At the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), we believe we can achieve more when we join forces with others. In recent years, we have made a concerted effort to expand and deepen our partnerships across the board, including with the university community here in the United States and institutions of higher learning across the globe. Universities bring research, technology and innovation to bear on development challenges. They serve as hubs for knowledge sharing and are uniquely positioned to leverage funds, broker public-private partnerships, and facilitate program implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. In every sector and every region of the world, our partnerships with universities are paying dividends that can be measured in goals met, dollars saved and lives changed.

To describe these critical partnerships, I am pleased to share with you the USAID Title XII Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. This report details our coordinated effort to collaborate with Title XII universities, the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) and other important partners to promote smart investments in international development.

In FY 2015, USAID significantly increased funding to Title XII universities operating in Feed the Future and USAID partner countries. In total, we provided more than $558 million to Title XII institutions, which accounts for approximately 89 percent of all USAID awards made to higher education institutions globally. Our broad portfolio of investments includes support for long-term degree training, leadership and professional development for Africans, and agricultural research. For example, in FY 2015 U.S. universities trained more than 684 students with support from USAID and Feed the Future. We also awarded two new university-led Feed the Future Innovation Labs, joined with the Department of State to launch new Regional Leadership Centers for young people in Africa and engaged research scientists at Title XII universities through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program. We have also taken steps to make our engagement with universities more strategic, appointing USAID’s first Higher Education Coordinator, establishing a working group on higher education strategy development, and launching a new mechanism for tapping into the academic and technical expertise of the university community.

The members of BIFAD have been central to our collaboration with Title XII partners. The Board has advised us on ways to further university engagement, increase agricultural research capacity, promote youth engagement, and integrate human and institutional capacity development into USAID programming in food, agriculture and beyond. Throughout FY 2015, BIFAD convened the public and global community of development professionals through their public sessions, meetings with congressional offices and staff and a virtual consultation with stakeholders from over 22 countries. BIFAD’s counsel on university engagement continues to strengthen USAID and enhance our impact on multiple fronts.

As we move into a transition year in 2016, we look forward to deepening our collaboration with Title XII universities and the global academic community to leverage the creative spirit, ingenuity, skill and expertise of these institutions. These partnerships with the higher education community will continue to be vital to our ongoing efforts to advance dignity and prosperity around the world.

Monday, September 19, 2016 - 12:15pm