USAID at 50: Legacy of Progress and Future of Partnership

Part of the Chevron Forum on Development
  • Friday, Oct 28, 2011

  • When we make smart investments in development, we are doing the work as much for our own benefit as for others around the world, Dr. Rajiv Shah said at a Chevron Forum on Development celebrating USAID’s 50th anniversary. Shah, the current USAID administrator, and four former administrators—Henrietta Fore, Andrew Natsios, Brian Atwood, and Peter McPherson—gathered at CSIS with host Dan Runde, codirector of the CSIS Project on U.S. Leadership in Development, to talk about USAID’s successes and future trajectory.

    Shah highlighted the need to engage corporate and NGO communities; develop better evaluation processes; build a more nimble procurement system; and use technological innovation to coordinate development activities.

    Fore said the challenge of development is to address solvable problems, calling USAID an extraordinary agency that delivers real progress at low cost. 

    Pointing to USAID’s bipartisan support, McPherson called development a human, not a political, issue, and urged a sustained approach to development challenges like food security.

    Arguing for a more decentralized approach to development free from excessive oversight, Natsios said development programs must respond to the unique path each country has chosen.

    Atwood (on video), stressing the need for more centralized authority on development spending, called for a return to the day when USAID had to sign off on development expenditures.


    Dr. Rajiv Shah
    Administrator of USAID, 2010-Present

    Henrietta Fore
    Administrator of USAID, 2007-2009

    Andrew Natsios
    Administrator of USAID, 2001-2006

    Brian Atwood (by video)
    Administrator of USAID, 1993-1999

    Peter McPherson
    Administrator of USAID, 1981-1987

    With Introductory Remarks by:

    John J. Hamre
    President and CEO, CSIS

    Moderated by:

    Dan Runde
    Co-Director, CSIS Project on U.S. Leadership in Development and Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis 

    Friday, October 28, 2011
    B1 Conference Center
    CSIS 1800 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006

    Over the last 50 years, USAID has played an invaluable role in advancing American foreign policy objectives, enabling democracy and development, and reducing poverty worldwide. Since its inception, the agency has undergone an evolution in both its institutional structure and in the nature of its programs. Current Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and former administrators Henrietta Fore, Andrew Natsios, Brian Atwood (by video), and Peter McPherson, will join us to discuss their perspectives on the trajectory of the agency. Each administrator will share the challenges and opportunities unique to their time in office, as each of their tenures was defined by different development needs ranging from health, entrepreneurship, crisis management, democracy promotion, and food security. Please join us to recognize a legacy of progress, learn about a future of partnership, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United States' most prominent development agency.

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