a long-time commitment to rural development, beginning with his farming experience in Minnesota. Starting as a Rural Development Officer in Vietnam in 1968 and then Bangladesh, he expanded his scope by moving into Program Officer work in the Philippines, Malawi, and Sri Lanka, along with a stint as India Desk Officer. That experience culminated in his appointment as USAID Representative for Food Aid, U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Rome. Upon his retirement from that position, he applied his experience in rural development and program design to the above projects promoting land conservation and improved forestry management, which he expects to continue well into the future.
Winner, 2015 UAA Alumni Award
Stephen H. Grant
Stephen H. Grant was a nominee for (domestic) Alumnus of the Year. Since retirement, he has served in the volunteer position of Senior Fellow at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST), where he lectures at FSI on African culture, edits oral histories, and edits diplomatic memoirs. His biography of Peter Strickland (New Academia, 2007) was an “ADSTDACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Book.” Strickland was the 1st US Consul to Senegal, living on Goree Island; the sea captain kept a fascinating journal with daily entries from 1857 to 1921.
Steve’s second biography was Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger (Johns Hopkins Press, 2014). In it, he tells the amazing story of how a Brooklyn couple during the Gilded Age quietly assembled the largest collection of Shakespeareana in the world. The Folger Shakespeare Library that they founded in 1932only two blocks from the U.S. Capitol has become a worldclass research institution. Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize winning book reviewer for the Washington Post, wrote: “In Collecting Shakespeare, Stephen H. Grant provides not just a biography of the ‘onlie begetters’ (founders) of this astonishing library, but also an account of the worlds in which the Folgers lived.The result is a superlative book … crisply written and packed with facts and anecdotes …” (WP, April 24, 2014). The president of the Shakespeare Guild, John Andrews, penned enthusiastically, “This book will fill a major gap in our understanding of how one of America’s most influential institutions came to be.” Steve has spoken about the Folgers at historical societies, universities, private clubs, resorts, community centers, churches, book festivals, and libraries. His venues have included widely known institutions such as Library of Congress, National Press Club, National Arts Club (New York), and San Francisco Public Library. Identifying himself as a former Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Grant has given 70 presentations across the US and six in England and Scotland.
In 2015, Steve joined the Arlington Neighborhood Village, now 180 members strong. On April 1, 2017, he was the only member asked to address 150 villagers or potential villagers in an AARPled program in the Arlington Central Library with an illustrated talk entitled “I Modified My House.” As a spokesperson for the Arlington chapter of the Village Movement he has shown a strong example to others in how to deal aggressively with the issues and challenges of Aging.
John and Anne Heard
John Heard likes to say that his wife Anne robbed the cradle. They met while at Stanford and married the following year on John’s 19th birthday. Upon graduation, the two headed off to Japan with the Air Force and began their international careers. After four years, they returned to Phoenix, Arazonia for graduate school, John at Thunderbird and Anne at ASU for a Masters in Social Work. John’s thesis took him to the Dominican Republic to evaluate an AID Sector loan. In 1970 he joined USAID as an IDI, along with UAA’s present Executive Commmittee Co-Chair Carol Peasley.
In 1977, after serving in Costa Rica and Washington, D.C., John left the agency to become a small farmer in California and do contract work with USAID. John and Anne decided to join the Peace Corps in 1980 and became Co-Directors in Nicaragua and in Paraguay. Upon returning to Washington, John returned to USAID and worked in Africa and LA Bureaus and Anne started at State Department’s Family Liaison Office until she joined USAID as an IDI. They were assigned to El Salvador as a tandem couple: John as Associate Mission Director for Operations (AMDO) and Anne as assistant EXO. Their next and last posting was the Philippines. They retired in 1994. But not for long. Two years later, they went to Bosnia as PSCs.
They retired in 2000 and John has been the consulting game ever since. He and Anne went to Colombia for the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) in 2003 for four years to manage a large program in alternative development (war on drugs) and the reintegration of displaced people. Back in the USA, John continued consulting in Colombia: “…[I am] passionately in love with this amazing country and its people.”
They now live in New Mexico. Both are heavily involved in board activities with non-profit organizations: Friendship Force International and the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum. John is also Field Rep for the Southwestern states region of Friendship Force and Co-President of the New Mexico club. They both are active in Sister Cities and Global Ties (the international visitor program), stay in close touch with good friends in and from Colombia and have been assisting two families with critical education programs.
Recently John has been involved in the UAA mentoring program, both as a mentor and participation in management of that valuable activity. He is now in his first year on the UAA Board, continues with mentoring management and hopes to be able to assist UAA with outreach to those beyond the beltway.
John and Anne are proud to report that their grandson Andre, a Peace Corps Returnee and presently at The Fletcher School, intends to pursue a career in international development.
Unlike many of the Alumni members, Jerry Jordan has never really left USAID! She is currently employed by DCHA’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) as an intermittent Senior Management Advisor. Jerry joined USAID in August 1962 as a GS-3 Clerk Typist and, after many years in the administrative and personnel field, she became Director of the Asia Executive Management Staff (EMS) in 1982. From 1982 to 1995 Jerry served in all four regional Bureau EMS Director positions, two rightsizing exercises and as a member of several Management Assessment teams.
In August 1995, after 36 years in AID/W, Jerry was given the opportunity to convert to an FSL appointment to manage the Agency’s first regional Executive Office. Jerry, two retired EXOs (Bill Wanamaker and Luke Malabad) and a TCN from Guatemala (Fernando Cossich) provided administrative support to 16 Europe and the New Independent States AID programs from Budapest, Hungary. This was the “Tiger Team”.
In May 1998, Jerry was recognized for her management achievements as a recipient of the State Department’s highest management award – the Luther I. Replogle Award for Management Improvement. Following four years in Budapest, Jerry officially retired but continued as a PSC with the Tiger Team. Jerry has spent considerable time on the road including a 16 month assignment in Islamabad. Unfortunately, Jerry has been going through some medical issues which prevents overseas travel. But, no regrets – 93 countries under her belt!
However, since Jerry has always enjoyed the quiet and relaxing environment of the ocean, she “settled” in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in 1999 and enjoys the company of her sister who lives nearby. Her daughter lives in Virginia Beach, VA and her son is in Olney,Maryland so they are close enough to visit often. Jerry has three grandchildren — John Jr., 27, Jenna 21 and Peyton 15 with whom she stays in close contact.
With the extra time, Jerry has started drafting a book about her experiences in USAID. “A Broad in the Foreign Service” will highlight many Washington and overseas experiences. In addition to the book, Jerry enjoys the excitement of Delaware casinos. She has been fortunate to hit a couple of jackpots. Jerry reports that there is nothing better than hearing those bells go off and seeing the words – “you’ve just won 900,000 pennies”!
If coming to the area, Jerry welcomes a visit or call – email@example.com; 302-226-8288.
Kelly and Nancy Frame Kammerer left USAID for the south of France in 2003. Their life now focuses on the seasons—tending their olive trees, fruit trees and grapevines in the Provence sun. They make a good olive oil and are just beginning to make their own wine. Nancy gets back to the US regularly to visit her daughter in New York and as a member of the board of a NASDAQ-listed company, while Kelly is quite content to stay on their little farm for most of the year.
Working for USAID was always in the cards. A California native, Barbara received a bachelor’s in nursing at the University of California San Francisco and then promptly packed up and drove East with no money, no experience and no plan. She landed a job at Boston City Hospital in their Women’s Health Clinic, followed by a position at the Pathfinder Fund. After a few years designing reproductive health programs, she got her MPH at the University of Michigan, where she was delighted to find over half the class was international students on USAID scholarships. This international exposure led her to USAID, where she was USAID’s first Regional Health Officer for REDSO/ESA, attended the National War College, and launched her senior management career as Deputy Mission Director in Peru and AID Rep in Cape Verde and Paraguay. She survived attempted coups, office bombings, droughts and floods, cholera outbreaks, election rigging, kidnappings, and civil military skirmishes.
Barbara retired early from USAID and moved to Chapel Hill North Carolina where she currently resides. For the next 15 years she worked for various implementing partners. Then, a bit weary of new business development she went to work for Mott MacDonald (engineering firm based in the UK) where she led their global development efforts. Next up was International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Then in 2014, Barbara returned to USAID to work on the DCHA Bureau’s CS3 Firehouse team to provide TDY assistance to field missions. Back to where she began, Barbara is happy to be with USAID for short-term assignments.
Barbara is married to Diego, a Paraguayan and professional field hockey player and coach who travels home 23 months each year to advise the national team. She has two children: Lindsy lives in Miami and works for AirBus in their Latin America operations, and Kelby is a senior and Criminal Justice Major at Western Carolina University. Barbara’s latest retirement this year brings lots of plans and aspirations. The family bought a small motorhome to explore the US and hike the National Parks. This summer they drove to Zion, Bryce and Arches in Southern Utah. She is also getting back in the saddle and next spring will join a seven day ride through Utah’s Red Rock Canyon. The one thing Barbara is still trying to determine is where she can become locally involved. Once you have worked for USAID, helping others “is in our DNA.”
Winner, 2014 UAA Alumni Award, Domestic Category
Mary Kilgour retired from USAID in 1996 after a highly successful career – Mission Director in Liberia and Bangladesh, multiple senior management positions in Washington and USAID faculty member at the National War College.
After retirement Mary was a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem [Court-appointed Special Advocate for Children] for the past 15 years. Drawing on her own childhood as an orphan she represented children in dependency cases in which parents were in court because of child abuse or neglect.
As Guardian Ad Litem, Mary advocated for the best interests of the child, meeting frequently with the children, parents, psychiatrists, lawyers, governmental caseworkers, and schools. Some legal cases would go on for years – and, in those cases, Mary provided continuity for the children as they changed foster homes, schools and case workers frequently. She developed close, personal relationships with about 25 children over the 15 years. Besides representing their best interests in court, she spent hours getting to know them; helping them understand that a tough childhood or being an orphan could be overcome; taking them to movies and for lunches; urging the children that education was their escape route from poverty; and generally showing them that they are valued human beings. She even trekked to the Juvenile Detention Center on a few occasions to provide a “hug” and to ensure that the rights of these troubled children were protected.
While Mary left her Guardian Ad Litem role a year ago, she remains active in supporting the disadvantaged in her community – this time from her church. She is a leader in their community outreach ministry that is working with the homeless and very poor in the community. She is on the board of the clinic that provides services to the homeless and very poor, and also does “sovereign immunity interviews” once a month for the patients and clinic. Beyond this active participation through her church, she serves as a volunteer Patient Advocate at the local hospital emergency room, working once a week at the hospital to help patients and their caregivers be more comfortable as they await diagnosis and treatment.
She has also become a prolific writer, publishing ten short stories in various journals [including seven in the Foreign Service Journal]. Even more significantly, The Child Welfare League of America published her eloquent memoir, Me May Mary, in 2005. It is an inspirational description of her difficult childhood and teen years in a Connecticut orphanage and the positive paths she and her brother paved for themselves. In summary, Mary Kilgour has taken USAID’s concern for the poor and carried it with her to her local community and also branched into creative fields she couldn’t fit into her demanding work life before retirement.
Bob Lester served with USAID for 30 years in the Office of the General Counsel. He started out as an International Development Intern in Saigon, Vietnam, next moved to USAID’s regional office in Nairobi, and then as an attorney-advisor and Assistant GC for Legislation and Policy for the next 26 years. He finished up his stint in Washington-or Washington finished him-with a little bit less than a year on the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee. During his tenure at USAID he served 9 month stretches as Acting GC and as Acting AA/LPA. Right now, he and his much better half, Deedee, are sitting in an RV in northern California and loving every minute of it.
This is our second long trip with Cowboy, our cat. Next summer we’ll probably spend in our RV at a campground in Asheville, North Carolina. It’s a beautiful town with a fun minor league baseball team, the Asheville Tourists, a name that strikes fear in the hearts of the opposition. Go Tourists. There’s also been some consulting work, e.g., another rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act that was never enacted, and some training for USAID new hires. That’s always a lot of fun as we try to explain to the young ones why a bill rarely becomes a law, and what all the huffing and puffing on the Hill really means.
If y’all are in the neighborhood, give me a call and stop on by. I can teach you all about grits-not a dietary staple in NYC but pretty much so down here.
How does a guy from a small rural community in Indiana end up in a development career? Jon Lindborg’s family hosted a series of international exchange students who expanded his vistas beyond the farmland surrounding his boyhood home. During high school, he spent a summer studying Spanish in Mexico. After completing his undergraduate degree, he joined the Peace Corps. He spent three years teaching in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga — not unlike rural Indiana in its isolation, but surrounded by the Pacific Ocean instead of cornfields. From then on, he was hooked on doing international work.
After a six-year interlude managing their family farm in Indiana, while pursuing a graduate degree at Purdue University, Jon returned to Tonga where he was Country Director for the Foundation for the South Pacific. This is also where he learned more about USAID and joined the Agency in 1986. His first assignment was a Private Enterprise Development Officer in Indonesia. He then led USAID private sector development offices in Sri Lanka and Jordan. Jon returned to Indonesia as Deputy Mission Director before becoming Mission Director in the Philippines, from where he retired in 2009.
Jon then joined the Asian Development Bank (ADB), based in Manila, where he led the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure practice for the Southeast Asia Department, supporting environment and infrastructure projects throughout Southeast Asia. Subsequently, Jon was appointed ADB’s Country Director in Indonesia. Reaching ADB’s mandatory retirement age of 60, he left in late-2013.
Jon now lives in Kailua-Kona on the “Big Island” of Hawaii. He remains engaged with international development and finance work, including two recent 6-month senior advisor stints with USAID/Indonesia. Jon looks back on his USAID career with appreciation, feeling he learned more than he ever gave in return. Not only did he gain a wealth of development knowledge and skills, Jon notes that he was blessed with smart colleagues and wonderful mentors.
In his spare time, Jon enjoys ocean sports and exploring the Big Island. He participates regularly in an ocean swimming group that follows the Ironman route, is a member of a Hawaiian paddling club and still tries to continue his longtime windsurfing passion, even as his body doesn’t always cooperate. Also located in the Pacific Islands region, his son Ryan is a student at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Jon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kris Loken left USAID in 2001 after 23 years serving as health/population or democracy officer in the West Bank & Gaza, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, El Salvador, and Eritrea.
After “retiring”, the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) immediately recruited Kris to be their Director for the Middle East and Asia and later the director of their program in Nepal. Upon returning from Katmandu, Kris found time to pursue her life long passion: meditation. Free to make long-term meditation retreats annually, Kris has studied at Panditarama in Lumbini (Nepal), the Forest Refuge in Barre (Massachusetts), Dhammagiri in Igatpuri (Maharashtra), and the Bhavana Forest Monastery in High Point (West Virginia.) Meditation is the bedrock of her happiness, energy, and health.
In 2008 she spent four months at the University of Oslo studying peace research and afterwards travelling through Norway to locate Norwegian relatives. Kris also trained with Jon Kabat-Zinn and has taught his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction meditation practices to friends in their final days. In addition she has been working on the Eastern Panhandle Single Payer Action Network, the Medicare expansion, and reproductive health programs, and most recently the rollout of Obamacare.
In 2009 Kris was a member of a peace delegation to the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel organized by Inter-Faith Peace Building. She maintains a strong interest in the Middle East since her work there with USAID and continues to play an activist role in peace organizations. Kris, a Quaker for 45 years, has found a welcoming Meeting in nearby Shepherdstown, where she serves on the finance committee.
Kayaking, biking and skiing keep Kris in shape and are readily available near her home in West Virginia. Kris loves her cottage with two-acres overlooking the Potomac River in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. After spending all those years in developing countries, “West Virginia sort of felt like the next natural step.” The state is “run rather like a colony by outside coal companies – and now natural gas, too. West Virginians are wonderful, warm people but are poor, undereducated, and unhealthy compared to other Americans. Young people have to leave the state to find decent paying work.”
When neighbors asked Kris to run for the state House of Delegates for West Virginia District #62, Kris said “Yes!” to a 24/7 non-stop political schedule. She wants “to be part of the solution in West Virginia.” Follow her campaign at: www.VoteLoken.net.
Mary Le McIntyre
Prior to her USAID life, Mary Lee McIntyre was a researcher with the historian, Dr. Richard Hewlett, at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, working on the history of the first A-bomb and taught government and history at Western High School and George Washington University.
After marrying USAID William R. McIntyre, she began a twenty-year stint as a “USAID spouse” that included tours in India, Pakistan and Lebanon. While overseas, Mary Lee taught at the American International School in New Delhi, India and at the International School of Islamabad, Pakistan. In Beirut, she taught at the American University of Beirut, Haigazian College, and Maqassed. Tragically her husband, Deputy Director of Lebanon, was killed in the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut on April 18, 1983. Left with three children to support, Mary Lee joined USAID and served as a Pop and Health Officer in USAID/Bangladesh for three and a half years. Upon returning to Washington, she worked in the Private Voluntary Organizations Office and the Europe and Eurasia Bureau until 2000.
Mary Lee continues to lead a busy life. She is active in the local Democratic Party, reads for the blind, has studied conflict resolution, and acts. She is currently a member of the Playwrights Forum and writing stage plays with roles for older women. She is presently writing on suffragist Belva Lockwood’s fight to achieve “equal pay for equal work” for women civil servants legislation that passed in 1870. In addition she teaches Legacy of the Middle Ages for Encore Learning in Arlington County.
Mary Lee’s love of travel hasn’t lessened. She has cruised the Nile, taken art trips, with a Wellesley Art Professor, in Egypt and Italy, and visited Russia – Stalingrad, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Each spring she tries to visit her beloved Bologna, Italy, where she did graduate work for a M.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies.
In January 2010, she married her college sweetheart who passed away in December 2010. Now a grandmother of nine, four grandchildren of her own and five step-grandchildren, Mary Lee feels blessed.
UAA’s outreach to former USAID FSNs now living in the Washington area has recently taken off, thanks in part to Sherif Mowafy, originally from Egypt and now working with USAID’s Global Health Office as a civil servant. Sherif has recruited other FSNs to pool their insights on starting new lives in the US and create a practical guide for other newcomers, “Soft Landings for ex FSNs.” UAA hopes to engage both former FSNs and other USAID retirees in informally assisting new FSN arrivals to the US under the Special Immigrant Visa program. More on this volunteer opportunity later.
First, here is Sherif’s story.
Sherif Mowafy is a good example of someone who used to be an FSN but is now working at USAID/Washington as a civil servant.
Sherif hails from Port Said with a degree in Finance and used to work in Cairo. He joined the USAID Mission there in 1989 as a Finance officer, but after a year, he moved to the Contracts Office, where he worked for nine years. He then decided to leave USAID and spent seven years working with a local NGO which had just received a sizeable grant from USAID. With his background he quickly moved to Senior Management where he was able to give valuable advice about USAID procedures. When the grant ended, he and his family decided to try their chances in the United States.
Fortunately, thirteen years ago, Sherif’s wife received a green card through the lottery. At that time they put it aside, since both had good jobs in Cairo. She was working in the travel section of the American Embassy. After a family conference and much soul searching, Sherif applied for a job at USAID in Washington in the Procurement office and had a phone interview with them. He was accepted and then had to wait six months for his green card. His wife, since she already had her green card, couldn’t wait that long, since they had to get their two daughters in school, and she had been offered almost the same job she had at the Embassy at the State Department. So she came to Washington with their children, then still quite young (8 and 10), found an apartment, bought a car, and got them in school. Sherif followed six months later and began working as a Contract Officer backstopping the Global Health Supply Chain Management Project. Later he moved to the Global Health Office and is now the Contract Officer’s Representative for that contract. He is the Deputy Division Chief in that office, with a team of fifteen people.
Sherif says, looking back, it was a hard transition for the whole family, settling in, making new friends, but now they’re happy to be here. Of course, they keep up their family ties in Egypt, and his oldest daughter, Yara is currently in Cairo doing a semester abroad at AUC. His youngest daughter, is now a senior at Oakdale High and wants to pursue a career in design. They’ve bought a house in Fairfax.
Following retirements in 1989 and 1996 respectively, Haven and Jeanne North continued to be strong voices in the discourse that shapes the direction and practice of development. Together, they co-wrote a history of US Foreign Economic Assistance as a chapter in the book: Foreign AID and Foreign Policy: Lessons for the Next Half Century, Picard, etc. editors.
After taking on consulting assignments, Jeanne turned to voluntary activities including service on diverse boards such as Opportunities Industrial Center International (OIC/I); the Bannockburn Cooperators, Inc. and the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). Her service on the NAMI board was focused on strengthened understanding and management of mental illness by consumers and their families. Jeanne also got deeply into oil painting, with particular interest in landscapes and people.
In his post-USAID career, Haven served as consultant to a wide range of bilateral and international development assistance organizations. He led or contributed to: the first phase of the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its Special Program for Tropical Africa (SPTA); IFC’s evaluation program; UNDP’s programs on co-financing, capacity building, HIV/AIDS, Round Tables and Vietnam Aid Coordination; DANIDA’s Evaluation Program; evaluation of USAID’s first years in Iraq; the DAC/OECD study that reviewed evaluation programs of 28 donor agencies; USAID’s programs in southern Africa and Iraq; and most recently introductory descriptions by decade for “Fifty Years in USAID: Stories from the Front Lines.”
He also conducted 100 + Oral History interviews for ADST, covering the life’s work of USAID retirees and for the Institute of Peace, covering the work of USAID reconstruction program staff who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Haven says the interviews, which ranged from 5 to 20 hours, were fun to do. They gave interviewees an opportunity to record experiences and produced a considerable volume of interesting stories. Haven is the first to say that these are not definitive historical records. However, they do provide insights on major international events and reminders of USAID’s important work in development and disaster relief. Perhaps their greatest lasting value is for the children and grandchildren of the interviewees to learn about what their parents, grandparents and relatives were up to all those years overseas.
The North’s remain resident in Bethesda, MD. Their son, Charles is a 27-year veteran of USAID who recently served as Mission Director in Russia and is currently DAA of the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment. Daughter Jeannette has worked in development and is now with the School Development Authority of New Jersey and son, Ashby is a graphics artist and an illustrator/author of children’s books. Visits with their children are celebrations for Haven and Jeanne.
Following his 40 years as both a USAID employee and as a USAID contractor, with experience in 75 countries, Steve retired in 2009. Since he wasn’t really ready to quit, he became a contractor with the U.S. Department of State as an English Language Officer. In this role he accompanied international diplomats and other international dignitaries all over the United States. By 2013, after working in 29 states and 66 cities, he actually did retire.
Steve enjoyed meeting all the people from such a variety of countries. He is happy that he was able to introduce many of them to the American way of life and still stays in touch by e-mail with scores of them.
Now Steve speaks publicly on what he calls the USAID-Peace Corps Nexus. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer (Panama 64-66). Steve was nominated for the 2014 UAA Alumni of the Year award.
He would be happy to be in contact with his friends from his days with USAID and may be reached at email@example.com.
John Pielemeier, at age 50, was also TIC’d out in 1994. Building on his 24 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and USAID FSO, he then managed his own consulting practice, leading project design or evaluation teams in environment, health, and agriculture projects and providing management advice and training for USAID and a host of acronymical consulting firms. In the early2000s he managed the TAACS program at CEDPA, leading to his recruitment in 2004 as a USAID coach. John has primarily coached new Program/Project Development officers but also has coached over 180 environment, agriculture, education, health and executive officers. During the DLI orientation programs, John’s wife, Nancy Pielemeier, joined him in presentations to employees (and often their spouses) on “Two Career Couples and Raising Kids Overseas”.
as told to Patrick Rader
In 1983, Sean O’Leary began working as a PSC Executive Officer for USAID/The Gambia. He served until 1996 when USAID closed due to a coup two years earlier. After serving in several Missions he was hired into the Executive Office of USAID/Kosovo. By Christmas 2003 Sean found himself on leave in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was there that he experienced a very real and powerful call to the eremitic (hermit) life.
He spent the next five years in The Gambia living as Brother Dismas, a hermit under the private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and provided free medical care to the sick poor. Towards the end of that time, he went to see the Bishop of the diocese of Banjul to seek the status of canonical hermit.
After a two year application process, the Bishop called Brother Dismas to his office where he broke the news that he would be allowed to be consecrated and make his commitment publicly before the congregation of the Church where he had been worshiping. During the ceremony three years ago, the Bishop blessed his habit and accepted his final perpetual life vows and became known as Brother Dismas Mary of the Cross.
Brother Dismas is a Canonical Penitent Hermit of Divine Mercy in the Diocese of Banjul, The Gambia. As a hermit, his life is dedicated to penance, prayer, contemplation and work (caring for the sick poor who come to the hermitage daily). His personal rule of life is an adaption of the first order rule of St. Francis of Assisi, thus he has become an actual beggar in order to meet the needs of the people who come to the hermitage seeking medical help.
If you would like to contact Brother Dismas or help his cause, you may reach him at the coordinates below to learn more.
c/o Catholic Secretariat
PO Box 165 Banjul, The Gambia
cell: +220 373 1912
cell: +220 773 1912
After more than 20 years with USAID, Mission Director to the Caucasus Denny Robertson retired in 2007. He continued development work with private contractors and occasionally returned to USAID to act as Mission Director for Armenia and Brazil, as Director for the PEPFAR Office of HIV/AIDS and as Development Counselor in Bulgaria.
Denny decided to get back to his community development roots and applied to become a Peace Corps Country Director. He had served as a Volunteer in the Philippines in the 1970s and 35 years later in 2011, he returned as the Country Director. “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love” applies to being a Country Director as well as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Through his work in Peace Corps as an ‘old (er) guy,’ Denny is able to pursue one of his passions – teaching – in an applied context with hundreds of (mostly) young Americans on the road to global citizenship through volunteer service. He especially loves the connection to the next generation, which keeps him on his technological toes. He uses his interagency relationships to the advantage of the Peace Corps program – opening doors to Volunteers for future careers with State, USAID and the broader international development community.
Denny loves the fact that every day is a surprise whether helping volunteers during the good times of creating libraries in rural schools and organizing fisher folk to take responsibility for the environment or working through the bad times of typhoon “Haiyan”. Denny is pleased that the Philippines was selected as a pilot country for placement of same-sex Peace Corps Volunteers – a sign of how far we have come in recognizing human rights for the LGBT community.
He plans to stay with Peace Corps a bit longer – and will soon move to Ukraine to re-start the program, which was temporarily suspended when hostilities with Russia broke out. Then he will take stock and see which doors mysteriously open as they have done in the past. Denny also plans to write about his overseas experiences once he retires from the Peace Corps.
Winner, 2014 UAA Alumni Award, Domestic Category
Satish Shah joined USAID as a Foreign Service National (FSN) in Kenya in 1962. After gaining U.S. citizenship he became a Direct Hire for USAID in 1977. He retired in 1994 with the rank of FEOC.
Since retirement Satish has been an active member of the Dallas Indian Lions Club. During his tenure as its treasurer, the Club raised over $60,000 to support several charities in India, Nepal, the Philippines and United States. He has been a co-leader of DILC’s monthly activity in McKinney, Texas, where about 150 homeless people are provided daily meals. He also participated in an eye care camp for school children. This year Satish serves as a member of the Donation Committee that reviews applications for donations to several organizations in India and the United States.
He is an active member of the Jain Society of North Texas, a faith-based organization with over 350 families as members. The organization provides religious education, conducts social and cultural activities and maintains facilities for Jain faith worshippers. Satish has served on the Board of Directors, leading the Facility Management Committee, which has been responsible for renovating an 18,000 square foot building that the Society purchased in 2010. Salish continues to provide technical support for the maintenance of facilities owned by the Society.
Satish developed and published a Directory of Oshawls living in Canada and the United States in 1996 and since then has updated it regularly for the benefit of about 500 families living in Canada and the United States who have immigrated to the U.S. from Kenya and India. He researched and wrote various sections of the book and also edited the final product. Satish was also a member of Finance Committee and Treasurer of a Home Owners Association in Plano, Texas.
Satish Shah’s work in the Dallas area seeks to build strength in the immigrant community and to facilitate their integration with the local population – while, importantly, maintaining links to community culture and building continuity with second and third generations.
During his 22-years with USAID, colleagues considered David Shear an innovative development leader. He and Don Brown received the Rockefeller National Public Service Award in 1976 for their work on the creation of the Sahel Development Program and special legislation.
Keith Simmons served at USAID for 16 years, and retired as Minister-Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service. His long term overseas assignments included the Gambia, Niger, Angola, Armenia, and Serbia and Montenegro. He was USAID Mission Director in the last three countries. In Armenia and Serbia he was asked to be Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia and then as a Peace Corps Country Director in Bahrain and Yemen. In the private sector he was an Executive Vice-
President of a consulting firm working abroad on contracts for USAID, the WB and the ADB.
Since leaving USAID in 2007, Keith has been either re-hired or contracted to provide services as Acting Mission Director in Russia, Bosnia, Armenia, Cyprus, Albania, and Azerbaijan. He has also served as Acting Chief of Economic Development and Environment in Uganda. When he is home in Gold River California he spends time with his significant other Jelena Burgic, his daughter, grandson and extended family and friends, plays tennis, hikes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains including climbing Mt. Whitney last year. To remain engaged in international affairs Keith serves on the board of the World Affairs Council in Sacramento, continues engagement with the Armenian-American and Serbian-American Diasporas and has made numerous presentations related to International Development at universities and colleges.
Steve and Monica left USAID in 1990. After a year at the World Bank and the Experiment in International Living, respectively, they moved to New York, where Steve directed the population program at the Rockefeller Foundation for the next eight years and Monica became the secretary and head of external affairs at the Population Council. Monica left the Council in 1995 to get a degree in social work at Smith, and then worked for several years as a geriatric care manager. In 1999 Steve moved from Rockefeller to Columbia University where he taught public health and international development courses until 2002. In that year Monica and Steve moved to London where Steve served for the next four years as Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
They returned to the States in 2006 and moved to lovely Manchester, VT. Monica has been heading up the local Bennington County Habitat for Humanity chapter and the Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning — an adult education organization. Steve is on the board of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the Manchester Music Festival. He also chairs the board of the UK-based International HIV/AIDS Alliance and serves on the boards of Abt Associates, the African Population and Health Research Center in Nairobi, and the Guttmacher Institute. Both find time for plenty of skiing and other outdoor sports pleasures. They welcome visits from USAID friends far and near.
As a 1969 USAID IDI, Glenn Slocum enjoyed a six-month, first-ever overseas tour in Pakistan, traveling around the country and visiting Afghanistan. Although he spent most of his 28-year career serving in French-speaking Africa (Cameroon, Senegal, Mauritania and Burundi), as well as four years in Paris at the OECD Club du Sahel, he also worked in the Africa Bureau in Washington for five years in between overseas assignments. His final USAID direct-hire service was in Washington, as Director of the Office of East Africa, following a year at the National War College.
Jonathan Sperling started with USAID in October 1966 and was in the crowd TIC’d out in 1994. For 24 years, he served as program officer in Kenya, Thailand, Liberia, Indonesia, Tunisia and Pakistan. Since retirement, he has consulted with missions on project design, evaluation, strategies, and program work. Experience in the Baltics, Caucasus, Balkans, South Asia, WB/G, Sri Lanka and Colombia served him well in preparing new entry folks for life at USAID. He has been coaching since 2001, suffering through myriad hiring mechanisms. If you want to be in touch with him email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann Van Dusen left USAID at the beginning of 2001 to be Executive Vice President of Save the Children in Westport, Connecticut with the certainty that this would be the next step in her move northward toward her beloved Vermont. Three years later she was back in Washington, getting reacquainted with this wonderful and exciting city and its preoccupation with all things political. The next few years were a wonderful combination of new adventures – philanthropy (both NGO Board work and consulting with foundations); political campaign activity (after years of being “Hatched” it was a total revelation); and teaching graduate classes at Georgetown and SAIS. And yes, occasional trips to Vermont!
In 2011, Carol Lancaster, Dean of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, made Ann an offer she couldn’t refuse: come to Georgetown and design a new, practitioner-oriented Master’s graduate program in Global Human Development that addresses the knowledge and skills required of development practitioners in the 21st century. Oh yes, and get the program up and running in short order. Along the way, Ann consulted with many USAID alums and colleagues who have offered not only sound advice but also internships for students, guest lectures, and teaching (USAID faculty include Steve Radelet, Holly Wise, Maureen Lewis. Carol Lancaster and David Sprague). Lest anyone doubt it, Ann is ready to testify that the USAID alumni community is vibrant and generous! And the first Masters class in Global Human Development graduates In May 2014.
After 30 years of USAID, Ronald F. Venezia retired to form an international consulting firm – Ronald F. Venezia Associates, Inc. As a subcontractor he provided services to the World Bank (WB) as a certified procurement advisor to WB activities in the former Soviet Union (1994-2000), and as director and advisor to Abt Associates for projects funded by the US Department of Labor (USDOL).
Ron served as Project Director for six-country Central American Occupation and Health Improvement project (2000-2003). This project provided training on occupational safety and health (OSH) to the region’s labor ministries, trained trainers in various civil society organizations and developed tools for apparel factories to learn the actual return on OSH investments. The toolkit was translated into Korean. The project’s own steering committee solicited and received funding from other donors after DOL funding ended.
Ron served as a subcontractor to Abt Associates in the design and implementation of another USDOL funded project for modernization of Labor Inspection Services in Central America and the Dominican Republic (2004-2010). The passage of the United States-Central America – Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) focused attention on the region’s labor inspection services. Ron possessed a unique insight into the dynamics of the labor inspection services. When the USDOL sought bids on CAFTA-DR project, Ron proposed that Abt Associates and the Costa Rican Foundation for Democracy (FUNPADEM) submit a joint proposal administered in FUNPADEM’s San Jose offices. They agreed. Ron oversaw the development of the project, which independent evaluators gave high marks.
Ron was cited as a “visionary”. Due to its success, the project received additional funding and was extended twice for a total of seven years and total financing of $23 million.
Ron’s provided near and long term vision for increasing the capacity of the labor ministries of the region, ultimately benefiting the citizens of six developing countries, and supporting US policy objectives. His photo also testifies to Ron’s long term vision. It was taken during a visit to the Compalapa Credit Coop that he founded in Guatemala as a PCV in 1964. The Coop now has over 8000 clients and over $3 million in savings.
In 1996 Ron was asked to participate in the Department of State Oral History project. (see www.adst.org). Ron retired from development consulting in 2012. He was a finalist for the 2014 UAA Alumni of the Year award. He would welcome hearing from his colleagues at email@example.com.
Drawing on her roots in rural Arkansas, Elzadia “Zee” Washington started her career with USAID as an Agriculture Development Officer. In her 30 plus years with USAID, she served in multiple positions, lived and worked in 8 countries – Mali, Belize, Cameroon, Egypt, Haiti, Uganda, Philippines and ended her career as a Mission Director in Namibia. When asked which was her favorite country, her response is always the same – “don’t have one, each Post provided experiences my family and I will always cherish.”
Post retirement from USAID, Jerry Wein spent years working with development “.orgs” while remaining in McLean, Virginia. That nonsense ended three years ago when he and his wife, Martita Marx, pulled up roots and moved to their new home in God’s country called Bend, Oregon. Lifestyle changed but the pace of daily life has not. They volunteer in a free health clinic serving the uninsured, play lead roles in reducing wildfire risk in their heavily forested community, travel the Northwest, ski, and hike with fantastic panoramas provided free of charge. They have enjoyed sharing the Central Oregon-Cascades area with about 35 sets of houseguests. Jerry and Martita return several times a year to the DC area to see family and friends. When they yearn for a taste of the international scene they board a plane, most recently for a month split between Barcelona and Paris. Jerry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Wentling continues building on 50 years of humanitarian service that began in 1967 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras and Togo. Since arriving in Togo in 1970, he has been dedicated to working for the betterment of Africa. His work and travels over the past 46 years have taken him to all 54 African countries. He says he was born and raised in Kansas but made in Africa.
Following stints as Peace Corps Director in Gabon and Niger, he began working for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Niger in 1977, and served as USAID’s principal officer in Guinea, Togo/Benin, Angola, Somalia and Tanzania. He was promoted into the Senior U.S. Foreign Service in 1988.
Since his formal retirement from USAID in 1996, he worked under contract as USAID’s Senior Advisor for the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa and as a specialized consultant in Malawi, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia. He also served as USAID’s country manager in Niger and Burkina Faso in the 2006 to 2010 period.
Mark has also applied his extensive development experience to NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs), CARE and World Vision, in Niger and Mozambique. In his last position with World Vision, he covered all of Africa from his base in Maputo and worked in a number of African countries. In 2011, he accepted a position as Country Director for Plan International in Burkina Faso. In 2015, he moved with his family to Lubbock, Texas where he assisted Breedlove Foods, a producer of humanitarian relief foods, and taught an honors course in international development at Texas Tech University. Most recently, he began working as a senior agricultural advisor with USAID’s West Africa Regional Mission in Accra, Ghana.
Mark was honored in 2014 with Wichita State University’s annual alumni achievement award. He’s also a graduate of Cornell University and the National War College. He has published three books … his African Trilogy…and numerous professional articles. The publication of his fourth book, Dead Cow Road Life on the Front Lines of an International Crisis,” is forthcoming this year. He likes learning about other cultures and speaks a number of languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Ewe, Hausa and Kiswahili. He tries to reside as much as possible in Lubbock with his wife and three of his seven children. He plans to continue working as much as he can for as long as he can. Mark wishes to be known as a father, a humanitarian, an author and a teacher, and as someone who has a good and generous heart.
During his long career with USAID, Paul White thrived during assignments in remote areas working with indigenous communities. In the process he learned six languages and became skilled at partnering with NGOs and local government. After retirement, he became involved with Toastmasters International, which trains and encourages members to develop their skills in public speaking. Not surprisingly, Paul used the familiar material of his far-flung USAID experience for his early speeches. His early speeches featured development success stories from around the world, as well as in specialized areas such as HIV/AIDS, family planning, appropriate technology, etc. In no time, he was a skilled promoter of USAID and foreign aid.
As Paul came to appreciate the communications and leadership benefits of membership in Toastmasters, he turned to helping the organization expand and diversify its membership to include non-English speaking members in the US. He rose through the ranks to become the District Governor of the 10th largest Toastmasters district in the world and chartered almost 100 new clubs throughout the Washington DC area. He also introduced the first bilingual clubs in the region, including Spanish-English, Chinese-English and Spanish-English.
Then using his Asian cultural affinity and fluency in Lao, Cambodian and Thai, Paul launched an effort to expand Toastmasters into new parts of Southeast Asia. After extensive travel in the region, he helped create new clubs and organized a new District including Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
In recognition of his successful efforts, Paul received the organization’s highest honor, a rare Presidential Citation, at the Toastmasters International Convention in 2013 (see photo). Last summer he also traveled to Myanmar to launch a new Toastmasters program there. Today Paul feels that he is using the experience and skills he developed while at USAID “in perhaps smaller but every bit as important ways to help make our world a better place.”
Paul was nominated for the UAA Alumni of the Year award last year by Joan Silver. Although he was not ultimately one of the finalists, his post-retirement activities are indeed inspiring in terms of new ways to build on past experiences and explore volunteer service with new organizations – in this case one with both local and global impact.
Steve Wingert began his international development career in 1968 as a Peace Corps Volunteer assisting a USAID funded rice cooperative in Guatemala. After three years as a PCV he was contracted by USAID to design and manage its agricultural cooperative and credit union projects. At the time most USAID equipment and many of its forms were still labeled “ICA,” from USAID’s predecessor International Cooperation Administration. His coworkers dated back to the years of Truman’s Point IV program. Few current USAID employees are familiar with the blue mimeographed PIO/Ts and PIO/Cs that preceded (by several generations) MAARDS and GLAAS.
As a USAID Foreign Service Officer Steve served in Bolivia, Honduras, LAC Washington, Guatemala, and ended his career as Mission Director in Costa Rica. Since retiring in 1995 Steve has successfully completed over 100 consulting assignments in 29 countries, with work in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. He has focused on assisting USAID Missions with strategic planning, program design, monitoring and evaluation, implementation, and organizational strengthening. As an example, he recently completed an assignment to assess the impact of the USAID/South Africa program by applying the criteria of aid effectiveness from the Paris Declaration and USAID Forward. In 1997 he created his own consulting firm, Wingerts Consulting, and has a roster of over 100 consultants, mainly USAID retirees, who have agreed to work with the firm on appropriate assignments.
Many USAID officers and retirees know of Steve because in 1980 he and his family purchased Morgans Cay, a small island near Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Steve and his wife Marilee spend three months a year at the Cay, where the accompanying photo of Steve was taken. He is able to manage his consulting business from the Cay with a high speed internet connection. Others know of him because his daughter Anya Glenn and her husband Ted Glenn are both USAID Officers,currently stationed in Kinshasa. Marilee Wingert does volunteer work managing a scholarship program and provides other assistance for a woman’s organization in a small Mayan village in Guatemala made up of widows from three decades of conflict in that country. Their son Jeremy also works in the public sector as a multi-state corporate auditor for the State of California.