December 2012 Minutes

Minutes of the UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, December 20, 2012
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
TetraTech Office, Arlington, VA

Board Members Attending: Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter David Cohen, George Hill, Jim Michel, Nancy Pielemeier, Alex Shakow

Committee Co-Chairs Attending: Curt Farrar, Paula Goddard, Pam Mandel, Larry Smucker, Nancy Tumavick

Committee Co-Chairs Absent: Ann Van Dusen, Jerry Wood

Executive Assistant: Kristina Short

Chair: Alex Shakow


1. Review and approval of November 15, 2012 Executive Committee Meeting Minutes:

The November 15, 2012 Meeting Minutes were unanimously approved to be posted on the UAA website.

2. Membership Committee:

a. Communication with members: In order to systematize electronic responses to alumni queries (e.g., requests for information, suggestions, etc.), the Membership Committee will be responsible for answering these. This will allow the Committee to address individual concerns as well as assess wider trends.

b. Follow-up contact with alumni who contributed in 2011 but not 2012: The Board Co-chairs will send a message to alumni who were contributing members in 2011 but did not contribute in 2012. The purpose is to ascertain whether this situation reflects confusion over the contribution period or is a reflection of more substantive issues that need to be addressed by the UAA. Executive Committee members will follow up with those they know on a more personal level. Once follow-up needs become known, Executive Committee members will be asked to send Alex the names of those whom they wish to contact.

c. Clarifications on the annual contribution cycle: The Executive Committee will further clarify communications with members about the annual contribution cycle. Contribution receipts will indicate the calendar year toward which contributions will be applied. The UAA will send an early 2013 message asking for membership contributions for the current year and will also send a mid-year contribution reminder. The UAA website will provide additional clarifications, as needed, to ensure that the annual contribution cycle is well understood by all alumni.

For new members who made their first contribution in December 2012, the UAA will consider this as a 2013 contribution. This policy clarification will also be included in the website.

d. Lifetime memberships: This proposal will be tabled for now. In the immediate future the UAA will work to promote the “Friends of the UAA” category for those who choose to contribute more than the established contribution levels.

The contribution levels and membership contribution policies will be further discussed in the January 2013 Newsletter.

e. Follow-up with alumni who attended the 2011 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and not the one in 2012: Executive Committee members will send to Alex the names of those whom they will contact regarding why they opted to not attend the 2012 AGM. The purpose is to elicit feedback and help determine adjustments to future AGMs that will help draw more participants to these events.

f. Regular reports on membership changes: From now on, the Executive Committee will receive monthly reports from the Executive Assistant containing information (including names) on new alumni registrations and contributions. Four new alumni registered between November 20, 2012 and December 19, 2012, all of whom made their 2013 contributions. These membership reports will be distributed electronically to Executive Committee members on the 15th of each month. Kristina will also circulate a list of those contributing members categorized as “Friends of the UAA” for 2012.

g. Membership contributions from USAID couples: The Executive Committee agreed that couples who served “in tandem” with USAID in which each derived a salary from USAID will be treated as separate members, with each individual expected to make the appropriate contribution to be considered contributing members for voting and other purposes.

3. Distribution arrangements for “Fifty Years in USAID: Stories from the Front Lines”:

The UAA will send out copies of the book, currently stored with Alex Shakow, to the first 75 people to make their 2013 contribution (unless they already received the book from other sources). Kristina will send Alex the names and addresses of newly registered alumni who contributed in December so that they may be included, as well.

Discussion regarding the remaining copies included Executive Committee agreement on providing copies to speakers at UAA-sponsored events, such those participating in the “UAA-DACOR Development Dialogue”.

4. Update on Florida alumni:

In January 2012, alumnus John Popovich will reach out to retirees in Florida in an effort to develop a regional alumni group.

5. Public Outreach Committee:

The Public Outreach committee has not yet found a co-chair and will continue the search in January. A survey developed by the committee will go out with the December/January Newsletter.

6. Development Issues Committee:

a. Committee Leadership: Larry Smucker will continue as co-chair of the Committee, along with Curt Farrar. Kristina will ensure that the correct e-mail is being used and contact information is up-to-date for all committee members.

b. Update on Urbanization Initiative: On January 15, 2013 there will be a panel discussion at USAID, led by three alumni, focused on lessons from the USAID urban program experience. Curt will talk with Owen Cylke about whether an invitation will be included in the Newsletter, as has been done in the past with Urban lectures and discussions.

UAA engagement with the urban program work may serve as a model for how to tackle other areas, including sustainability issues. Owen Cylke continues to help identify urban development experts among the alumni.

c. Recognition for Owen Cylke: The Executive Committee recognized and expressed its support for all of the work Owen has done on behalf of the Development Issues Committee.

d. Website for the Development Issues Committee: The Executive Committee was asked at the November meeting for suggestions and possible volunteers to help maintain and further improve the UAA website, including the proposed website space to be set aside for the work of the Development Issues Committee. Ideas and suggestions continue to be welcomed.

7. Strengthening USAID Committee:

a. E&E Bureau/ UAA Mentoring Agreement Implementation: An implementation Action Plan is being updated and a logframe has been developed by David Cohen and Jerry Wood. The current training plan for mentors comprises a 1-day (or less) orientation program. A matrix of mentees and their needs has been developed. Mentees are now being paired with potential mentors, some of whom already have confirmed.

  • Number of Mentors: 11 alumni have expressed interest.
  • Most requested skills: democracy and governance, economic growth, mission closeout, education, private enterprise development, and guidance on being a mentor for staff.
  • Geographic distribution of mentees: Russia; Albania; Macedonia, Hungary, Moldova and Armenia

A conference call is scheduled for Dec. 20 between the Strengthening USAID Committee and USAID’s Human Resources Office regarding the 1-day training program, hopefully to be held in January.

Additional questions still on the table include mechanisms for participation by those who do not reside in the DC area.

b. Russian Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program: The tentative name for this new UAA/USAID collaboration program is the “UAA Overseas New Arrivals Sponsorship Program”. The Committee currently has one name of the four FSNs who will arrive from Russia under the SIV program. Rebecca Latorraca (Mission Director in Russia) will follow-up on new arrival needs.

The Executive Committee suggested reaching out to volunteer mentors and developing a separate website to address and provide resources for specific needs of new arrivals

8. Strategic Plan Update and Action Program Update:

As of December 20, 2012 no further changes to the October 26, 2012 draft of the proposed 2013-2015 strategy had been proposed. The Executive Committee, therefore, adopted the October 26, 2012 text as the UAA Strategic Plan for 2013-15. It is understood that the standing committees will propose updates from time to time as their work programs progress and that the Executive Committee will review the Plan and approve updates on a quarterly basis. The Plan is posted in the UAA website and is available as a planning tool for committee meetings.

9. Other Items:

Location for UAA records: Pam Mandel contacted the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Oral History project, located at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in Arlington, VA, about storage space in the FSI Campus, to which the Board could have access. This issue has been tabled for possible later discussion. At this point, the volume of UAA records is relatively small.

Social Events and DACOR Lunches planned for the coming months: The Membership Committee has discussed several possible events during the early months of the year, such as a panel discussion on life after USAID and another one on policies and politics likely to impact US foreign assistance in the coming year.

Meeting with senior USAID officials: David Cohen will arrange a meeting for early January between Alex Shakow and Nancy Pielemeier (potentially including several other Executive Committee members) and Susan Reichle and David Eckerson at USAID. Issues include:

  • Points of contact on both sides need to be renewed. The UAA needs a firm contact in Human Resources to ensure brochure distribution.
  • Policy issues cooperation beyond urbanization – e.g. water.
  • Clarify the nature of USAID interest in local capacity development.

The UAA participants will provide USAID a short summary on the status of the urban initiative and Mentoring programs.

UAA Website backup support: The January 2013 newsletter will include an advertisement for someone interested in assisting David Cohen with maintaining the UAA Website. Duties would include highlighting important articles and books of interest to our alumni community and soliciting reactions to these articles (informal reviews, relevance to personal experience, etc.). This will help drive discussion in the web forum.

2013 AGM Committee: A committee will be established after feedback is received from alumni who did not attend the 2012 AGM. The Executive Committee discussed establishing a standing AGM mini-committee, as well as single coordinator to handle organization of the 2013 meeting:

Future of the UAA: The Executive Committee will schedule a full meeting to discuss the future role of the UAA – its raison d’etre and what we can do to enhance and sustain interest. This will be based, in part, on feedback collected from members regarding AGM attendance and membership contributions.

10. Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the UAA Executive Committee is scheduled for 10:30 AM at the TretraTech Office on Thursday, January 17, 2013.