A History of USAID: John Norris and Wade Warren on the CGD Podcast

December 13, 2021

USAID celebrated its 60th birthday last month—an appropriate moment for reflection on the agency’s successes (and blunders) and the issues and politics that have shaped the agency we see today.

John Norris, deputy director for policy and strategic insights at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently released a new book that traces these issues over six decades. The book, titled The Enduring Struggle: The History of the US Agency for International Development and America’s Uneasy Transformation of the World, captures insights and stories from the people who guided the agency along the way. One of these people is Wade Warren, chief strategy officer for international development at Deloitte Consulting, who previously spent nearly 20 years at USAID, including in the role of acting administrator.

For this episode of the CGD Podcast, I invited John and Wade to join me in a conversation about the book—and the future of USAID. Together we discuss USAID’s internal balancing act between development and geostrategic mandates, structural vs. sectorally-focused initiatives, and the challenges USAID will face in its next decades. 


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