Latest News from UAA

  • 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! 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. This year we will again have an in-person meeting held at the Center for Global Development at 2055 L St NW in Washington, D.C., but UAA members will also be able to attend virtually via Zoom. Only UAA members who have paid their annual dues for 2024 will be permitted to attend. Information about the AGM will be included in UAA monthly newsletters beginning in June 2024.


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

Last week the UAA Board met one last time with USAID Deputy Administrator Paloma Adams-Allen.  Paloma had previously announced her departure from USAID and scheduled this meeting to thank UAA for our assistance in meeting USAID’s leadership goals, especially with mentoring senior leaders, strengthening the role of FSNs in USAID, and helping the Agency achieve its DEIA objectives.  We thanked Paloma for her successes in strengthening USAID — including burden busting, leadership training, investments in DEIA, and FSN empowerment.  We also thanked her for her steady support of UAA, meeting with us regularly, and attending our events.  Of course, we also invited her to join UAA!  Paloma will be succeeded on an interim basis by Dennis Vega, current Chief of Staff.

UAA’s outreach to inform the public about USAID and the value of foreign assistance continued in mid-April with a 2-hour presentation to a joint, week-long AFSA/Road Scholars session on the foreign service.  The session was held in Washington, DC, and 39 people from across the U.S. participated in the USAID session. See the article below.

Finally, Isobel Coleman will reflect on her three years as USAID Deputy Administrator in a conversation with Chris Milligan during a UAA/DACOR hybrid luncheon on May 13th. She has been responsible for policy and program under Administrator Power.  To join in person or virtually, see details below.

We look forward to seeing many of you in May and over the course of the summer!

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. 

Another Successful UAA Event for Road Scholars

UAA Executive Committee Chair, Roberta Mahoney, with 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




















UAA Annual General Meeting

The USAID Alumni Association Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on October 27, 2023, with both in-person attendance and via Zoom Webinar. As always, the members who were able to attend in person appreciated the opportunity to see friends and colleagues from the UAA. Those not able to do so appreciated the virtual connection that enabled UAA members across the United States and in other countries to participate. The meeting was attended in-person by 74 U

AA members and 19 guests and speakers, and virtually by 78 UAA members and 2 speakers. This year the AGM was held in the morning, starting with an interview and questions for USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman, followed by the annual report and announcement of election results by the UAA Co-chairs. There were then two panel discussions concerning the Agency’s new Policy Framework’s focus on Progress Beyond Programs, and the presentation of the Alumni of the Year Awards. In-person attendees then enjoyed an 

extended lunch with friends and former colleagues.

This linked report summarizes the presentations and discussions conducted during the meeting.  Additional still photos can be seen here.  A video of the entire AGM can be viewed by clicking here.   

The message sent to members who registered to attend the meeting virtually incorrectly stated that the AGM would begin at 10 am, EDT, rather than 9 am. We apologize to those UAA members who missed the first hour of the meeting due to this error. We encourage anyone who missed the first hour to watch the video linked above, to see the welcome message from Nancy Lee of CGD, the interview and Q and As with USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman, and the beginning of Joy Riggs-Perla’s presentation of the UAA Annual Report and results of the 2023 Board elections.

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

Progress Report
As of mid-February 2024, thirteen collections had been donated.  Three have been processed and two more are partially processed; they will soon be posted online.  The Archivist hired a student assistant/intern in August 2023.  To our great delight – and that of the Archivist, too – Cindy Clapp-Wincek has recently volunteered to help the Archivist identify research themes to help guide students and scholars to topics found in the donated files; this work is underway.  The Archivist is exploring possible links with relevant departments and schools at American University – particularly the School of International Service. Meanwhile, we are reaching out to faculty members we know to be sure they are aware of this resource in their own library.  A key objective of the project is to encourage students and scholars to draw on these resources for research papers and other studies of development issues. Of course, as more alumni collections are included in the Archives, the more interesting this archive will be for AU faculty, departments, and schools.  We continue to keep in close touch with the Archivist about this program. She is a very enthusiastic advocate of this effort. We are eager to find other alumni with appropriate collections who are ready to donate them to this unique program.  

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:

UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue: 

Challenges Facing the Press Around the World in the Disinformation Age

Jeanne Bourgault with Bill Clifford

At a February 13 (hybrid) lunch session at DACOR, a UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue featured Internews President and CEO Jeanne Bourgault engaging in conversation with former World Affairs Councils of America President Bill Clifford on the subject of “Challenges Facing the Press Around the World in the Disinformation Age”. Their fascinating discussion and the subsequent Q&A session ranged widely over Internews’ experience in many challenging parts of the world – including in the USA – and much more. For the full recording of this event click here.

UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue: 

With World Bank Senior Managing Director Axel van Trotsenburg

Alex Shakow (right) introducing Axel van Trotsenburg

On Friday, January 19, World Bank Senior Managing Director Axel van Trotsenburg treated an attentive audience (at DACOR and on-line) to a stimulating overview of issues facing the World Bank and other multilateral development banks as they address the many interrelated challenges confronting the Global South – and the rest of the world, too. Watch the conversation between van Trotsenburg and the UAA’s Alex Shakow – and the Q&A period – by clicking here.


Development Issues Committee Discussion: 

USAID Chief Economist, Dean Karlan, Described the Role of his new Office 

Dean Karlan

USAID’s Chief Economist, Dean Karlan, was the guest speaker for the Development Issues Discussion on October 30th. Mr. Karlan described the role of USAID’s new Office of the Chief Economist, highlighting three objectives: promoting use of cost effectiveness analysis; generating evidence of cost effectiveness; macro-economic analysis and advice to USAID Washington and the field. He noted that evidence on cost-effectiveness in development has increased significantly in the past 20 years and he stressed the importance of leveraging USAID’s resources to maximize impacts. It will be important to focus new analyses on areas where there are gaps in the knowledge base. There is already considerable demand for the services of the 20-member Office of the Chief Economist. Emphasis is placed on helping operating units to consider the trade-offs among various options to achieve their objectives, with an eye to enhancing impacts. During the ensuing question and answer period, Mr. Karlan clarified that local conditions, political economy and higher level impacts shape his Office’s work, rather than a narrower approach of counting inputs. He also described his Office’s orientation to the professional development of Civil Service, Foreign Service and Foreign Service National Economists. Additional information about the Office of the Chief Economist is available at

“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:

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, Joan Stanford Chase, Djime Djibrine Adoum, William “Bill” Theodore White, Jr., Scott Allen, Manuel Emilo Valderrama-Aramayo, Edna Minor Johnson, Alan Mayne Strout, Edgar Carson Harrell, Kenneth Howard Sherper, Palmer Newcombe Stearns, Jr., Bob Dakan, Glenn Edwin Schweitzer, John Michael Metelsky, David Smith

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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