USAID Honored With Two Service to America Medal Finalists

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, the Partnership for Public Service announced that two individuals and a team from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have been chosen as finalists for the 2009 National Security and International Affairs Service to America Medals, also known as "Sammies."

The Partnership for Public Service received nominations for nearly 400 deserving federal employees this year. The Partnership for Public Service announced approximately 30 finalists during Public Service Recognition Week, the first week of May. They will announce the eight award recipients on September 23rd at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Karen Turner and the Global Development Commons team are recognized for leading USAID's first-ever "crowdsourcing" initiative- the USAID Development 2.0 Challenge-- to pool ideas from the public to develop solutions to international challenges such as famine and public education. This open, global competition designed to spur innovative ideas for using mobile technology to improve the way international development is done. In the process, the team began a quiet revolution, still in its infancy but one that could represent a significant sea change.

The USAID Development 2.0 Challenge, which received 115 submissions, reached out to nontraditional sources-students, budding entrepreneurs all over the world, and anyone with a good idea-and asked them to submit their ideas for harnessing the power of mobile devices to solve an important problem of their choosing in developing nations. To learn more about the USAID Development 2.0 Challenge and USAID's Global Development Commons, visit

USAID's second finalist for the Service to America Medal is Amy Meyer. Meyer runs USAID's economic growth program in Pakistan and she is charged with leading the United States' effort to bring economic growth to Pakistan. Meyer, who is fluent in Urdu, Pakistan's predominant language, arrived in Pakistan in 2006. With only one staff member, Meyer began to develop a strategy to tackle the numerous challenges facing that country which include issues ranging from agriculture to energy and entrepreneurship. During the time she has been in Pakistan, USAID has increased its annual budget for Pakistan programs from $7 million to $200 million.

The eighth annual Sammies awards recognize the nominees' remarkable accomplishments, innovation and dedication to public service. The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.

Since the creation of the award in 2002, USAID has been honored with 3 winners:

2005 - Barbara Turner was honored with the Career Achievement Medal for her many achievements during her 40-year career at USAID. She worked her way up to the highest levels at USAID, where she played a critical role in the Agency's work in Egypt, the former Soviet Union, Bosnia and multiple other countries.

2006 - Mark Ward, former Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Asia and the Near East bureau, received the International Affairs Medal for his leadership of the U.S. recovery and reconstruction efforts after the Asia Tsunami in 2004 and the South Asia earthquake of 2005.

2008 - Richard Greene, Director, USAID Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition received the Federal Employee of the Year award for the achievement of designing and launching the President's Malaria Initiative, which has provided potentially life-saving services to more than 25 million vulnerable people.

To learn more about USAID and its programs, please visit