Two MFAN Principals, Oxfam American President Ray Offenheiser and former USAID Administrator Brian Atwood, were featured on NPR’s All Things Considered in a story entitled “Experts Concerned by Leaderless USAID.” In the piece, by diplomatic reporter Michele Kelemen, Offenheiser and Atwood stress the need for a new USAID Administrator to be named immediately, given the new prominence of development in U.S. foreign policy and the momentum behind foreign assistance reform.
Listen to the piece here. Key quotes below:
Experts Concerned by Leaderless USAID (August 27, 2009)
Mr. RAYMOND OFFENHEISER (President, Oxfam America): I think what really worries us is that if we don’t get that leader in place pretty soon, and I guess we feel there’s a real urgency to it, that things are going to begin moving forward. There’s just an enormous amount of momentum behind this reform process.
OFFENHEISER: The State Department has advanced this quadrennial diplomacy development review under Secretary Clinton that’s ambitious and potentially visionary, but there isn’t a development voice at the table presently and that’s what we’re all concerned about.
Ms. ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER (Co-chair, State Department Quadrennial Review): Development and diplomacy are equal pillars of foreign policy. That’s the Secretary’s premise, and I certainly hope it’ll be one of her legacies that, actually, when we think about foreign policy, we think about solving problems from the top down, negotiating agreements with governments and working with other governments. But we also think about tackling problems from the bottom up.
Mr. BRIAN ATWOOD (Dean, Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota): But, you know, all of those people are also really wrapped up in the crises of the moment, the diplomatic side of the house. And so, it’s very, very difficult without not just one political appointee or a presidential appointee as the head of AID, but there are 13 other positions that should be filled to really lead that agency to where it needs to be. And it really is a shadow of what it was.
ATWOOD: It’s a mess. It’s not fair to the taxpayer, but I think more importantly, it’s not fair to the poor of the world that we’re not doing our bit.