This week, CGD took another step forward in putting the “do” in our mission of being a “think and do tank.” For a number of years, we have hosted policymakers as visiting fellows at the center, a great program that has helped to ground our work in the realities of policymaking. (Of course, as a visiting fellow alumnus, I may be a bit biased!). Now, we are turning this program on its head and sending one of our own, Casey Dunning, into the policy world under a new CGD-sponsored fellowship. Casey will be joining the policy team at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) this fall as the inaugural CGD Policy Fellow.

One of the realities of policymaking is that government officials rarely have enough time to fully immerse themselves in the work of think tanks like CGD, however finely crafted our proposals might be. By being in residence at USAID, Casey will bring her substantial expertise on US development policy issues to bear on the day to day issues facing the aid agency.

Anyone who has followed CGD’s Rethinking US Development Policy initiative in recent years knows just how central Casey Dunning’s work has been. The good news for the folks at USAID is that everything that Casey has put to paper as an aid reform thinker is also in her head, so when she shows up in a meeting, it will be kind of like having an in-house think tank at the table.

We know that not everyone at USAID can come to a CGD conference or read our latest policy papers, which is why we’re sending a little bit of CGD to USAID. I am confident that Casey’s work at USAID will help make the agency smarter, and I know that it will also continue to make CGD smarter about development policy in practice. Good luck Casey!