Reminder! Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 pm EDT. The UAA Development Issues Committee is delighted to announce that it will host a Zoom discussion of “U.S. Assistance is More Valuable than One Belt, One Road: A Conversation about Competition with China.” Our guest discussion leaders will be former USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick, now Senior Advisor to the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development (bio) and former Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator (DAA) of USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, Justin Finnegan, now Managing Director-APAC for Bloomberg New Economy (bio). The meeting will be open to all UAA members who have made a contribution to the UAA in 2021. Please register for this event no later than COB Monday June 14, 2021 by clicking here. All those who register will be sent an Email with information on how to join the Zoom meeting on Tuesday, June 15th.
New! Friday, June 18, 2021, 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm EDT. The Development Dialogue at DACOR (hosted by DACOR and the USAID Alumni Association) will feature Andrew Natsios, former USAID Administrator and current Director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Policy, Texas A& M University and moderator Andrew H. Card Jr., President George H. W. Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Together, they recently edited Transforming Our World: President George H.W. Bush and American Foreign Policy. This book brings together a distinguished collection of foreign policy practitioners–career and political–who participated in the unfolding of international events as part of the Bush administration to provide insider perspective by the people charged with carrying them out. Please join us to hear our always stimulating and entertaining former colleague and USAID Administrator spell out she of the major conclusions in this volume. Please note that this is a virtual event. All those who register will be sent an email with information on how to join the virtual event. Click here to register.
New! Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 1:30-3:30 p.m. — The UAA Book Club will hold a Zoom meeting with Joe Ryan leading a review of The Authoritarians, 2006, by Bob Altemeyer. Please note that this meeting is open only to UAA contributing members. Those who register (no later than June 21) will receive information for joining. For those interested, Joe Ryan has provided a pdf copy of the book and a discussion “icebreaker” .
New! Wednesday, July 7, 2021 – Noon – 1:00 (virtual) The UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue will feature Greg Starr, lead author of a recent American Academy of Diplomacy report Changing the Risk Paradigm For US Diplomats. Starr is former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security and UN Under Secretary General for Safety and Security. Brief comments will be provided by two UAA board members and former mission directors – Jim Bever and Chris Crowley. Effective diplomacy and development to meet national interests requires a method to engage more broadly even in high-threat locations. Starr will highlight several suggested changes to address the growing level of risk intolerance experienced in U.S. missions abroad.
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.
Samantha Power with Stephen Colbert
USAID Administrator Samantha Power participated in a one-on-one interview with Stephen Colbert on his nighttime “A Late Show” on Friday, June 10, 2021. Colbert asked questions to educate the audience about the role of the US Agency for International Development in the world. Power explained the global presence and breadth of focus of USAID’s engagement, both in terms of development content and geography – “a soft power arsenal.” She also described the importance of America’s pledge to donate 500 million vaccine doses to developing countries around the world – a “major” job for USAID. She said the vaccine effort will engage with other countries to do more— “American catalytic leadership at its best!” When Colbert raised the issue of the Northern Triangle troubles, Power responded that USAID is the primary entity exercising President Biden’s “root causes strategy” for the border issue, explaining many of the difficult elements of the complex situation. Finally, in response to Colbert’s last question about whether USAID’s work is valued, Power noted that USAID’s current work on massive vaccine distribution is, in effect, both in our national interest and that of struggling countries around the world. You can view the interview by clicking here.
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 usaidalumni.org 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Terrence Brown (email@example.com).
“The Enduring Struggle: The History of the U.S. Agency for International Development and America’s Uneasy Transformation of the World “
by John Norris
UPDATE! This much-awaited book will be officially published July 1, 2021. Complimentary copies will be mailed in June to those USAID alumni and others who made financial contributions to the History Project. To buy the book from the publisher at a 30 percent discount please use the form at this link.
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.) Below is the publisher’s short description of the book.
“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.”
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.
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.
DIC Discussion: Charles North and Susannah Hares
On May 19, 2021, the UAADevelopment Issues Committee sponsored a highly informative discussion on the “Challenges of Transforming Education in Developing Countries through the Pandemic and Beyond.” The discussion leaders were former USAID Mission Director Charles North (bio), now Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), and Susannah Hares (bio), Co-Director of Educational Policy and Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD). Susannah Hares led off the discussion with a slide presentation (here) of a recent CGD analysis of the impacts of the pandemic on education. She noted that the pandemic has caused millions of children worldwide to lose many weeks of education which seriously affects their ability to maintain a normal progression of learning. The impact has been particularly acute for children with limited access to remote learning, as is the case in many developing countries.
Charles North reminded us that there was a crisis in education even before the pandemic, particularly for girls who may be forced into child marriages or into working at household chores, preventing them from attending school. The pandemic has exacerbated this situation. He noted, however that the pandemic might actually present opportunities to transform education.
The GPE provides grants to educational partners working at the country level to increase the capacity of educational systems, identifying and implementing transformational solutions to improve education and accelerate girl’s education. The initial presentations were followed by a robust Q & A session which addressed a wide range of issues. A more detailed summary of the discussion can be found by clicking here.
UAA has learned of the recent deaths of the following members of our USAID alumni community:
Bruce Monroe Blackman and Maria Carmen Naranjo.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Attn: Memorials.
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:
Job & Volunteer Opportunities
Syllabi for Devt Courses and Speakers
Recent News Articles & Links for Development Professionals
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.
- New! Biden’s First Budget: What the FY22 Request Could Mean for Development Policy (CGDEV by Erin Collinson and Jocilyn Estes, June 7, 2021)
- New! Russian hack targeted USAID, human rights groups (MSN News/Aljazeera, May 28, 2021)
- New! Senate hearing addresses broad USAID funding goals, few details. (Devex by Adva Saldinger ,May 27, 2021)
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: email@example.com, Attn: Development Issues.
Suggestion Box – Your Ideas for UAA
Some of you may have noticed the many changes that have been made to this, the UAA website. The objective is to provide a site that members will find useful and interesting – a place you will want to return to on a regular basis.
We would greatly appreciate your feedback and ideas about usaidalumni.org. We also would like to have any news, articles or anything else you would like to share with your fellow alumni. Please send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Attn: Website.