January 2011 Newsletter

Annual Dues: It’s that time again! Annual dues are still $75 and are due this quarter. Please send checks, made out to UAA, to:

1801 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

Calling all alumni of USAID/Kenya. Donatella Lorch writes that she is helping USAID Kenya organize and coordinate its 50th anniversary in Kenya. The plan is to make a 20 minute film recording USAID/Kenya’s history as well as its present and future. Donatella is eager to hear from USAID alumni who served in Kenya since operations began there in the 1960s. She is interested in oral histories as well as any pictures of people and projects. You can reach Donatella at lorchd@gmail.com or http://www.donatellalorch.com, or on her cell phone: +254 700718646.

ISO USAID/Korea alumni as well. Rie Yamaki has asked for help in reaching former USAID/Korea staff and others who served in Korea between 1950 and 1980 who may be able to donate photographs or other materials of interest to Korea’s new National History Museum. The former site of USAID/Korea in Seoul is being renovated to house the new National History Museum and Ambassador Stephens in Korea hopes to donate some materials relating to USAID’s past work in Korea to the museum’s collection. Rie notes that it’s a great opportunity to highlight USAID’s successful development cooperation with ROK, as Korea hosts the next High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in November 2011. On a separate note, the Korea Development Institute (an influential NGO founded with USAID’s assistance) is holding a conference in October 2011 to commemorate its 40th anniversary. They would like to invite a USAID/Korea veteran from the 1970’s to this event, and would appreciate assistance in making contact. You can reach Rie at yamakirx@state.gov, USAID/Tokyo or John Beed (beedja@state.gov), USAID/Tokyo.

New leadership on UAA Committees and a few openings still to fill: We welcome David Cohen and Pam Mandel, our new cochairs of the Strengthening USAID Committee. We are also looking for a cochair to work with Brad Langmaid on the Public Outreach Committee, and an additional cochair to work with Curt Farrar and George Hill on the Development Issues Committee. Finally, if there is a member or two who would be interested in leading the work of the Membership and Web Committee, it would allow Gary Merritt to turn his attention to communications and events. We realize it is difficult to participate in these committees for those of you outside the Washington area, but we are committed to find a way to make the work of the UAA accessible to all of its members. If you have interest in any of these positions, please contact Terry Brown or Ann Van Dusen.

Regional USAID gatherings. We are eager to build our alumni activities around the country and to help you engage and reconnect with one another. If you are interested in helping to organize a USAID alumni gathering in your area let us know and we will provide names of alumni in the area who have registered with the UAA. If you will be traveling to another part of the country and just want to find out if there are alumni where you are going, we will try to help. And we ask you to help us. We will soon be sending you an email about the USAID Alumni Association and we ask that you forward it to other alumni who may be interested in the UAA.

UAA Membership: The UAA now has a database of 670 registered alumni, and approximately 120 dues-paying members. We are committed to increasing the membership this year, and to this end the Board is exploring ways to improve the services which Members receive. Please send us your suggestions for how the UAA can be more useful to you! For now, as before, dues-paying members are eligible to vote for UAA officers, chair UAA Committees, and run for UAA office. Access to the UAA website and alumni directory and information about the Annual meeting will continue to be available to everyone who registers.

Tough love at USAID. In a hard-hitting speech on January 19th, a copy of which is on the UAA website, Administrator Shah announced new directions for USAID including a bold new Evaluation Policy – also posted on the website – and strict new procedures for awarding and renewing grants and contracts. This speech has created considerable buzz, and we will post selected commentaries on the website as well. Let us hear your thoughts.

USAID’s 50th Anniversary. USAID has launched a website to report on the events planned around the 50th anniversary. It is still very new, but you can keep an eye on activities as they develop at: http://50.usaid.gov.

The Modernizing Foreign Aid Network (www.modernizingforeignaid.net), in which the UAA is a principal, is turning its attention both to the implementation of the reforms announced in the QDDR and PSD 7 (The Presidential Study Directive on Global Development – see foreign aid reform on the UAA website) and to the new Congress and its efforts to reduce government spending. All these issues can be followed on your usaidalumni.org website!

And finally, some things never change: A recent World Public Opinion poll asked Americans how much they thought was spent on foreign aid and how much they thought should be spent. This question was first asked 15 years ago, and the overestimation of foreign aid in the federal budget has actually increased over time. On average, Americans now think that 25% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid; as for the amount that they believe should be spent on foreign aid, the median response was 10 percent. For more information on this latest survey, see: http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brunitedstatescanadara/670.php