August 2012 Newsletter

USAID Alumni Association
August 2012 Newsletter

Welcome to New Alumni

The UAA Executive Committee would like to take this opportunity to warmly welcome alumni who have recently registered with the UAA. Since January 1, 2012, 47 alumni have registered with the UAA, 20 of whom have joined the UAA as contributing members.Click here to see the most up-to-date Alumni Directory. If you need a password to view the Directory, please email

Alumni registered since our last newsletter include:

Toni Christiansen
Blair Cooper
Sylvia Etian
Omnia Franckiewicz
Linda Rae Gregory
Jeffrey Grieco
Susan Morawetz
Alex Newton
Sue Pizzaro
Curt Reintsma
Bonnie Walter

New on

In the Forum, read Administrator Shah’s note on open source development, a cable from SecState providing guidance on the role of diplomacy in supporting development, a book review, several recent obituaries, and other interesting new items. Do you have a brief article or event you would like to share, post it on the Forum. It is simple to do, and no special password is required.

The USAID Where in the World feature on has been updated. See who recently has been transferred, retired, promoted, etc.

Under Alumni News, learn about the recent ambassadorial appointments of three USAID staff. Also, find out about the great time many of us had at the first annual UAA picnic and check out the annual gathering of Vermont-based alumni.

New in Articles:”Corporate Transparency – Measuring Mud,” and “Please Don’t Send Food.”

New Links: Foreign Policy’s updated “Failed States Index,” “The National Priorities Database,” and Brookings “Development Aid and Governance Indicators.”

Save the Date! 2012 Annual General Meeting and Board Elections

Fourth UAA Annual General Meeting

October 18, 2012

NRECA Conference Center

Arlington, Virginia

The 2012 Annual General Meeting is fast approaching. Plan now to attend the 4th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the USAID Alumni Association – a fine opportunity to meet colleagues and friends and participate in lively discussions on trends and challenges for US foreign assistance.

We have a new venue for the AGM this year. The AGM will be held at the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA) headquarters at 4301 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203. This location is convenient to the Ballston Metro stop and there is ample public parking in the area. As always, our meeting will include lunch and socializing. Additional information about the AGM will be coming soon!

An important feature of the AGM is elections for the UAA Board of Directors. This year, we have two Board positions to fill, and we are looking for nominations and self-nominations. Interested alumni should send a short paragraph about your or your nominee’s background and interest in joining the UAA Board to

Remember! Only contributing members can vote in Board Elections so if you haven’t made your 2012 membership contribution yet, now is a great time to do so. You can pay online on the USAID Alumni Website or you can mail your check to USAID Alumni Association, 1801 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006.

Recommended annual membership contribution levels for 2012 are:

$75.00 – Washington, DC area alumni (within 50 miles)

$50.00 – Alumni residing elsewhere in the United States

$25.00 – FSNs residing in the US or abroad and other alumni residing abroad

Members who contribute $100 or more will be recognized as “Friends of the UAA.”

UAA is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and contributions to UAA are deductible as charitable contributions.

UAA Summer Picnic Held at WeatherLea Farm and Vineyards

On Saturday, July 28 approximately 100 USAID Alumni and family members participated in the First Annual UAA Picnic at WeatherLea Farm near Leesburg, Virginia. Although the weather was as warm as anticipated, the mid-19th century barn and its surroundings provided a comfortable focal point for our picnic. The group clearly enjoyed the casual event which included a tour of the Baldwin vineyards and sampling of the wine produced from the grapes, not to mention up close and personal visits with their sheep and llamas.

Special thanks goes to Diane Ponasik, Nancy Tumavick, and Margaret Carpenter for all the hard work that went into making this a success, not to mention to Pamela and Malcolm Baldwin for their great hospitality.

Wish you had been there? Well then, there’s good news: we hope to continue this picnic tradition next summer with an even greater turnout.

Alumni Profile: Bob Lester

Bob Lester served with USAID for 30 years in the Office of the General Counsel. He started out as an International Development Intern in Saigon, Vietnam, next moved to USAID’s regional office in Nairobi, and then as an attorney-advisor and Assistant GC for Legislation and Policy for the next 26 years. He finished up his stint in Washington-or Washington finished him-with a little bit less than a year on the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee. During his tenure at USAID he served 9 month stretches as Acting GC and as Acting AA/LPA. Right now, he and his much better half, Deedee, are sitting in an RV in northern California and loving every minute of it.

Since retiring we’ve moved to central Florida and are living in an adult Disneyland called The Villages. Living there presents certain challenges, but being able to find stuff to do does not fall into that category. In addition to the traditional shuffleboard, there are about 4000 people who play softball every day, there are over 500 holes of golf available to residents (even those like us who don’t really know how to play but just enjoy a nice walk trying to look for golf balls) and, for this NYC boy, even a stickball league. Up until recently we have been working at the local hospital, mostly on a volunteer basis, about 3 times a week. We’re taking a break from that to take our second long trip in our RV. Great fun and we’re meeting wonderful people wherever we go. A word of advice-don’t drive on I-5 in California, it’s a horrible road. This is our second long trip with Cowboy, our cat. Next summer we’ll probably spend in our RV at a campground in Asheville, North Carolina. It’s a beautiful town with a fun minor league baseball team, the Asheville Tourists, a name that strikes fear in the hearts of the opposition. Go Tourists. There’s also been some consulting work, e.g., another rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act that was never enacted, and some training for USAID new hires. That’s always a lot of fun as we try to explain to the young ones why a bill rarely becomes a law, and what all the huffing and puffing on the Hill really means.

If y’all are in the neighborhood, give me a call and stop on by. I can teach you all about grits-not a dietary staple in NYC but pretty much so down here.

Upcoming Event: Film Screening for Point Four

Date: September 19, 2012, 6:30 pm.

Location: The QED Group, 1250 Eye Street NW, Suite 1100.

Metro: McPherson Square (Blue and Orange); Metro Center (Blue, Orange, and Red).

Cost: $5.00 donation to cover room costs

Join fellow alumni for a screening of Point Four, a documentary film highlighting Haramaya University in Ethiopia and the successful implementation of United States development cooperation in Ethiopia. Dr. Mel Tewahade, director of Point Four, will be in attendance and will lead a discussion of the development of the Agricultural School that was funded by USAID. Refreshments will be served.

Alumni Gather in Vermont

The annual gathering of USAID alums and “development wallahs,” hosted this year by Connie Carrino in Stowe, Vermont, took place on Sunday, August 19th.