Former USAID Director Natsios Outlines the Future on Foreign Aid



By Aurora Matthews

On Thurs. March 15, Andrew Natsios, former director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), discussed the past and future of U.S. foreign aid, and the role of development in an uncertain world.  Natsios’ lecture was presented by the Professor Saul M. Katz Internal Lectureship on Economic and Social Development.

“We cannot save the world through foreign aid, but we can absolutely improve it through development,” said Natsios.  “The best changes are incremental.  We must have a long-term perspective.” 

Natsios explained in his lecture to a large audience on Thursday that there are three main types of foreign aid: charitable aid, grassroots development and state building.  His extensive experience working in international development has taught him that in order to successfully implement change through aid there needs to be local leaders willing to take risks as well as legitimate institutions.  “You can have a decentralized system, but you must have institutions to mediate conflict in an orderly way,” said Natsios. “Institution building must be part of development.”

Natsios sees the future of foreign aid following the new direction of public and private alliances.  “In the 1970’s, 70 percent of aid from the U.S. came from the public, but in 2007 only nine percent of capital flow was from the public sector.  The other 91 percent was from the private sector,” said Natsios.  “This is the future of foreign aid.”  He highlighted USAID’s Global Development Alliance model, a $9 billion program that is designed to deliver aid to developing countries through public-private partnerships, and the Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance.  

Natsios served as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development from May 2001 to January 2006 and also served as the Special Envoy to Sudan.  He also was vice president of World Vision U.S., the largest faith-based NGO in the world from 1993 to 1998.  Natsios is currently a is Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute.  He is also the author of three books: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1997), The Great North Korean Famine (2001), Sudan, South Sudan, and Darfur:  What Everyone Needs to Know (2012).

The Katz Lecture was established in 1994 by one of GSPIA’s founding faculty members, Dr. Saul M. Katz.  During much of Dr. Katz’s tenure at GSPIA he served as the Director of Programs in Economic and Social Development (now the Masters in International Development Degree) and was credited with putting to use 20 years of government and Army experience to prepare international students in development policies that would foster growth and self-sufficiency.  Past speakers of the Katz Lecture Series include: Dr. Dipak K. Gupta, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science at San Diego State University; Steve McDonald, director of the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and Elinor Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

This lecture was presented by the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), the Ford Institute for Human Security, and International Orthodox Christian Charities and is endowed by the Saul M. Katz Lectureship on Social and Economic Development.

Click here, to watch the lecture.

To learn more about Andrew Natsios' views on the future of foreign aid, you may read:

Arrested Development: Making Aid an Effective Foreign Policy Tool

Private Alliances Transform Aid

Presentation to Society for International Development


Sabina Deitrick Explores the State of Digital Governance in Pennsylvania

GSPIA associate professor Sabina Deitrick’s recent editorial in PennLive examines the current trends in digital governance among Pennsylvania’s municipalities. In the article, Deitrick explains how students in her capstone seminar on planning and governance conducted a survey of Pennsylvania municipalities to assess the state of digital governance in the Commonwealth.  The students examined how local governments in Pennsylvania incorporated digital technologies into their governance structures and then explored the barriers municipalities face in making the transition from paper to digital.

Jeremy Weber Wins “Outstanding Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy Article”

GSPIA assistant professor Jeremy Weber’s paper “Crop Prices, Agricultural Revenues, and the Rural Economy” was selected as the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association’s Outstanding Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy Article. The paper explores the popular claim that federal farm subsidies are warranted because agriculture acts as the backbone of the rural economy.  

GSPIA alumni Chad Serena (PhD '10), a political scientist, and Colin Clarke (PhD, '12), an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation, recently produced two editorials published by Reuters.  In their article, “A new kind of battlefield awaits the U.S. military – megacities,” they write on the growing trend of warfare in cities, especially in cities with a population of ten million or greater, and explore the unique challenges that urban combat presents.  They argue that in order to adapt to new battlefields and defeat violent non-state actors while protecting civilians, improvements in monitoring, collecting, and interpreting data are imperative.

Please join Dean John Keeler for a GSPIA alumni reception in Washington, DC on Monday June 27th from 5:30pm-7:00pm to be held at the DC office of Honeywell (101 Constitution Avenue, Suite 500W). If you haven’t already done so, click here to RSVP by June 20th.

The Goldilocks of gender data: Searching for “just right” on women in public institutions

The United Nations, in establishing its 2016 Sustainable Development Goals, considered inclusive governance a core component of peaceful and just societies, and called for more monitoring of women’s participation in public institutions.  GSPIA’s own Dr. Müge Finkel, Assistant Professor of International Development and Dr. Melanie Hughes, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, answered the call to lead an interdisciplinary group of graduate students in the search for data.  

Ali Bonebrake (MPA’99) Encourages Grads to Leave Comfort Zone and Explore Specialization

On Wednesday, April 27, 2016, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs held its annual Graduation Luncheon to commemorate the graduating class of 2016.  Alison ‘Ali’ Bonebrake acted as the keynote speaker at the luncheon, where she shared her experience of beginning her career at the Social Security Administration (SSA), and eventually acting as a key player in the passing of the Affordable Care Act.  “If you would have told me that the highlight of my career would be working on enacting health care reform, I would have thought you were crazy,” she recalls. “And yet, every day I come into my office and see a copy of the Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama, hanging on my wall.”

Dean Keeler Gives Talk at Nanjing University

On May 4 Dean Keeler visited Nanjing University to meet with faculty and students from the School of Government and the School of the Environment and to give a presentation of his research on the politics of shale gas in France and the United Kingdom.  Interest in the shale gas topic has increased substantially in China since the agreement in March 2016 between BP and the China National Petroleum Corporation for collaborative exploration and production of shale gas in the Sichuan Basin.

Sabina Deitrick Discusses Pennsylvania’s Role in Presidential Election

Sabina Deitrick, GSPIA faculty member and co-director of the Urban and Regional Analysis Program at the University Center for Social and Urban research at the University of Pittsburgh was recently featured in a segment of NPR on the show Hear and Now with Jeremy Hobson.  She discussed the history of Pennsylvania and its influence on the 2016 Presidential election.  

New Student Orientation

GSPIA Alumni/Student Homecoming Reception
Friday, October 7, 2016
6-8 pm
Alumni Hall, Fifth Floor, 4227 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15260

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
3601 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260