Development Community Warmly Welcomes Gayle Smith as USAID Administrator

Seven months after her nomination, the Senate confirmed MFAN Co-Founder Gayle Smith as the next USAID Administrator on Monday with a vote of 79-7. The long-awaited confirmation vote was met with enthusiasm from our network. See below for a round-up of statements and blogs from MFAN partners welcoming Gayle Smith to her new post:

George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at Brookings: “We know that Gayle is eager to hit the ground running and we look forward to working closely with her to continue to strengthen the capacity of USAID to deliver results.”

Carolyn Miles, MFAN Co-Chair and President and CEO of Save the Children: “At a time when we are responding to major crises in places like Syria and Yemen, having a confirmed USAID Administrator could not be more urgent. While it has been disappointing that this nomination was held up for this long, putting those in need at risk, we are excited to now be moving ahead with such a strong leader.”

Connie Veillette, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Lugar Center: “Gayle Smith understands the importance of effective foreign aid and we fully expect her to speed up the momentum around institutionalizing key reforms, such as those included in the USAID Forward agenda and USAID’s Vision for Ending Extreme Poverty.”

Senator Richard G. Lugar (Ret.) of The Lugar Center: “I was extremely pleased to learn that the U.S. Senate has voted to confirm Gayle Smith as the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.  At this time of pressing global challenges including terrorism, conflict states and the largest number of displaced refugees since World War II, U.S. leadership in humanitarian, governance, global hunger, and economic development is critical.  With extensive expertise in development both through her work in Africa and as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the National Security Council focusing on these issues, Smith is no doubt eminently qualified to lead USAID, and I expect she will be able to take the leadership reins without hesitation.”

David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World: “We wholeheartedly welcome the Senate’s confirmation of Gayle Smith as the new administrator of USAID. This critical position has been vacant for much too long. Though the world is making unprecedented progress against hunger and poverty, the humanitarian crises we continue to face demand a leader at USAID with the experience and abilities of Ms. Smith. She has been a champion for those impacted by poverty and hunger, and we are eager to continue to work with her to ensure American leadership to achieve an end to world hunger by 2030.”

Ray Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America: “Oxfam America wholeheartedly welcomes Gayle Smith as USAID Administrator. Ms. Smith is an unequivocal champion of those facing poverty and injustice. We look forward to working with Ms. Smith to continue the modernization efforts afoot at USAID.  Smith’s packed agenda will include locking in reform efforts to put developing countries in the lead of their own development, delivering and communicating tangible results on key US priorities like Feed the Future and Power Africa, and getting ahead of recurrent humanitarian crisis by advancing USAID’s effort to promote resilience and emergency preparedness.”

Liz Schrayer, President and CEO of USGLC: “I commend the Senate for confirming Gayle Smith to be the next Administrator of USAID. I look forward to working with her to continue the game-changing transformations at USAID that are critical to advancing America’s economic and security interests – and delivering results to American taxpayers. Never before has the world seen so many humanitarian crises at one time. These challenges, coupled with the enormous opportunities to advance America’s interests throughout the world, require strong and effective leadership at USAID.”

Casey Dunning, Senior Policy Analyst at CGD: “Despite the rapidly expiring clock on this administration, filling USAID’s top post is critical for both the agency and for US leadership in global crises and development efforts abroad. The Syrian refugee crisis shows no sign of abating, just last week Liberia found new Ebola cases, and 700 million people still live on less than $1.25 each day. In all of these challenges (among many others), USAID is the leading US actor for response, prevention, and results.”

Gregory Adams, Director of Aid Effectiveness at Oxfam:  “After a long wait, Gayle Smith was finally confirmed Monday as the new USAID Administrator by the Senate.  This means the United States will finally have a new top development official back at work in charge of USAID.  And none too soon.  Since the beginning of this century, American presidents have viewed the US development program as an indispensable tool of American foreign policy. And a vacancy at the top of USAID has meant America was punching far below its weight as the world confronts serious challenges.”

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