Impact Newsletter - December 14, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012
Impact: A weekly look at USAID around the world

Volume Three, Issue Twenty Two

New Opportunities for Higher Education in Burma

His Excellency Than Swe, Myanmar Ambassador to the United States addresses a packed house.
His Excellency Than Swe, Myanmar Ambassador to the United States addresses a packed house.
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah addresses the audience
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah addresses the audience

On Dec. 12, USAID hosted an event to discuss "Opportunities for Higher Education Partnerships in Burma". The event focused on the Higher Education Partnerships, a newly announced USAID funding opportunity that aims to engage with the higher education and private sector communities to support development in Burma. Over 300 people participated in the session, both in person and online. 

Among the speakers were USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah; His Excellency Than Swe, Myanmar Ambassador to the United States; and Joseph Y. Yun, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. A variety of other speakers from USAID, the State Department, and other partners discussed the role of education partnerships in advancing development objectives and specific U.S. sector priorities in Burma.   


Watch a video of the event
Read details of the new APS for Burma

White House Hosts Development Datajam

White House Development Datajam

On  Dec. 10, Nathaniel Manning, USAID's Presidential Innovation Fellow for Open Data, led a "Global Development Data Jam" at the White House. This landmark event brought together over 150 leading data, technology, entrepreneurship and development experts from government, non-profits, the private sector and the broader development community to collaborate on the use of data, and specifically open data, to tackle some of the world most pressing challenges. Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President, and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah discussed how innovative uses of data will allow us to work more effectively and efficiently in the poorest, most isolated areas of the world.  

Stay tuned over the coming weeks, as we share updates from this event and about our existing data projects.

Deputy Administrator Steinberg Visits Latin America

Vice President Roxana Baldetti of Guatemala with USAID Deputy Administrator Steinberg
Vice President Roxana Baldetti of Guatemala with USAID Deputy Administrator Steinberg

Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg and Assistant Administrator for Latin American and the Carribean Mark Feierstein visited Honduras and Guatemala this week and are continuing to Mexico.  They met with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo to discuss food security and crime prevention efforts, specifically focusing on strengthening communities and providing opportunities to at-risk youth. Steinberg announced additional support for the Feed the Future program in Honduras that is expected to move 30,000 families from poverty.  In Guatemala, Vice President Roxana Baldetti talked with Steinberg and Feierstein about corruption, crime and youth.  USAID's crime prevention programs focus on the 20 municipalities that account for half of the country's murders. Programs will now expand to identify youth most likely to join a gang.

Earlier this week, USAID and the Inter-American Dialogue hosted a policy discussion highlighting the findings of Vanderbilt's AmericasBarometer2012 survey. The event included a panel response by Feierstein; Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue; and Sonia Picado, president of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. The most comprehensive study in the Western Hemisphere asked close to 200,000 people about a range of topics including corruption, populism, human rights, democracy, gender roles, skin tones and the role of China. Presentation and video of the event are available for review on our website. 

Harnessing Agricultural Innovation

Administrator Shah recently delivered keynote remarks at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to a group including Directors-General and Board Chairs of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture (CGIAR). USAID has been active in CGIAR, working to advance strategic science and research partnerships with a focus on impact and accountability. In his remarks, Shah talked about USAID's current work harnessing agricultural innovation for transformative impact, the Agency's growing partnership with CGIAR, and his vision on the future role of research in achieving global agriculture and food security goals. 


Watch the Video

Read the Remarks

USAID In the News              

In case you missed it, here are a few great news stories featuring USAID. The Washington Post's Dylan Matthews contributed an op-ed in the Washington Post about the role of research in developing public policy. Matthews highlighted the efforts of international development researchers from MIT, JPAL and IPA that have caught the attention of policymakers. Administrator Shah is quoted noting the important contribution of development research. Also in the Washington Post, Anne-Marie Slaughter highlighted the work of Shah and Assistant Administrator  Steinberg as men who focus on women's empowerment as heads of their agency. Assistant Administrator for Planning Policy and Learning, Susan Reichle published a blog in UK Guardian on Agency reforms to strengthen local institutions and systems. NPR's All Things Considered featured a story on U.S. steps to boost humanitarian and non-lethal aid to Syria. The article featured the Administrator's trip to Turkey's largest refugee camp last week.  Shah and Matthew Nims from Food For Peace were quoted in the article.