Latest News from UAA

  • New! On Wednesday, July 17, 2024, from 11:00 to 12:30 P.M. EST, the UAA Development Issues Committee will hold its next discussion on Zoom led by Matthew Nims, USAID Deputy Assistant to the Administrator (DAA), Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Matthew will focus his remarks on the current global humanitarian assistance situation.  
  • NEW!  Save the Date:  Wednesday, July 31, midday, in Rochester, Vermont. Anne Aarnes, David Sprague, Ann and Mike Van Dusen, Connie Carrino, Jeff Sharat, and Margaret Neuse will host the annual “development wallahs” picnic. All are welcome, including alumni who may be visiting New England in late July.  Details to follow.  For more information and to express interest in attending, contact Ann Van Dusen ( and/or Anne Aarnes ( 
  • New! Join us on July 31 from 5:30-7:00 with USAID Mission Directors and Representatives at the Yours Truly Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC. The MDs will be in town for their MD Conference, so this is a perfect time to catch up. And for mentors, a perfect time for some face-to-face time!  The hotel is close to lots of great restaurants – Mercy Me in house and Rasika’s across the street. The event is open to all members.  There will be a cash bar and UAA will provide light hors d’ovres.  Please RSVP here  to help our planning.  
  • New! On Friday, September 6, Sir Masood Ahmed, former President and CEO of the Center for Global Development (CGD) and longtime World Bank, IMF and DFID official, will speak at a UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue (hybrid) lunch. Watch for a full announcement closer to the event.
  • NEW!  Save the Date:  September 7 from 12 noon to 3 pm for the Annual Picnic
  • NEW!  On Thursday, September 26, 10:30 am to 11:30/12:00 noon, Development Issues discussion with Prof. Julia Irwin about her new book, Catastrophic Diplomacy:  US Foreign Disaster Assistance in the American Century.  This program, open to all UAA members, is intended as a lead-in to the October 11 Annual General Meeting theme on the nexus between humanitarian and development assistance (see below).  Watch for a full announcement closer to the event.  
  • NEW!Save the Date: October 11 from 9 am to 1:15 pm for the UAA Annual General Meeting followed by lunch.  The theme for this year’s meeting focuses on the inter-dynamics between USAID development and humanitarian assistance. You can read a description of the meeting’s theme and panels by clicking here and see the latest version of the meeting agenda, including information on who has been invited to give the keynote address and participate on the panels, by clicking here. The in-person meeting will be held at the Center for Global Development at 2055 L St NW in Washington, D.C., and UAA members will also be able to attend virtually via Zoom. Only UAA members whose annual dues payment for 2024 has been received by September 30, 2024, will be permitted to attend.


We join all the other Foreign Service agencies to celebrate our U.S. Foreign Service reaching 100 years. The gala on Tuesday, May 21st will be livestreamed on State’s website and YouTube channels. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, CIA Director Bill Burns, and USAID’s Counsellor Clinton White will be speaking. Here are the links for the livestream from the gala where viewers will be able to watch the remarks of all the speakers beginning around 7pmEST:  Department homepage and YouTube Channel.

In honor of the Anniversary, AFSA has provided an excellent set of talking points should you have the opportunity to spread the word in your community. Just click here.

Note from the UAA Board

An exciting and busy month for UAA was highlighted with our annual Spring Reception which was held at DACOR. Over 60 alumni attended in person and more than 40 more joined us virtually for an enjoyable afternoon. Our keynote speaker, Sonali Korde, the USAID Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Humanitarian Affairs, laid out the complex task of responding to multiple crises around the world. A factoid that she shared with us: In 2023 USAID responded to over 70 crises in over 60 countries!

Another memorable event in June was a a highly successful retirement ceremony, which UAA co-hosted with USAID. Over 400 participants from around the world attended the all-virtual event including, for the first time, our Foreign Service National (FSN) colleagues who recently retired. Administrator Samantha Power shared moving and appreciative words, recognizing the resolve and resilience of all the staff of the Agency. On a beautiful evening in early June a group of us got together to listen to the uplifting music of John Legend at the Wolf Trap National Park in northern Virginia. Throughout the month, our colleagues in Florida continued to reach out to retired USAID staff with events co-sponsored with the Florida Chapter of the Foreign Service Retired Association (FSRA) and chapters of the World Affairs Council. For more on these events, including pictures, please read on!

A few programming notes: The Annual General Meeting this year will take place on Friday, October 11, which is a couple of weeks earlier than in previous years. This early date is to accommodate the World Bank meetings that are being held at the end of October and the U.S. elections in early November. Also please note the deadline for submission of interest in serving on the Board of UAA, which is Friday August 2. Finally, as we continuously endeavor to expand our UAA family, we are seeking members interested in reaching out to our Civil Service colleagues. If you are interested, please get in touch with Oren Whyche-Shaw, at

Have a great summer and please don’t forget to put on sunscreen!

One final note: Consider joining and playing a role on one of UAA’s Committees. While members work hard, they also have fun and help alumni stay connected to others with similar interests and the larger USAID alumni community.  You can stay updated on the latest regarding Committees and Co-Chairs by checking the UAA website here. 

Nominations for the USAID Alumni Association (UAA) Board

There are three vacant positions on the UAA Board to be filled by vote of the Membership prior to the 2024 Annual General Meeting (AGM) that will be held on Friday, October 11, 2024.  Please note that this date is earlier than in previous years to accommodate the World Bank meetings as well as the U.S. elections in November.

The Board Nominations Committee is seeking to broaden the selection of candidates to fill these vacancies by soliciting current UAA members to seek nomination by a fellow member or self-nominate. The first requirement to serve is that you must be a 2024 UAA member (having made the required contribution on or after December 1, 2023).  Candidates may have worked under any USAID hiring authority.  The deadline for submission of candidates for the Board is close of business on August 2, 2024. 

 Candidates may be located anywhere, including outside the United States, as long as they have access to high-speed internet.  Attendance at both monthly Board and Executive Committee Zoom meetings on weekday mornings, Eastern time, is expected. The Board of UAA is a working Board and all members, through their participation, contribute their time.

 Consistent with UAA’s Statement of Intent on Diversity and Inclusion, the Nominations Committee encourages UAA members who identify as coming from a diverse or under-represented community to self-nominate for Board membership. The Statement of Intent can be found under UAA Policies in the About Us section of the UAA website.

Whether self-nominating or being nominated by a fellow member of UAA, the following information needs to be sent to the Nominations Committee:

  • Name
  • Last position held at USAID, hiring authority, and date of retirement or most recent separation
  • Examples of contributions to UAA or its operating framework/objectives as stated in the About Us section of the UAA website

Brief statement of why you wish to join the Board

Please send your nomination to the members of the Nominations Committee NLT August 2, 2024, to allow adequate time for consideration. The Nominations Committee members, Denise Rollins, Oren Whyche-Shaw, and Ken Yamashita can be reached at:

FSN CommUNITY Family Picnic

On Sunday, June 23, the USAID Counselor and his team celebrated the second annual Unity in the CommUNITY Family Picnic, acknowledging the contributions of former Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs). Nearly 300 former FSNs and their families arrived at Fort Hunt Park with loads of wonderful food from around the world and plenty of goodwill. The Bangladesh contingent was the largest represented, along with Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Clinton White, Counselor to USAID, and his staff organized this highly successful event and covered associated costs. The USAID Alumni Association was honored to be invited. The UAA contingent included Sharon Pauling, Carol Peasley, Roberta Mahoney, Dave McCloud, Mary Alice Kleinjan, and Denise Rollins. It was great to see so many former FSNs who have made a life in the U.S.  To see more photos of this event, click here. 

Spring Reception

Full sunshine greeted more than 60 people who celebrated this year’s Spring Reception on June 13 in DACOR Bacon’s beautiful garden, joining 40 virtual attendees.  Our emcee, UAA Co-Chair, Ken Yamashita joined his Co-Chair, Roberta Mahoney in welcoming our members and guests and introducing our program.  Our guest speaker, Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, Sonali Korde, offered perspectives on some of the seemingly insurmountable humanitarian challenges today and USAID’s pragmatic approach to meeting these challenges.  As a 20- year veteran of the Agency, Sonali acknowledged the support that she received from current USAID alumni in guiding and mentoring her throughout her career.  Further, she appealed to alumni to continue their outreach to communities across the U.S. to communicate what USAID does and relate foreign policy and programs to domestic audiences and interests.  Special thanks to Susan Fine, Miles Toder, Christine Sheckler and Rebecca Black who shared their perspectives on USAID alumni activities outside of the DMV. 
















John Legend Concert

On Tuesday evening, June 4th, 14 UAA members and guests gathered at Wolf Trap to enjoy John Legend in concert, picnicking on the lawn before the concert and enjoying the companionship of friends.  John Legend more than delivered – he recounted his life story and evolution as a musician from his humble, religious roots in Ohio to his current world renown status as an accomplished pianist/singer/songwriter.  He regaled his grounding in choral music, moving from home schooling to public high school to attendance at University of Pennsylvania, then becoming a Boston Consulting Group consultant before devoting himself to a professional musical career.  With all that the DMV area has to offer, we hope to organize more of these “self-pay” events when UAA members can meet and enjoy similar cultural events.

Another Successful UAA Event for Road Scholars

UAA Executive Committee Chair, Roberta Mahoney, wi

th support from UAA Outreach Committee Co-Chair, Christine Sheckler, led a Road Scholar presentation on US Foreign Assistance & USAID to a class of 39 in Washington, D.C. This was part of the Road Scholar “US Foreign Service Week” curriculum. The UAA/USAID PowerPoint presentation was one of the final new versions currently used as the Outreach Committee and USAID LPA finalize the updated version.

UAA supports the Road Scholar program by offering senior USAID/UAA Senior Foreign Service Officers as course presenters several times a year, in Washington, D.C. and at the Chautauqua Institute in New York. UAA Senior Foreign Service Officer(ret.), Jim Bever, has been the key presenter up until the current course. Over the past two and a half years UAA, via our Public Outreach Committee, has met in-person with over 750 Road Scholars coming from over 400 communities in over 40 states to discuss US foreign aid and USAID.      



On March 13 the USAID Alumni Association (UAA) joined the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) for a Happy Hour with the visiting USAID Deputy Mission Directors.

The event took place at the US Capital with time for networking and brief interventions from Tod Preston, Executive Director, MFAN, Clinton White, Counselor, USAID, Erin Nicholson, Deputy Mission Director, USAID Indonesia, and Ken Yamashita (Ret.), former interim counselor for the Agency and USAID Alumni Association representative. 

The DMD’s were in town for a global workshop to institutionalize DMD leadership and professional development, engage Agency leaders and share field approaches on strategic priority areas.  Their specific objectives were to:   Support DMDs’ capacity to institutionalize USAID Policy Framework in the field. Specifically focusing on leveraging DMD’s unique role to strengthen partnerships and further national security priorities, inclusive of digital technology, cyber security, and countering PRC and Russian dis/mis information.  Fostering peer-to-peer leadership and management learning and exchange; strengthening and professionalizing the DMD backstop; empowering DMDs to manage their own careers and updating the DMD Charter by-laws. Informing efforts to prepare newly assigned DMDs and support DMDs already in the field.   Strengthening the Agency’s workforce by providing training and tools for strengthening accountability, improving performance management, supervision and building talent. Leveraging DMDs to advance Agency SFS/FS reform, DEIA, FSN empowerment, mentoring, and C3 integration.

Invitees included 51 Deputy Mission Directors, some 50 USAID/W leaders, MFAN Executive Director and a broad swath of NGO members of MFAN.  We were pleased with the robust turnout on the part of UAA – 23 members strong! Our thanks also to members who played a key role in leading panels during the actual workshop with these future leaders of the Agency.


Winterfest 2024!

On March 3 54 UAA members and guests gathered in Alexandria to catch up with one another and enjoy the afternoon as winter recedes and spring, well, springs. Our new venue was light and bright and spacious, and the food and wine were plentiful and delicious. We celebrated new members and shared news of where UAA is going and upcoming plans. New homes, new jobs, new retirement and travel, there was a bit of it all. In his welcoming remarks, Ken Yamashita marked the passing of Mel Cook, Bette’s husband. Briefly put, Mel was an American hero having served in WWII and Viet Nam and contributing to the founding of the new US Army Museum. Always by Bette’s side at UAA functions, we will miss him. We thank members for coming out and bringing friends and family. Thank you to the Social Committee  – Margot Ellis, Melissa Williams, Georgia Sambunaris, Sharon Pauling, Denise Rollins and Karen Freeman for bringing it all together again. Look for more upcoming opportunities to gather and if you have ideas, or would like to host an event, please let the Social Committee know. 

Tish Butler, Beth Hogan and Ken Lanza

Maria Rendon and Anne Patterson

Anne Dammarell, David Jessee and Mike Walsh

Denise Rollins, Ven Suresh, Carol Dabbs and Lucien Hakorimana

Anne Patterson, Tom Staal, Maria Rendon, Janina Jaruzelski and Bruce Adams

Margot Ellis, Ray Martin, and Carol Carpenter-Yeman



Denise Rollins and Georgia Sambunaris

Marcy Birnbaum, Tish Butler, Anne Dammarell, and Chris Crowley

Karen Freeman and Tish Butler

Ken Yamashita and Nancy Pielemeier



















Supporting Our Mission Israel LE Staff Colleagues Via the FSN Emergency Relief Fund

Our colleagues, especially the Locally Employed Staff at Mission Israel and those residing in Gaza, are directly affected by the war between Israel and Hamas.  This includes those working for USAID. 

AFSA would like to draw attention to the opportunity for all of us to meaningfully support our colleagues by giving to the FSN Emergency Relief Fund. We urge you to continue reading here to learn more about this Fund and to explore how you can lend your support.  

Emergency Relief Funds for Ukraine:  for FSNs and for Ukrainian Citizens

For information about contributing to relief of the Ukraine emergency, including the FSN Emergency Relief Fund and ways to support the people of Ukraine compiled by DACOR Bacon House Foundation’s Development Office, click here.

UAA Partnership with American University Library Archives

Since 2019 the American University Library Archives have welcomed donations of AID alumni personal memorabilia of their USAID service. The UAA has now established a partnership with the Archives to support the preparation, processing, and making available to researchers of these papers, including those donated by the UAA and by individual alumni and others.  We envision the program will continue for five or more years; after two years the Archivist and UAA will assess the program’s effectiveness before committing for the additional years.  The UAA has pledged an initial sum of $10,000 over two years ($5,000 each year) to finance student interns to help prepare and organize these papers and make them more easily available. The funding for this program is drawn entirely from contributions made to the AID history project, which included the clear hope that the book would stimulate further study and understanding of AID’s more than 60 years of development history. AID alumni are strongly urged to consider donating their memorabilia to this collection. (See

Reminder! 2024 UAA Awards Program

In 2024, the UAA will continue to recognize significant contributions by UAA members through its signature Alumni of the Year awards. Since the inception of the Awards Program in 2014, the UAA has recognized and celebrated new paths taken by USAID alumni to provide service to their communities and to make lasting contributions to others at home and abroad.

For the Alumni of the Year awards, your help is requested in identifying individuals whose post-USAID activities are truly exemplary and highlight the quality of our alumni community. We ask each of you to consider nominating — or self-nominating — someone you know who is deserving of this recognition.

The UAA Awards Committee will accept nominations for Alumni of the Year, beginning now until July 31, 2024. Send nominations electronically to: The award winners will be announced at the Annual General Meeting in October.

The 2024 UAA Awards Program guidance is provided on the UAA website.  Please click here.

Development Dialogues

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.

For a full archive of all events that have audio or video availability, please click here.  

DACOR has decided that virtual attendance at its programs – including the UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues – will now cost $10 per program, plus a 3% charge for credit card payments. This fee had been voluntary, and many had paid the fee, but in view of the base cost to host virtual or hybrid events, the DACOR Board concluded that all participants should share the expense. The cost of DACOR lunches will remain at $35.

UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue: 

USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman reflects on USAID programs and U.S. foreign policy objectives. 

On Monday, May 13, 2024, USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Colemen squeezed time out of her very busy week to spend an hour with an appreciative and engaged audience at DACOR and on-line. In conversation with retired USAID Counselor and active UAA Board Member Chris Milligan, she reflected candidly on her experience leading USAID’s policy work during the first three years of the Biden Administration. To hear the whole program please click here. 

UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue: 

The Rise of the Global Middle Class by Dr. Homi Kharas

Dr. Homi Kharas and Alex Shakow at DACOR, April 5, 2024

At DACOR on Friday, April 5, Brookings’ Senior Fellow Dr. Homi Kharas discussed with the luncheon (and on-line) audience some of the many complex issues explored in his new book The Rise of the Global Middle Class – How the Search for the Good Life Can Change the World. While basically an optimist, Kharas also laid out the key – and very difficult – steps societies must take if the continued growth of the middle class is to be sustained. Watch the hour-long discussion by clicking here

Development Issues Committee Discussion: 

USAID Office of Innovation, Technology and Research (ITR) Hub

On Wednesday, March 6, a lively and highly informative Development Issues Committee session (via Zoom) was held with USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer Mohamed Abdel-Kader and Digital Director Chris Burns to discuss the work of the USAID Office of Innovation, Technology and Research (ITR) Hub.  Some 15-17 members participated.  The discussion focused on the work of the ITR Hub, formerly the Global Development Lab, which is the locus of USAID’s current science and technology research and innovation work.   

The speakers discussed how the office was organized and staffed, with the technology division focusing on cybersecurity, geospatial analysis, and technology, and the research division focusing on building education capacity of science and research abroad including creating a new generation of AI (artificial intelligence) leaders, as well as the Hub’s focus on supporting new innovations to scale up, and to improve USAID programming.  

 Mr. Abdel-Kader pointed out the strong potential of digital development in helping USAID try to address many of its prioritized development issues.   Mr. Burns gave some examples of how USAID’s work in digital financing is helping such as in Rwanda on financial inclusion as well as in using cell phones in programs to help deliver training to individuals. The presentation was followed by a lively and inquisitive Q&A session with UAA members asking questions ranging from how the Office interacts and supports field missions in programming, how specifically money is spent, collaborating with USAID’s CIO (center for information technology) on supporting internal staff in non-programming areas, engaging other federal agencies on), and learning how to use AI (artificial intelligence) safely.   Both speakers shared information on links where UAA members and the public can get more information on resources and the work of ITR.  

Additional information can be found at these links:


“The Enduring Struggle:  The History of the U.S. Agency for International Development and America’s Uneasy Transformation of the World “

by John Norris

The Enduring Struggle: the history of the US Agency for Intl Devt

John Norris‘ book, The Enduring Struggle – The History of the Agency for International Development and America’s Uneasy Transformation of the World, was published in July 2021. In a short review, Foreign Affairs wrote:  “This comprehensive history of the U.S. Agency for International Development…deserves to be read by all students of U.S. foreign policy.”  A very positive review of The Enduring Struggle by Mary Jane Maxwell has recently been published in the Journal of World History.  (Read it here.)  Copies may be purchased from the publisher at a 30 percent discount by using the form at this link.  Alumni with suggestions for events that will popularize the book or to generate reviews should send their suggestions to Alex Shakow at

Additions to the Bibliography of USAID Authors

A delightful book of historical fiction by William C. Craddock, a former USAID Foreign Service Officer, has been added to the Bibliography of USAID Authors  Nobles Gold looks like great summer reading!!  An unethical think tank is advising the newly elected U.S. President to return to the gold standard but the amount of gold needed is only available on Mars. Sam Noble, a State Dept Courrier, is writing his first book based on his multiple travels and touches on lost civilizations and lost caches of GOLD.  His first chapters are hijacked by the FBI and the think-tank.  Sam escapes with his mystical Brazilian wife to her native Amazonian village where Sam makes an amazing discovery not far from where Theodore Roosevelt once explored the legendary River of Doubt in 1914.  It was that night of a waxing moon and spectacular meteor shower…

Please send info on any new books written by USAID foreign service and GS officers, their family members, and FSNs to

In Memoriam

UAA has learned of the recent deaths of the following members of our USAID alumni community:

Judith “Judy” Davis Johnson, Howard Dean Pittman, Susan Collins Russell, Sarah Evelyn Wright, David Henry Mandel, Elizabeth Schoenecker, Susan Chuwa Easley, Marion Horace “Tex” Ford, I. Austin Heyman, Mary Huntington, Richard Elliot Benedick, William Topolsky, Kurt Keith Kunze, Peter W. Shirk, Amy Ada Haratani, Achsah Nesmith, Wade F. Gregory, Elmer Melvin “Mel” Cook, Melvin Raymond Chatman, Jr., Frances Brigham Johnson, Joseph Coolidge Wheeler, William “Bill” Ignatius Rodier III, Paul Christian Tuebner, Manuel Carl “Mick” Zenick, Francis Redmond “Tony” Smoot, Ernest “Ernie” Clarence Kuhn, Caryle E. Cammisa, Wilma Louise Ditter, Ellsworth “Butch” Amundson, Sophia Helene Van Der Bijl, Alex Durham Newton, Patricia S. Matheson, Robert Jaffe Muscat, Richard Lee “Dick” McCall, Jr., Thomas Hale Fox, James Elliott

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: Attn: Memorials.

AFSA death notices for USAID members not in UAA In Memoriam list

Click here to see a list from 25 pages of American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) members specifying USAID as their foreign affairs agency who have died since AFSA started keeping track in the Memorial Tribute section of its website, but who were not listed in the In Memoriam section of the UAA website (as of June 2023).  Most of the entries do not include obituaries.  Those that do have been added to UAA In Memoriam Previous Tributes.  Missing obituaries would be welcome at  Attn:  Memorials.

Get Involved!

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:

UAA Committees

UAA Mentoring

Job & Volunteer Opportunities 

Syllabi for Devt Courses and Speakers


Recent News Articles & Links for Development Professionals

Recent Articles

To see and access the full list of articles, please click here.

If you have articles that you believe would be of general interest to the UAA membership, please submit them here.

Web Links

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:, Attn: Development Issues.


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