April 2013 Newsletter

USAID Alumni Association
April 2013 Newsletter
Upcoming 2013 UAA Events


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


June 2nd: Spring Reception to Honor UAA Founders


July 27th: 2nd Annual UAA Picnic at Fort Hunt Park, Alexandria, VA


July 25th: UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue with Andrew Steer


August 7th:  Midday picnic in Rochester, VT at the home of Ann and Mike Van Dusen


September: Panel Discussion


October: 2013 Annual General Meeting


  • The USAID Where in the World feature on usaidalumni.org has been updated through mid-March. See who recently has been transferred, retired, promoted, etc.
  • In the Forum, view Secretary Kerry’s interesting comments during his first visit with USAID staff, a Politco article reflecting on the fact that foreign aid is the budget cut that appeals to most citizens, a discussion of USAID and the sequester, a notice announcing the establishment of a new USAID Senior Technical Group, a Washington Post article on diplomatic life in ultra-secure embassies, and the obituary of two recently deceased colleagues.
  • New in Articles, read an overview of the President’s FY 2014 development assistance budget, the newly published USAID Forward Progress report and a Washington Post OpEd on the new food aid policy. You also can view articles on a) the UAA in the most recent Foreign Service Journal; b)”What Went Right” – a Foreign Policy assessment of some ofthe achievements made in Afghanistan; c) “A Political War Brews Over the Food For Peace Aid Program” (NPR); d) “Is It a Phone or Is It a Bank” (The Economist), a focus on innovative uses of cell phones in Africa; e) the newly established European Endowment for Democracy (Huffington Post); f) “Conditional Aid: Carrots All Around,” an  Economist discussion of the MCC; g) “Global Development’s Star Player Hangs Up Her Jersey,” a Devex paean to Hillary Clinton; and h) “The Hidden Costs of Outsourcing Diplomacy and Development,” (Foreign Service Journal).
  • New Links: Take a look at the latest editions of Front Lines and the USAID Newsletter.




Do you have news, an article or event you would like to share?  Please send it tooffice@usaidalumni.org or, better still, post it on the Forum


Looking for someone with a USAID alumni background and skills to hire or volunteer? Express that interest on usaidalumni.org.  If you would like to post a job or volunteer opportunity, please email us at office@usaidalumni.org, Attn: Jobs/Volunteers. 


Celebrate the 4th Anniversary of the UAA on June 2nd

Save the Date!

Join fellow alumni for a reception to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the UAA and honor those individuals involved in the founding of the organization.

Date: June 2, 2013

Time: 5:30 PM

Location: The home of Nancy and John Pielemeier

Chevy Chase, Washington, DC

More details and RSVP information to follow!

Update from UAA Urban Team

UAA’s Urban Team, an activity of the Development Issues Committee, is up and running,organizing a series of public discussions for 2013, developing a related website, and engaging with USAID and other organizations to explore the significance of the urbanization phenomenon for a contemporary understanding and approach to development.  Each of these activities presents opportunities for participation by the membership.

Public discussions are being organized around the link between urbanization and other important development issues – economic growth and employment in Africa, the environment and sustainability in Asia, and municipal governance and management at global scale.  The municipal category including discussions organized around urban finance, urbanization and slum formation, and the urban link to radical politics.  A USAID alumnus is coordinating each topic, and the Urban Team would welcome the suggestion of additional topics and self-nominations to coordinate public discussion of such topics. The first discussion will be held in May and directed to the role of urbanization in economic growth and employment in Africa.

The Urban Team has also encouraged alumni comment on USAID’s new urban strategy (which can be found by clicking here), and a large contingent of alumni participated at a public meeting to review the strategy at the Woodrow Wilson Center earlier this month. In this regard, USAID sponsors an interesting website on urban issues – Making Cities Work. If members would like to be added to the distribution list, they can create a login with an email address at www.makingcitieswork.org.

And if members would like to be added to the mailing list for UAA’s Urban Team and its activities, please contact Owen Cylke at owencylke@mac.com.


Alumni Profile: Sherif Mowafy
UAA’s outreach to former USAID FSNs now living in the Washington area has recently taken off, thanks in part to Sherif Mowafy, originally from Egypt and now working with USAID’s Global Health Office as a civil servant. Sherif has recruited other FSNs to pool their insights on starting new lives in the US and create a practical guide for other newcomers, “Soft Landings for ex FSNs.” UAA hopes to engage both former FSNs and other USAID retirees in informally assisting new FSN arrivals to the US under the Special Immigrant Visa program. More on this volunteer opportunity later.First, here is Sherif’s story.

  Sherif Mowafy


Sherif Mowafy is a good example of someone who used to be an FSN but is now working at USAID/Washington as a civil servant.

Sherif hails from Port Said with a degree in Finance and used to work in Cairo. He joined the USAID Mission there in 1989 as a Finance officer, but after a year, he moved to the Contracts Office, where he worked for nine years. He then decided to leave USAID and spent seven years working with a local NGO which had just received a sizeable grant from USAID. With his background he quickly moved to Senior Management where he was able to give valuable advice about USAID procedures. When the grant ended, he and his family decided to try their chances in the United States.

Fortunately, thirteen years ago, Sherif’s wife received a green card through the lottery. At that time they put it aside, since both had good jobs in Cairo. She was working in the travel section of the American Embassy. After a family conference and much soul searching, Sherif applied for a job at USAID in Washington in the Procurement office and had a phone interview with them. He was accepted and then had to wait six months for his green card. His wife, since she already had her green card, couldn’t wait that long, since they had to get their two daughters in school, and she had been offered almost the same job she had at the Embassy at the State Department. So she came to Washington with their children, then still quite young (8 and 10), found an apartment, bought a car, and got them in school. Sherif followed six months later and began working as a Contract Officer backstopping the Global Health Supply Chain Management Project. Later he moved to the Global Health Office and is now the Contract Officer’s Representative for that contract. He is the Deputy Division Chief in that office, with a team of fifteen people.

Sherif says, looking back, it was a hard transition for the whole family, settling in, making new friends, but now they’re happy to be here. Of course, they keep up their family ties in Egypt, and his oldest daughter, Yara is currently in Cairo doing a semester abroad at AUC. His youngest daughter, is now a senior at Oakdale High and wants to pursue a career in design. They’ve bought a house in Fairfax


Alumnus Chris O’Donnell Candidate for AFSA Board
UAA member Chris O’Donnell is a candidate for the position of Retirement Representative for the 2013-2015 AFSA Governing Board, for which elections are underway.Chris notes that, in his earliest days at USAID, when few opportunities existed to join the Foreign Service, he was an elected representative of the USPSC Association. In this capacity, he established a USAID sponsored 401K and a group health care plan for several hundred PSCs, employees USAID relies on to fill critical positions.You can read Chris’s full candidate statement here and find more information on AFSA elections on the AFSA website


Now is the time to make your 2013 Membership Contribution
The UAA would like to thank those who have already made their 2013 membership contribution and encourage those who have yet to do so.As an incentive to early payment of 2013 membership contributions, we are offering a special bonus to the first 75 who contribute at the $75 or at the “Friends of UAA” level of $100 or above: a free copy of Janet Ballantyne’s long-awaited volume of recollections of USAID alumni: Fifty Years in USAID: Stories from the Front Lines. 

The suggested contribution levels are:


$75 for those within a 50 mile radius of DC

$50 for those who reside in the US but beyond the DC area

$25 for those who live overseas or are former FSNs.


A new category of “Friends of UAA” will recognize our angels who generously contribute $100 and above.


PLEASE NOTE: Annual membership is on a calendar year basis, regardless of the month in which you may make your contribution.


Our online payment system eliminates writing checks, finding stamps and those nasty paper cut on your tongue. Please make your online contribution here.


Should you wish to mail in your membership contribution, you can send it to:


USAID Alumni Association

1801 F Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20006


UAA sends a special invitation to alumni living overseas to become members of the Association.  UAA also is looking for overseas alumni who might be interested in volunteering as a point of contact (POC) with other alumni in their country of residence. To express interest in serving as a POC, please contact Phil Church at: pechurch@yahoo.com.


And please pass along word of the UAA website and this invitation to alumni friends and acquaintances who you think might be interested in joining your alumni association.