February 2013 Newsletter

USAID Alumni Association
February 2013 Newsletter
  • The UAA Development Issues Committee has been participating in the development of a new USAID urbanization strategy. Find details here
  • The USAID Where in the World feature has been updated through early January. See who recently has been transferred, retired, promoted, etc.
  • In the Forum, see what AFSA has to say re. the recruitment of a new HR chief,  USAID results in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the year-end remarks of AID Administrator Shah, a cartoon that nails a key humanitarian assistance conundrum, MFAN’s view on needed aid reform, more on the PSC “bid rigging” kerfuffle, how USAID is honoring one of its own Vietnam heroes, and the obituaries of two former colleagues.
  • New in Articles: an updated USAID Acronym List; “Can You Fight Poverty With a Five-Star Hotel?” (Foreign Policy);DEVEX on Hillary Clinton’s Development Legacy; Top Priorities for Africa in 2013 (Brookings); $10 Million Bounty for Sudanese Killers of USAID Employees Killed in 2008;a column by alumnus Kiert Toh; “USAID: America, the Mensch;” “The Marshall Plan: Rebuilding a Devastated Europe by Alumnus Jerry Zarr;  Top 10 Rethinking US Foreign Assistance Blogs of 2012; and “The Politics of Corruption” (The Economist).
  • New Links: The latest Front Lines and the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index.




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



Results from Membership Opinion Poll

Many thanks for the tremendous response to the Membership Opinion Poll we conducted at the end of 2012. We are grateful that so many alumni took the time to respond, and we learned a great deal about your goals for the USAID Alumni Association. Among other findings, we discovered that:


  • There are a number of fellow alumni who are looking for opportunities to speak with community groups about development and/or their experiences at USAID.
  • Many alumni want the UAA  to expand membership and activities to other parts of the country, and to make a special effort to recruit FSNs and younger alumni.
  • Alumni were almost equally divided between those who want the UAA to play a more active role in connecting alumni and hosting social events, and those who want the UAA to be more active in engaging USAID and becoming a voice on development and development assistance.
  • Some alumni would also like the UAA to have a more active role in connecting alumni with job and consulting opportunities.
  • Many of you are grateful for the role that UAA is playing with its all-volunteer Board and Committees, and you want us to keep it up.  Which we will!
Pilot for UAA/E&E Mentoring Program Launched!
Eleven UAA volunteer mentors have been paired with USAID E&E mentees for a four-month pilot beginning 31 January, 2013. An evaluation of the experience will take place in late May or June to determine the value of mentoring at a distance and possible continuation and expansion of the program. Coordinating the pilot for UAA are Strengthening USAID Committee co-chairs Pamela Mandel and Jerry Wood, and UAA Board Liaison David Cohen. The E&E Bureau coordinator is Anne Patterson. 

Andrew Maybrook, from the USAID training office, provided a half-day conference call orientation session for the mentees on 24 January, 2013, followed the next day by a day-long orientation for mentors. The latter session offered the opportunity for mentors to meet with Paige Alexander, Administrator, and Roberta Mahoney, Deputy Assistant Administrator, E&E Bureau. Andrew presented a number of mentoring models and tools for optimizing mentoring techniques. The mentors also participated in simulated telephone mentoring sessions with two FSOs, based on experiences in their previous assignments.


Alumnus John Pielemeier provided commentary to the group on his experience as a “coach” for the DLI program. Susan Reichle, Assistant to the Administrator, PPL, and David Eckerson, USAID Counselor, discussed USAID in 2013 – the emphasis on USAID Forward, “selectivity” and “focus”, evaluation, innovation, and science and technology.

The Strengthening USAID Committee very much appreciates all the alumni who have volunteered as mentors. We will maintain a list of alumni interested in mentoring for any future agreements between UAA and the Agency.


To view the MOU for the pilot program, click here



UAA Urban Initiative Kicks Off with January 15th Panel
The UAA Urban Initiative was launched on January 15th. Taking advantage of the USAID’s monthly “Making Cities Work Speaker Series”, we organized a panel to reflect on AID alumni experience as it relates to USAID’s current urban agenda. Building on the success of that initial effort, the USAID Alumni Association’s Urban Team plans to organize four workshops in 2013 with a view to contributing to the growing recognition in the development community that urbanization must play a more prominent role in both development diplomacy and programming. Our rationale for that is captured in the statement prepared by the Urban Team and we would welcome interested members of the UAA to participate actively in this year’s program (as described in the paragraphs that follow).


Each workshop will seek to underscore urbanization as a transformative development phenomenon, interrelating it to other important development themes, be situated (for the most part) in a particular region, reference as far as possible earlier development engagement in the subject matter of the workshop, and engage partner entities with a view to enhancing the credibility of our own efforts, providing sites for the workshops and augmenting audience participation. Topics include (subject to addition as members, USAID or partners may suggest):


1. Urbanization, the Environment and Sustainability – Asia


2. Development Pathways – Africa


3. Financing Cities – Latin America


4. Healthy Urban Governance – with a global perspective


Additional information on these topics can be found here

The team leader, Owen Cylke, can be contacted at owencylke@mac.com.

Alumni Profile: Stephen Wingert
Steve Wingert began his international development career in 1968 as a Peace Corps Volunteer assisting a USAID funded rice cooperative in Guatemala. After three years as a PCV he was contracted by USAID to design and manage its agricultural cooperative and credit union projects. At the time most USAID equipment and many of its forms were still labeled “ICA,” from USAID’s predecessor International Cooperation Administration. His coworkers dated back to the years of Truman’s Point IV program. Few current USAID employees are familiar with the blue mimeographed PIO/Ts and PIO/Cs that preceded (by several generations) MAARDS and GLAAS.


As a USAID Foreign Service Officer Steve served in Bolivia, Honduras, LAC Washington, Guatemala, and ended his career as Mission Director in Costa Rica. Since retiring in 1995 Steve has successfully completed over 100 consulting assignments in 29 countries, with work in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. He has focused on assisting USAID Missions with strategic planning, program design, monitoring and evaluation, implementation, and organizational strengthening. As an example, he recently completed an assignment to assess the impact of the USAID/South Africa program by applying the criteria of aid effectiveness from the Paris Declaration and USAID Forward. In 1997 he created his own consulting firm, Wingerts Consulting, and has a roster of over 100 consultants, mainly USAID retirees, who have agreed to work with the firm on appropriate assignments.


Many USAID officers and retirees know of Steve because in 1980 he and his family purchased Morgans Cay, a small island near Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Steve and his wife Marilee spend three months a year at the Cay, where the accompanying photo of Steve was taken. He is able to manage his consulting business from the Cay with a high speed internet connection. Others know of him because his daughter Anya Glenn and her husband Ted Glenn are both USAID Officers, currently stationed in Kinshasa. Marilee Wingert does volunteer work managing a scholarship program and provides other assistance for a woman’s organization in a small Mayan village in Guatemala made up of widows from three decades of conflict in that country. Their son Jeremy also works in the public sector as a multi-state corporate auditor for the State of California.

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.