Today, several global trends have aligned, giving us an unprecedented opportunity to bend the curve of development progress. Rapid technological change, growing private sector engagement and the spread of democracy are providing new opportunities to accelerate growth, strengthen governance and attend to human needs.
But one trend in particular stands above them all: the growth of people interested in development. A generation ago, if someone wanted to assemble the development community, they wouldn’t have to look far beyond the walls of USAID. Today, as we celebrate 50 years as an Agency, our talented staff has been joined by a rapidly growing community, with leaders from all walks of life coming together to focus on the challenges of the developing world.
Throughout my first year as Administrator, I spoke to several of these modern development leaders: CEOs like Indra Nooyi of Pepsico, faith-based leaders like Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, and philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
But the most important members of this broader community are people just like you. From the college students who crowd into oversubscribed development and global health courses on every campus, to the entrepreneurs who invent new technologies for the developing world, to the baby boomers forgoing their retirement to volunteer abroad, millions of Americans have been inspired by the great generational challenge to expand the reach of freedom, prosperity and opportunity to all people.
Throughout 2011, I look forward to connecting directly with you to share exactly how USAID— and your investments—are meeting this challenge.