Conversation with David Eckerson and James Michel

David E. Eckerson 

Mr. David E. Eckerson retired as the Counselor to USAID, the senior most position for a career officer, in July, 2013. As a Career Minister and member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, Eckerson has previously served as USAID’s Mission Director for Uganda and as Director of the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Strategic and Program Planning in Washington, DC. Eckerson served concurrently as the Acting Director and the Deputy Mission Director for USAID/Ethiopia from 1996 to 2000. Previously, he was Deputy Director in the Office of Caribbean Affairs in Washington, DC from 1994 to 1996. He began his career at USAID through the International Development Intern program in 1987, where he served in Haiti.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, from 1979 to 1987, Eckerson worked as a Public Health Advisor with the USAID Africa Bureau, the TransCentury Corporation, and the Ministry of Planning in Yaounde, Cameroon.

In the early 1970’s he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso. Eckerson obtained an undergraduate degree in Political Science and History from Hiram College in 1970 and his Master of Arts in Culture and Values in Religion from Christian Theological Seminary in 1972. Eckerson is married and has three children.


James Michel 

James Michel is an independent consultant in international development cooperation, specializing in support for good governance and the rule of law. He previously served in a number of senior positions during a long career of public service with the United States Government and with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Mr. Michel’s assignments in the State Department included service as the Deputy Legal Adviser (1977-1982) and as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (1983-1987). After an assignment as U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala in 1987-1989, he joined the U.S. Agency for International Development as Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean. He later served as Counselor, Acting Deputy Administrator and Acting Administrator of USAID. From 1994 until 1999 Mr. Michel was Chair of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, where he presided over the principal international forum for coordinating development cooperation policies.

After leaving government service in 2000, he was senior counsel to Tetra Tech DPK, an international consulting firm. He returned to USAID in 2009 and 2010 to assist in the Agency’s management during its transition to new leadership, serving again as Counselor to the Agency. In that role he supported USAID’s participation in deliberations on the President’s global development policy, the Secretary of State’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and the USAID reform program. Since his most recent government service he has worked as an independent consultant.