To the MFAN Community,
Throughout my career I have worked with a number of individuals who I would call leaders in the true sense of the word. To lead is to “guide on a way, especially by going in advance.” The international affairs community is fortunate to be led by some impressive individuals willing to guide us toward more effective, results-oriented foreign policy.
Last month, MFAN lost two impressive and courageous leaders in our community. On April 28, Senator Richard Lugar, a leader in U.S. foreign policy, a six-term Senator, a champion for development, and an Honorary MFAN Co-Chair passed away at age 87. Numerous columns and media coverage point out the steady, determined, and particularly bipartisan leadership of Senator Lugar. His principled knowledge base and highest regard for American security and well-being guided his work in American diplomacy and underpinned his strong support for U.S. leadership in development.
Senator Lugar’s passing comes only shortly after the development community learned of the loss of Connie Veillette, former MFAN Co-Chair and Executive Committee member and Senior Fellow at the Lugar Center. Connie committed five years to serving as a Co-Chair of MFAN and was instrumental in strengthening and sharpening the coalition’s focus around U.S. aid effectiveness through thoughtful leadership and determined engagement.
Connie was instrumental in bringing people together across the political spectrum. Her ability to facilitate debate and find common ground moved – truly led – action on many issues that faced the development and international affairs community. Connie contributed to our field in countless ways and her determined engagement inspired us to lead with purpose. In addition to being an activist in our community, Connie was a friend, mother, and confidant to many. Her family will host a celebration of Connie’s life on Friday, May 17 at 3:30 p.m. at the Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. N.W., Washington, DC.
Integrity, agility, and a sense of purpose are characteristics that these two shared and are no doubt crucial features for having impact. They both also embodied the bipartisan cooperation, critical thinking, and desire for improving the world that MFAN was founded upon. Mostly, their examples of how they conducted their professional and personal lives should inspire us all to strive for thoughtful and determined leadership.
Interim Executive Director