Latest News from UAA

UAA Calendar

 Mark your calendars and watch for emails announcing further details of the following events!


Save the dates!  More details will be provided later for this year’s additional UAA social events, including the following:

New! Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 2:00-3:30 p.m. The Development Issues Committee will hold its next meeting via Zoom with former Mission Director Charles North as the guest discussion leader.  Charles, who is currently the Deputy Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), will discuss the work of the GPE and the challenges to the education sector in developing countries in light of the coronavirus pandemic. A separate notice to all alumni will be sent out in early May with instructions on how to register for this discussion and how to participate in the Zoom meeting.  Alumni are requested to sign up for this event by COB on Monday, May 17th.

New! Sunday, May 23, 2021, 4:00-6:00 p.m. (Zoom) – Join us for the Annual UAA Spring Reception, a casual late-afternoon gathering in a virtual setting to help get us celebrate “Spring Forward” from the coronavirus pandemic to Spring and beyond. Bring your partner or friend, or come alone, to join with other UAA members in the fun:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to see and hear from friends and former colleagues worldwide.
  • Spend a short time in a breakout room with a smaller group and a group leader to have a lively discussion on one of several specially selected topics about the “Spring Forward” theme, covering the past year’s coronavirus pandemic and Spring renewal.
  • Select each breakout group’s best story and share it with everyone upon returning to the plenary session. Open discussion by all reception attendees will follow. 
  • Bring your own personal choice of food and refreshments to the cocktail hour. There will be a toast, so be prepared to raise your glass.
  • Dress casually for the video gathering.

This is the perfect way to spend time enjoying UAA friends, all from the comfort of your own home. And at no cost; it’s free!  Please let us know if you plan to attend the Spring reception by signing up no later than Friday, May 14, by clicking here.  Those who have signed up will receive UAA instructions on how to join the Zoom meeting a few days before the May 23rd Spring reception.

New! Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 1:30-3:30 p.m.  The UAA Book Club will hold a virtual meeting via Zoom at which Bobbie van Haeften will lead a discussion of The Third Pillar:  How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind, by Raghuram Rajan, Penguin Books, 2019 (393 pages, out in paperback at $18.00).  Please note that this meeting is open only to UAA contributing members and those who register no later than May 24. Registration information will be available here very soon.  Those who register will receive information on how to join the virtual meeting.

New! Saturday, 2021, Date, Time and Location TBD – The UAA Annual Summer Picnic will be held this year at a gathering in the D.C. area or virtually via Zoom, depending on the coronavirus pandemic situation nearer the planned date. A hybrid picnic, held both in person and virtually, is also being considered.  Stay tuned.

New!  Friday, October 29, 2021, time TBD – The UAA Annual General Meeting will be held this year at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C., if conditions permit.   More details will be provided nearer the event.  



Senate confirms Samantha Power to lead USAID

On April 28, 2021, the Senate confirmed Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Senators voted 68-26 to confirm Power, who served in the Obama administration as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.  President Biden is also expected to put Power on the White House National Security Council, where she served during Obama’s first term.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced Power’s nomination earlier this month by a voice vote. But she faced questions during her confirmation hearing about the surge of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border and about her previous support for military intervention in Syria and Libya.

Power — a former war correspondent, activist and academic — is re-entering public office with a focus on soft power. As the head of USAID, she’ll oversee the distribution of billions of dollars in foreign aid.  She’ll also likely have sway on Biden’s broader foreign policy, an area where she played a key role during the Obama administration.  Biden, in a video announcing Power as his nominee, said she would “ensure our development agenda is a core pillar of our foreign policy.”

Acting USAID Administrator Gloria Steele has welcomed the confirmation of Samantha Powers in this Agency notice of April 28, 2021. 



Note from the UAA Board

We’re pleased to announce that the Senate confirmed the nomination of Samantha Power as Administrator of USAID on April 28, 2021.

UAA has focused on several key areas last month. 

  • The dissemination to all UAA registrants of UAA’s statement of intent on diversity and inclusion was an important initial step in addressing this top priority issue. See home page to review the statement.
  • The election of two new members of the UAA Board of Directors is coming up soon. We urge UAA contributing members to consider nominating themselves for Board and committee positions, as proposed in the notice below in this newsletter.
  • The Development Issues Committee hosted a briefing last month by USAID Policy, Planning and Learning Bureau staff to update all interested UAA members on USAID programming priorities. See the summary below and on the UAA website.

And UAA contacted USAID and State leadership about confusion among USAID employees concerning the availability of vaccinations for those traveling and serving overseas. USAID Acting Administrator Gloria Steele and her staff will keep us up to date on progress in clarifying the process. 


Cover Notice and Statement of Intent:  

Diversity and Inclusion

On April 1, 2021, the Board of the USAID Alumni Association unanimously approved the following Statement of Intent: Diversity and Inclusion.  The Board recognizes that we can do better at all levels of the organization to be more inclusive and more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. The Statement of Intent also includes specific next steps in our efforts toward those objectives.  Shortly we will be establishing an internal working group focused on those objectives and implementing a process to help ensure that UAA’s actions and structures are aligned with that Statement.  As we move ahead on this journey, your thoughts and suggestions are welcome and should be addressed to Roberta Mahoney ( and Terrence Brown (



“The Enduring Struggle:  The History of the U.S. Agency for International Development and America’s Uneasy Transformation of the World “

by John Norris

As has often been reported on this website over the past three years, USAID alumni very generously contributed funds to support the USAID Book Project.  This advance announcement from the publisher Rowman & Littlefield means that in a few short months the product of this immense project will be out.  (Please note at the bottom of the announcement the “Reviews” button with comments by former USAID Administrators.)  Once we have more details about how the book will be publicized, we shall look to alumni to help us reach the broadest possible public.  Below is the publisher’s short description of the book.  

The Enduring Struggle: the history of the US Agency for Intl Devt“US foreign aid is one of the most misunderstand functions of our federal government. Consuming less than 1% of the federal government budget, it has nonetheless played an outsized role in political debate. At the center of this controversy and misunderstanding has been the U.S. Agency for International Development, or AID, the government agency created during the Kennedy administration to administer America’s foreign assistance programs, an often-conflicted behemoth with a presence spanning the globe. In this book, journalist and foreign policy expert John Norris provides a compelling and rich story of AID, warts and all. There have been moments of enormous triumph: the eradication of smallpox, the Green Revolution, efforts to bring family planning to millions of women for the first time. There have also been florid, headline-grabbing failures in places like Vietnam and Iraq, missteps born out of ignorance and ethnocentrism, and money that flowed into the coffers of despots like President Mobutu in Zaire. In totality, the work of AID has touched millions and millions of lives in ways that have been truly profound, both good and bad. On the Eve of AID’s 60th anniversary, Norris shares history on an almost epic scale that remains largely untold.”  



Call for 2021 Membership Contributions

In 2021, the UAA plans to continue increasing its membership while also expanding and extending the reach of activities of interest to our members, no matter where you reside. To make this happen, we need your active participation, ideas, and generous financial support. We encourage you to become a contributing member of the UAA for calendar year 2021 by making a tax-deductible financial contribution in one of two ways:

  1. Contribute electronically. Most members and prospective members will likely continue to find it most convenient to pay dues and other contributions online. Click here to make your contribution or go to USAID Alumni Association website and see link in blue panel to the left on the opening page.
  2. Contribute by check. For those who wish to pay by check, please note the address for UAA dues and other contribution checks. We have rented a post office box for the receipt of dues and other contributions, which will enable quicker deposit and acknowledgement of checks as they are received. Please send checks for dues and other contributions, made out to “USAID Alumni Association” and with a note on the memo line as to the purpose of the check to:   Treasurer, USAID Alumni Association, P.O. Box 16723, Alexandria, VA 22302

And, of course, we welcome you to join with UAA and other “angels” who have generously contributed $100 or more as “Friends of UAA.”

So, don’t delay! Make your 2021 annual membership contribution today, and encourage your friends and former colleagues to sign up and contribute to UAA as well. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have questions or comments, or if you know of other alumni who are eligible to join the UAA. Everyone is welcome, including former Foreign Service Officers, Civil Servants, Foreign Service Nationals, Personal Service Contractors and other contract personnel, and political appointees.



Another Way to Financially Support the UAA

If you are 70 1/2 or older, did you know that you can distribute untaxed funds from your traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization such as the USAID Alumni Association (UAA)?  That distribution could offset all or part of your required minimum distribution for the year and would not be included in your annual gross income.  This is called a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).  You could avoid paying tax on a QCD donated directly to the UAA from your IRA financial custodian.  For more information on this potential tax advantage for you while assisting the UAA to achieve its leadership objectives of fostering collegial networks of former USAID employees, please refer to the UAA website at here.



New UAA Public Advocacy Policy Adopted

The purpose of this new Statement of Public Advocacy Policy is to provide a flexible framework for Board decision making on UAA engagement in public advocacy. It —

A. identifies the kinds of issues that the Board may deem sufficiently important to consider taking a public position and the means to address them;

B. establishes procedures under which particular issues may be identified, presented to, and decided by the Board;

C. describes the roles of the Board, the Executive Committee, and UAA contributing members and registrants in Board decisions on UAA public advocacy, consistent with the need to develop and present clear, consistent and timely positions; and

D. identifies key constraints, including but not limited to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

To read the full policy statement click here.



Development Dialogues

The UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues and the UAA Development Issues Committee Dialogues provide interactive conversations on a broad range of topics relevant to the interests of international development professionals.

Below are summaries of the most recent events. Each includes a link either to an audio or video of the event. Being able to listen or watch an event should be of particular interest to Association members who live outside the DC area.

For a full archive of all events that have audio or video availability, please click here.


Mark Green with George Ingram

NEW! On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, the UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue series featured former USAID Administrator Mark Green in conversation with Brookings’ George Ingram.  Green, just recently appointed President/CEO of the Wilson Center, reflected candidly (among many other topics) on his experience leading USAID during the first three years of the Trump Administration, including accomplishments of which he Is most proud, as well as the disappointments.  Click here for the full conversation and the Q&A session.  



What’s New at USAID in Policy, Planning and Learning?

USAID’s Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) :  

Briefing for the UAA

New! On Wednesday, April 14th, the UAA Development Committee (DIC) hosted a highly informational virtual briefing by the leaders of the Office of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) at USAID. Michele Sumilas, the Assistant to the Administrator for PPL, introduced her PPL leadership team to the UAA participants: Joshua Kaufman (Director of Policy), Kathryn Stevens (Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, SPP), Aye Aye Thwin (Director of Learning, Evaluation and Research, LER); and Courtney Maloney (Deputy Director of the Program Office).  Michele and her office leads highlighted the importance of Samantha Power’s new USAID leadership; the inclusion of USAID in the NSC; Gayle Smith’s appointment as State Department lead for the international COVID-19 response, and Gloria Steele’s leadership role as Acting Administrator. The UAA participants actively engaged with Michele and her office directors, and Committee Co-Chair Steve Giddings noted the possibility of UAA members volunteering their services to collaborate with PPL and other USAID units throughout the Program Cycle. A more complete summary of the briefing is here and the USAID slide presentations are available here.



In Memoriam

UAA has learned of the recent deaths of the following members of our USAID alumni community:

Maria Carmen Naranjo, Elly Maria Tierney, George Theodore Eaton, Madeline Williams, John “Jack” Wellington MacDonald, Susan L. Eaton, Catherine Ann Balsis, Julius “Julio” Schlotthauer, Christine Zarr, Stephen Windsor Bergen, Evelyn “Burgess” Venezia, William L. Rodgers, Barry Riley, Marilyn Elizabeth Wilkey Merritt, PhD, A full listing of alumni obituaries may be seen in the In Memoriam section.

If you would like to provide a brief obituary or personal tribute for these former colleagues and friends to be posted on this website or if you know of other people who have passed way and have not been noted here, please send the information to: Attn: Memorials.


Get Involved!

UAA is your organization and getting involved in Association activities will make us stronger, more interesting and – definitely – more fun. You can find a variety of activities to join under the Get Involved navigation tab at the top of this page, including:

UAA Committees

UAA Mentoring

Job & Volunteer Opportunities 

Syllabi for Devt Courses and Speakers


Recent News Articles & Links for Development Professionals


Recent Articles

Below are recent articles on development happenings, issues, etc. If you have articles that you believe would be of general interest to the UAA membership, please submit them here.

Over time, this list of articles has grown. To keep this page at a manageable size, older articles have been removed. To see and access the full list of articles, please click here.



Web Links

We offer links of general interest to folks involved in the development “arts.” If you have links you would like to submit, please send them here. To see and access the full list of web links, please click here.

If you have articles and/or links you would like to share with the rest of us, please send your suggestions to:, Attn: Development Issues.


Suggestion Box – Your Ideas for UAA

Some of you may have noticed the many changes that have been made to this, the UAA website. The objective is to provide a site that members will find useful and interesting – a place you will want to return to on a regular basis.

We would greatly appreciate your feedback and ideas about We also would like to have any news, articles or anything else you would like to share with your fellow alumni. Please send them to us at: Attn: Website.

   Click here to subscribe to UAA notices and newsletters. To Update your information, send the new information to: