New! Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 12 noon to 2 p.m. – AFSA President Eric Rubin will speak at a UAA/DACOR lunch on “The State of the Foreign Service and its Future”. Describing the current situation as presenting “probably the most significant set of challenges our service and our institution have ever faced”, Ambassador Rubin and his new board have appealed to fellow Foreign Service officers to stay in the service and pledged to defend its people and its institution. Please come and join in the discussion.
New! Sunday, February 9, 2020, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. – UAA Winterfest will be hosted again by Frank and Antoinette Almaguer at their home, in Vienna, VA. UAA members and spouses are invited to share wine and appetizers with alumni friends and former colleagues. SAVE THE DATE.
New! Monday, February 10, 2020, 10:00 am to noon – UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue. “Afghanistan: Lessons Learned for America’s Future–Insights of USAID Mission Directors to Kabul”. In a rare gathering, this panel of former USAID/Afghanistan Mission Directors/Assistance Coordinators will discuss lessons learned and implications for the future. Moderated by Bambi Arellano, and including Craig Buck, Alonzo Fulgham, Skip Waskin, and Bill Hammink.
UAA 2019 Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) this year was held on October 25, at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC. A total of 124 UAA members, guests and speakers attended the event, which featured a theme of “democratic governance.” Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment, a well-regarded expert on democracy and governance, chaired a panel consisting of three USAID senior leaders with extensive experience developing and managing Mission programs. Other sessions featured Peter McPherson, former USAID Administrator, Derek Giannino of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and USAID Deputy Administrator, Bonnie Glick (see inset). The meeting also included the announcement of new UAA Board members, UAA Alumni of the Year awards for Mary Lewellen and Lawrence Heilman and a special posthumous recognition of lifetime achievement awards for Peter Kimm and John Sanbrailo. As always, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues. Please click here to view the conference video and the summary report with photos.
American University Archives and the UAA
New! American University Archives offers an opportunity for USAID alumni to find a home for personal memorabilia of their USAID service. We have often been asked by UAA retirees what could be done with these materials currently stored in boxes in their basements. We now have an answer! In collaboration with the USAID Alumni Association, the AU Archives is now offering an archive program for USAID alumni (similar to their existing program with the Peace Corps.)
This program is not intended to collect official USAID documents, which are best donated to USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC). Rather, AU is looking for “personal materials created and acquired by USAID alumni during their assignments, such as correspondence, diaries, film, photographs, memoranda, reports, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, host country documentation, presidential or other VIP visit schedules/documentation, and sound recordings …” and much more.
Please click hereto review the information provided by AU. If you are interested in this opportunity to preserve your valuable memorabilia, you can message Leslie Nellis, the Archivist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-885-3256.
New Address for UAA Contribution Checks
New! Most members and prospective members will likely continue to find it most convenient to pay dues and other contributions online. Click here.
For those who pay by check, we have rented a post office for the receipt of contributions made by check, which will enable quicker deposit and acknowledgement of checks as they are received. Beginning January 1, 2020, please send contributions and dues checks, 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
USAID History Project Update
As reported at the AGM and in monthly UAA Newsletters, the USAID History Project is well underway. Our author John Norris has done vast amounts of research and collected many hundreds of pages of valuable material. He is drawing heavily on the more than 150 oral histories of retired USAID staff and on files in the Presidential libraries, has perused the relevant documents available online in USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC), read all the relevant USAID-related news clippings he could find, read many of the published books on aspects of USAID’s work, and drawn on many other sources as well.
As of early November 2019, he has completed drafts of 10 chapters of a planned 13 and plans to complete the rest in the next several months. Our small UAA Advisory Committee has reviewed these chapters and provided advice and concrete suggestions to complement John’s well-written and very interesting drafts.
John is still tinkering with titles for the book and would welcome suggestions from the alumni community. Ideally, the title would capture the complex nature of AID’s legacy, encapsulating its successes and failures. Such a title should read neither as hagiography nor of the “The Road to Hell” or “Lords of Poverty” variety. Have any thoughts? Please send them to email@example.com. Please note, when providing suggestions, you are waiving any intellectual property rights or compensatory claims to such titles.
Once again, we want to thank our generous UAA members for their tremendous support for the project. About $210,000 was received from more than 150 donors. We are not seeking any additional contributions at this time. Upon the book’s completion, we shall review the need for further support which would be designed to promote various post-publication educational activities drawing on the book.
2019 Annual Survey of the UAA Membership
As it does every year, in January, the UAA sent a survey document to all of its members. The purpose of the survey was to understand better how well the organization is serving the needs and interests of its member constituents. By clicking here, you can read a summary of the survey results, as brilliantly composed by Sarah Clark.
UAA 2020-2022 Strategic Plan
UAA Strategic Goals and Implementation Plan: The UAA Board approved an updated medium-term guide for the work of the UAA. It is intended to be a working document that will be reviewed and revised from time to time to reflect evolving circumstances. Members are invited to provide comments and suggestions on the goals and implementing actions at any time.
Bibliography of USAID Authors
December 2019 Update
Update! There have been several new entries since the last update of the Bibliography of USAID Authors (see link below). All new books are highlighted in blue in the bibliography and easy to find. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to look at the summaries of these books in the bibliography and perhaps buy one or two to read and keep for your personal library. Please send info on any new (or old) books by USAID authors, family members, FSNs, and PSCs to John Pielemeier at Jpielemeie@aol.com.
To view the updated bibliography, click here here.
UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues:
The UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues is a series of interactive conversations on a broad range of topics relevant to the interests of international development professionals.
Below are summaries of the most recent events. Each includes a link either to an audio or video of the event. Being able to listen or watch an event should be of particular interest to Association members who live outside the DC area.
New! On Monday, December 9, Homi Kharas, Interim Vice President and Director of Brookings’ Global Economy and Development Program, gave a wide-ranging, thoughtful and challenging talk based on the recent book he co-edited – Leave No One Behind: Time for Specifics on the Sustainable Development Goals. He provided examples of practical ideas in the book on how to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Among his many salient points, Kharas expressed concern that attention to development issues was being lost in the intensified public focus on climate issues and argued that the two need to be better integrated. You can benefit from the many insights during his talk and in the Q&As by clicking here.
On Monday, October 7, David Beckmann, long-time head of Bread for the World, led a lively discussion exploring the reasons for the great progress made in recent decades, both in the U.S. and abroad, in reducing poverty and how we can help to insure that these advances are sustained. Hear David’s comments and the discussion that followed here.
To an overflow DACOR luncheon crowd on Friday, September 6, climate pioneer Rafe Pomerance described with great clarity – based on his more than forty years of leadership on this issue – the nature of the global climate crisis and the essential steps required to address it. Listen to the audio of his talk and the Q&A period here.
UAA has learned of the recent deaths of the following members of our USAID alumni community: Jim O’Meara, Mary Ann Lundy, Lewis P. Reade, Bob Rucker, Thomas Ivers, James Otis Wright,Jr., Alexander Dickie III, Jesse Snyder, and Walter Gene Rockwood. 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. Your getting involved in Association activities will make us stronger, more interesting and – definitely – more fun. Below are just some of the ways you can participate:
- UAA Speakers Roster
The UAA has a roster of some 65 alumni around the country who regularly speak to community groups, universities and others about a range of international development and foreign affairs issues, and who are available for additional engagements. Further information about the UAA Speakers Bureau can be found in the attached brochure. To become a member of the Speakers’ Roster is simple. Just fill in the information here and press the “send” button. If you are interested in finding USAID alumni in your area to speak at an event or to consult about a future program, contact email@example.com.
- UAA Committees
UAA has five committees. These include: Membership Services, Public Outreach, Strengthening USAID, Development Issues and Finance and Administration. You can find descriptions of the committees here. Your ideas, involvement and energy would be very welcomed in any one of these.
- Alumni Groupings
In several regions around the country (and, perhaps, eventually abroad), people have organized local USAID alumni groups. We have recently added a link to the Foreign Service Retirees Association of Florida. Find out about these and get contact information about them here.
Do you belong to a local alumni group not posted here? Please share it with all of us. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org Attn: Alumni Groupings.
- Job and Volunteer Opportunities
Alumni looking for work? On request, UAA vets and posts USAID-related jobs and volunteer opportunities. For a full listing, see: Job Opportunities.
Also, from time to time, the AFSA Job Board may have employment or volunteer opportunities of relevance to USAID alums.
If you wish to post a job or volunteer opportunity, please email us at email@example.com, Attn: Jobs/Volunteers.
Below are the most recent postings:
The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is hiring individuals to serve as Personal Services Contractors (PSCs). USAID/OFDA is responsible for providing emergency non-food humanitarian assistance in response to international crisis and disasters, and leads the USG’s humanitarian assistance efforts overseas, responding to an average of 70 disasters in over 50 countries a year. OFDA is looking for qualified humanitarian professionals to serve in Washington, DC and Internationallyas Regional Advisors, Policy Advisors, Program Officers, Training Specialists, Administrative Specialists, Communication Specialists, and Team Leaders. Full announcements of open positions can be found at www.ofdajobs.net. PSC positions are open to U.S. Citizens only.
Peace Corp Response Program: The Peace Corps Response Program complements the traditional 2-year Peace Corps tour by providing volunteers to do short term (3-12 months), high impact projects to address critical needs in host countries. Many of these volunteer slots have been opened recently to professionals with at least 10 years of experience. Although many USAID alumni are returned Peace Corps Volunteers, even those who are not possess exactly the kind of skills needed as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer. These positions come with the same benefits as the 2-year program, including travel to and from the country of service, full medical benefits, and a living stipend. To learn more about the program and view open positions, visit: peacecorps.gov/response. New positions are posted on this website as they are requested by the host country, so please check back regularly. For additional information and response to any questions, please contact Allison McReynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles, Videos & Links for Development Professionals
(NOTE: Inclusion of any given article or web link does not constitute endorsement by UAA.)
Articles and Videos
Below are recent articles on development happenings, issues, etc. If you have comments on them, please share them with us in the Forum. If you have articles that you believe would be of general interest to the UAA membership, please submit them here or feel free to post or link them in the Forum.
Over time, this list of articles has grown. To keep this page at a manageable size, older articles have been removed. To see and access the full list of articles, please click here.
- New! Amid partisan rancor, Congress reaches bipartisan agreement on foreign aid spending (CDG) – In a flurry of activity, Congress completed its work on Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 spending bills just ahead of the holiday break. For the third year running, lawmakers rejected the steep cuts to foreign assistance proposed by the Trump administration, providing a modest increase in funding for development and diplomacy compared to FY19.
- New! Budget bill includes small increase for foreign aid, but is it a win? (Devex) – The total funds appropriated recently by the U.S. Congress for the foreign affairs budget is $54.7 billion, up $467 million from what was enacted in fiscal year 2019. But the amount is lower than budget bills approved by the House and Senate, which included $56.4 billion and $55.15 billion, respectively.
- New! Global Fragility Act passes as part of US budget deal (Devex) – After being held up for months over one senator’s objection, the Global Fragility Act will become law after its inclusion in the overall fiscal year 2020 spending package.
- New! Ivanka Trump announces $100M more for women’s global development fund (Fox Business) – The federal government’s fiscal year 2020 budget is set to include $100 million for USAID’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Fund touted by the president’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump.
- New! Coons’ Global Fragility Act included in spending deal(Dover Post) – Sen. Chris Coons’ bipartisan Global Fragility Act, which will improve U.S. government efforts to prevent terrorism from taking root in developing countries around the world, is expected to become law after being included in the bipartisan appropriations package to fund the federal government for fiscal 2020
- New! Teens in Argentina are leading the charge for a gender-neutral language (Washington Post) – In classrooms and daily conversations, young people are changing the way they speak and write in order to change what they see as a deeply gendered culture.
- New! Foreign aid rider tangles up final spending talks(Roll Call) – Urged on by anti-abortion activists and religious groups, the White House is raising concerns in year-end spending talks about language secured by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in the Senate’s State-Foreign Operations bill they fear could cut out faith-based aid groups from U.S. Agency for International Development contracts.
- New!As impeachment hurtles forward, a plea for legal help for government witnesses(Washington Post) – With the House hurtling toward a full chamber vote before Christmas, the diplomatic community is gearing up for Phase Two of potential testimony.
- New! Inside the Trump Administration Debate on Delaying Aid to Ukraine(Wall Street Journal) – After the President gave the order, which is central to the impeachment inquiry, officials puzzled over the rationale and legality of the move.
- New!What technology means to the US international aid agency(Fifth Domain) – Cybersecurity will take center stage in the United States Agency for International Development’s first-ever digital strategy, slated for release early next year.
- New!Trump Waging War on American Diplomats?(GQ.com) – With new figures and fresh horror stories, Julia Ioffe reports on how the president is politicizing our embassies, alienating our allies, and decimating the ranks of the foreign service.
- New!Pompeo’s Impeachment Role Draws Outcry From Diplomats, Staffers(Wall Street Journal) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been credited with improving State Department staffing and morale, but his treatment of U.S. Foreign Service officers caught in the impeachment inquiry has undercut those efforts, according to current and former career professionals upset over his recent actions.
- New!Trump weighs conditioning foreign aid on religious freedom (Politico) – Aides to President Trump are drafting plans to condition U.S. aid to other countries on how well they treat their religious minorities, two White House officials said. The proposal is expected to cover U.S. humanitarian assistance and could be broadened to include American military aid to other countries.
- New! Six federal employees to be honored with the ‘Oscars of Government Service’ (Washington Post) – A sampling of America’s best civil servants were honored recently during the 18th annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals gala, presented by the Partnership for Public Service. Also called the “Sammies” and the “Oscars of Government Service,” the awards will go to six federal employees who have demonstrated outstanding achievements – including USAID/Haiti’s Ryan Shelby.
- New! How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Groups (ProPublica) – Officials at USAID warned that favoring Christian groups in Iraq could be unconstitutional and inflame religious tensions.
- New! Fighting Corruption in Ukraine: USAID’s Strategy(Brookings – George Ingram) – With recent media and political attention on corruption in Ukraine, it is useful to bring some light to how the U.S. is helping Ukrainians deal with corruption in their country.
- New!State Department’s First-Ever Employee Christian Faith Group Underscores Pompeo’s Influence(Washington Post) – All year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made news for efforts that critics worry are crossing church-state separation lines.
- New!F Bureau Leader Calls for Smarter ‘Strategic Prevention’ in Fragile States (Devex) – U.S. humanitarian assistance needs an overhaul so it can more effectively respond to complex crises in fragile states, according to Jim Richardson, head of the State Department’s Office of Foreign Assistance Resources, or F Bureau.
- New! Announcing the Public Release of the Self-Reliance Country Roadmaps for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 (USAID) – On October 1, 2019, USAID released the second iteration of the Journey to Self-Reliance Country Roadmaps on its public portal. The Country Roadmaps serve as USAID’s visualization tool for assessing self-reliance in a given country, based on 17 third-party, publicly available metrics that capture the concepts of Commitment and Capacity.
- New!Opinion: How US Foreign Aid Boosts the Economy Back Home (AgriPulse) – Peter McPherson writes an opinion piece on “how the impact of foreign aid reverberates far beyond the developing world.”
- New!State Department Restarts Some Central America Assistance (Politico) – The State Department will resume “targeted” foreign assistance for Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, according to an announcement Wednesday. The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday that the administration would resume approximately $150 million in funding, a figure confirmed by a congressional aide.
- New! As the U.S. Looks Elsewhere, Russia Seeks a Closer Relationship with Africa(Washington Post) – Leaders from more than 40 African nations descended on the southern Russian city of Sochi last week, shaking hands, snapping photos and inking billions of dollars in business deals. President Vladimir Putin met with six African presidents on Thursday alone.
- New!Why you should worry when U.S. diplomats are denounced as ‘deep state’ operatives(The Atlanta Journal – Constitution) – If you poke through the October edition of the Foreign Service Journal, you will find 33 references to President Donald Trump. Not all are kind, and some are filled with warning, but none are disrespectful.
- New!USAID Retirees Sign Letter of Support for State Department Officials Testifying in Trump Impeachment Inquiry(Washington Post) – More than 200 former development officials with the U.S. Agency for International Development signed a letter released Tuesday in support of their State Department colleagues who have been called to testify before House investigators handling the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.*
- Tens of Millions of US Foreign Aid Quietly Cut (Foreign Policy) – Tens of millions of dollars for human rights programs run by State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor are now in jeopardy after bureaucratic maneuvers by the Trump administration to pare down US funding for foreign aid. Included in this is $10 million to support civil society and human rights issues in China and over $12 million for Iraq. The move comes nearly two months after the Trump administration floated plans to slash nearly $4 billion foreign aid for State and USAID in a process known as rescission.
- USAID reprograms Central America funds for use inside Venezuela (Devex) – USAID Administrator Mark Green this week signed a $98 million agreement with the interim Venezuelan government of Juan Guaido that reprograms aid originally intended for Central America to Venezuela. “This new funding will build upon our existing support for local human rights defenders, civil society organizations, independent media, and electoral oversight,” Green said. This is the first such bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Venezuela in over 65 years.
- MFAN Co-Chairs Announce New Co-Chair and Two New ExecCommittee Members (MFAN) — The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network co-chairs Lester Munson and Tessie San Martin have announced that Larry Nowels will serve as Co-Chair of the Executive Committee. Mr. Nowels recently served as the network’s interim Executive Director and was a founding member of MFAN. MFAN has also announced the addition of two new Executive Committee members: Lori Groves Rowley, Director of Global Food Security and Aid Effectiveness at the Lugar Center and nearly 20 years of senior leadership and committee experience on Capitol Hill; and Susan Reichle, Chief Executive Officer of the International Youth Foundation, who draws on 25 years of experience leading USAID policy development and programs overseas and in Washington, D.C.
- The Trump Administration Prepares a New Assault on U.S. Soft Power(Wash Post)– At last year’s UN General Assembly, President Trump announced the United States would redirect aid money to countries that agree with his administration’s policies. This could “gut U.S. soft power, fuel extremism and cede large parts of the world to influence from US adversaries, especially China.”
- Federal Employees Have More Withdrawal Choices for Retirement Savings(Wash Post)— Current and former federal employees and military personnel will have more options starting Sunday when withdrawing money from their retirement accounts.
- USAID announces key leadership Designations(Devex) – With Congressional approval for almost all of Administrator Green’s reforms, a number of current senior officials have been designated to occupy new positions when the organizational transformation moves forward.*
These are links of general interest to folks involved in the development “arts. If you have links you would like to submit, please send them here. Over time, this list of articles has grown. To keep this page at a manageable size, older articles have been removed. To see and access the full list of articles, please click here.
- USAID Leads – A monthly podcast for USAID staff featuring Administrator Mark Green and specialists across the Agency. It offers in-depth discussions targeted toward USAID’s workforce and serves to inform employees and the public about Agency updates and priorities. Each episode highlights important elements of USAID’s international development work.
- ForeignAssistance.gov (USG) – ForeignAssistance.gov provides a view of U.S. Government foreign assistance funds across agencies and enables users to explore, analyze, and review aid.
- Democracy Index (Economist Intelligence Unit) – Around the world, democratic governance appears to be on the decline.
- ADST(The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training) is dedicated to capturing, preserving, and sharing the experiences of America’s diplomats to enrich the professional knowledge of practitioners and strengthen public appreciation of diplomacy’s contribution to America’s national interests. This link will take you the website’s oral history page, which contains an increasingly large number of histories from USAID officers.
- A new blog, Craftofdevelopment.com, by alum Jose Garzon, responds to requests by students and young professionals for more “straight talk” about the development profession. It attempts to cultivate informal learning and information sharing on topics that are not normally covered in other sites, such as how to dissent, personnel evaluations, and dealing with political transitions.
- USAID Leads(USAID) – USAID Leads is a new podcast that features A/AID Mark Green and specialists across the Agency. The podcast informs employees about Agency updates and priorities. Each episode highlights important elements of USAID’s work.
- USAID Development Experience Clearinghouse (USAID) – Search 50 years of development history.
- CGD Commitment to Development Index (CGD) – This very interesting database ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries in how well their policies help to spread global prosperity to the developing world.
- August 2017 USAID Impact Newsletter: The latest edition covers a variety of topics.
- September/October 2017Frontlines – This link will take you to the most recent edition.
- Rule of Law Index (World Justice Institute) – The Index’s scores are built from the assessments of local residents and legal experts, reflecting the conditions experienced by the population, including marginalized sectors of society.
- The World Poverty Clock– The World Poverty Clock provides real-time poverty estimates until 2030 for almost every country in the world. It monitors progress toward eliminating Extreme Poverty, the first of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals.
- Infographic on Attacks on AID Workers(Dept. of State) – Maps, tables and graphs clearly demonstrate elevated risk levels.
- January 2017 Update!Transparency International Corruption Perception Index – Transparency International is a non-governmental organization dedicated to increasing government accountability and curbing both international and national corruption. The Corruption Perception Index scores the perceptions of business people.
- UpdateFragile States Index(Fund for Peace) – This index uses 12 social, economic, political, and military indicators and ranks 60 states in order of their vulnerability to violent internal conflict.
- USAID Map– Find a country and click on its USAID stories and results.
- NGO Aid Map This an InterAction initiative that provides detailed information on members’ work around the world through a web-based mapping platform.
- The Good Country Index– This is an index that measures what each country contributes to the common good of humanity and to the planet.
- OneVote16.orgasked each candidate to go “on the record” with a video statement to say what they’d do to fight extreme poverty, if elected. There are short videos for each of the candidates that have responded.
- The new USAIDInternational Data & Economic Analysis website (IDEA) is the Agency’s comprehensive source of economic and social data and analysis.
- Mindless Foreign Aid is a new development blog by Tom Dichter. It addresses how foreign aid for development has become mindless. Dichter has nearly 50 years of experience promoting development in over sixty developing countries on four continents.
- Telling USAID’s Story – This is a new web page put together by LPA, the Agency’s public affairs office.
- Foreign Service Oral Histories(Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training) – Included are more than 1900 searchable oral histories completed over the past thirty years by individuals from USAID, State, USDA and Labor.
- Development Talk – A World Bank Blog – Interesting reading hosted by the Bank’s Chief Economist.
- The Foreign Assistance Dashboard – The goal of the Dashboard is to enable a wide variety of stakeholders to examine, research, and track U.S. Government foreign assistance investments in an accessible and easy-to-understand format. As it evolves, the Dashboard will incorporate budget, financial, program, and performance data from all U.S. Government agencies implementing foreign assistance, humanitarian, and development funds.
If you have articles and/or links you would like to share with the rest of us, please send your suggestions to: 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.