Save the dates! More details will be provided later for this year’s additional UAA social events, including the following:
Postponed: The March 24th UAA Book Club meeting was postponed due to a last-minute scheduling conflict. The new date (has yet to be determined) to join Richard Blue in a review and discussion of the book, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again (2020, 480 pages), by Robert D. Putnam with Shaylyn Romney Garrett. Stay tuned.
New! Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Virtual UAA Briefing from USAID’s Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) Bureau. Please join fellow UAA alumni for a special briefing on recent updates to USAID strategy and policy led by Assistant to the Administrator for Policy, Planning, and Learning Michele Sumilas and her senior staff. Michele’s bio can be found here. The event will be hosted on Zoom by the UAA Development Issues Committee and will be open to all alumni who have registered with the UAA. This special briefing is a further initiative in the growing collaboration between the UAA and USAID spelled out in the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations, linked here, whereby UAA members may have an opportunity to contribute on a voluntary basis their knowledge, experience and perspectives in the furtherance of USAID’s mission. The Gratuitous Services Agreement (GSA) template is linked here. Those interested in participating in this briefing must register by COB Monday, April 12, by clicking here. Please note that sign-up requests received after the deadline may not be able to be accomodated; sign-ups may be cancelled if needed; and because it is sent to large numbers of persons at once, the email with the Zoom link might be sent to the spam folder by your email system, so please check there.
New! Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm – UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue (virtual) – ” Mark Green in Conversation with George Ingram”. Ambassador Green, just-appointed President and CEO of the Wilson Center, will comment on lessons learned from his three years (2017-2020) as USAID Administrator and offer his advice for the new Administration. Watch for an email closer to the event with details on how to sign up.
New! Sunday, May 23, 2021, 4:00-6:00 p.m. – The UAA Spring Reception, our second social event this year, will be held virtually via Zoom. More details will provided closer to the event.
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.
HHS Detail Opportunity on the Southern
Border with Children in Distress
Urgent! The US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is partnering with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the Administration’s urgent efforts to care for and place Unaccompanied Children who have entered the United States via the Southern Border. Thus, HHS is seeking volunteers to serve up to a 120-day deployment detail as part of the HHS, Administration for Children and Families (ORR), Unaccompanied Children (UC) Program. This detail opportunity is open to former competitive service federal employees. USAID has made a request for UAA Alumni members to consider applying for Re-Employed Annuitant Details on this high priority effort. Re-employed FSOs and GS may possibly be eligible for a waiver of the normal rule against dual compensation; USAID plans to request such a waiver with relevant Federal Offices. Spanish-language capability is preferred but not a prerequisite. If interested in applying, USAID highly encourages former staff to view the vacancy application here. The application is now open and closes Friday, April 16, 2021. For specific questions, contact USAID’s Human Resources Specialist Monika Parker at email@example.com.
Note from the UAA Board
March has been a busy month. An important highlight was the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) confirmation hearing on March 23 for Ambassador Samantha Power, the Biden Administration’s nominee for USAID Administrator. Her opening statement may be viewed here. At this time, we do not know when the SFRC and the full Senate will vote on Ambassador Power’s nomination.
Another highlight this month was the presentation of Acting USAID Administrator Gloria Steele at a meeting of the Development Issues Committee on March 18th. The Acting Administrator gave brief remarks and then answered questions from an audience of more than 100 UAA members, posed by DIC co-chairs Steve Giddings and Steve Haykin. See the summary of her comments.
UAA has also made progress in two other key areas including preparing a statement of intent regarding improved diversity in UAA and broadening cooperation with USAID through the Memorandum of Understanding signed last summer. Stay tuned for separate messages and to the website and this newsletter for updates and ways to become involved.
“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.
“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.”
Mentors Needed for Payne Fellowship Program!
The Donald M. Payne Fellowship Program is now accepting expressions of interest from UAA Members for its mentoring program. The Payne Fellowship is a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program, administered by Howard University, which seeks to attract and prepare outstanding individuals for careers as USAID Foreign Service Officers (FSO). Payne Fellows receive support for graduate school, professional development opportunities, and gain employment with the Agency in a rewarding career in the Foreign Service.
The Payne Fellowship Mentoring Program is the result of strong collaboration between the USAID Alumni Association (UAA), Agency leaders who have championed the Payne Fellowship Program, and Howard University staff. We need the collective wisdom of retired FSOs to contribute with current staff to help develop the next generation of FSOs.
Potential mentors should know they will have access to mentor training and resources, should they want it. New and continuing mentors for Payne Fellows are invited to join UAA’s annual mentor orientation program, have access to UAA mentoring resources, and have the support of ongoing mentors to help support their own mentoring efforts.
Responsibilities of Mentors:
- Contribute to the development of the next generation of FSOs.
- Clarify expectations and boundaries of the mentor-mentee relationship.
- Commit to spending time with the mentee to develop the relationship.
- Encourage the mentee through constructive feedback.
- Create an environment that allows the mentee to ask questions without being intimidated.
- Offer advice by sharing life experiences.
- Be prompt for meetings and scheduled calls and use the time efficiently.
The 2021 Payne Mentors will be selected by early April and matched with their mentees before their summer internship starts. The time commitment for the mentor is minimal but can make a big difference for a USAID Payne Fellow and future FSO.
If you are interested in this rewarding opportunity, please fill out the Mentor Interest Form: https://howard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4ZQ6Jyri6DFtfmK
If you have any questions, or are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Maria Elena Vivas-House, Director of Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Bob Gersony with Rick Barton
NEW! The UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue (virtual) on Thursday, April 8, 2021 featured “Bob Gersony in Conversation with Ambassador Rick Barton”. Gersony regaled his record-setting audience of nearly 200 AID and State alumni with fascinating reflections on his many decades of contract work on the front lines around the world. He also used this unique opportunity to express by name his deep gratitude to many of the individuals with whom he worked. Bob is the subject of a just-published book by best-selling author Robert Kaplan entitled The Good American – The Epic Life of the U.S. Government’s Greatest Humanitarian. Ambassador Rick Barton began the session by asking Bob a number of important questions about key aspects of his career, after which Bob responded to many audience questions and comments for the remainder of the special 90 minute program. To view the video of the entire session please click here.
UAA has learned of the recent deaths of the following members of our USAID alumni community:
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, Archie Columbus Hogan, Jr., William T. Dentzer, Jr., Donna Baltz, Arthur Danart, Daisy Portee Withers, Frank D. Correl, Elaine Stahl Leo, Don Boyd, Jr., William H. (“Bill”) Lyerly, Jr. 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: email@example.com 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! A global tax on corporations must consider developing nations (The Hill by J.Brian Atwood, March 24, 2021)
- New! What would Samantha Power’s NSC role mean for USAID?(Devex by Michael Igoe, March 19, 2021)
- New! Biden to restrict US aid to Central American governments, set new conditions for money (Los Angeles Times by Tracy Wilkinson, March 10, 2021)
- New! Missing link: Can USAID unite budget and policy? (Devex by Michael Igoe, March 5, 2021)
- New! Development Depends on More Than Aid — A New U.S. Agency Promises to Harness the Power of Private Investment (Foreign Affairs by Gayle E. Smith, March 1, 2021)
- New! USAID clarifies $42M Myanmar funding shift (Devex by Michael Igoe,February 19, 2021)
- New! What new US Congressional leadership means for foreign aid (Devex by Adva Saldinger, February 18, 2021)
- New! Making USAID a premier development agency (Brookings by George Ingram, February 17, 2021)
- New! Rep. Lee wants to bring greater racial equity to foreign aid — (RollCall.com by Rachel Oswald, February 16, 2021)
- New! Rebuilding the State Department from the Ground Up (National Interest by Robert D. Kaplan, February 14, 2021)
- New! Four Ideas for Samantha Power’s USAID (Devex by Charles Kenney, February 1, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Development Issues.
Suggestion Box – Your Ideas for UAA
Some of you may have noticed the many changes that have been made to this, the UAA website. The objective is to provide a site that members will find useful and interesting – a place you will want to return to on a regular basis.
We would greatly appreciate your feedback and ideas about usaidalumni.org. We also would like to have any news, articles or anything else you would like to share with your fellow alumni. Please send them to us at: email@example.com Attn: Website.