The Senate is back in session and Wednesday is going to be a packed to the gills day with confirmation hearings via video conference for nine of President Biden’s nominees for ambassadorial posts as well as top jobs in Foggy Bottom and USAID.
It is with great sadness that on behalf of the USAID family I relay the passing of Tresja Denysenko, a tireless disaster response expert with our Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Tresja passed away unexpectedly on August 19, 2021, while serving on USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) responding to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. I want to express my heartfelt condolences to Tresja’s family, friends, and colleagues.
Tresja first joined USAID in 2005, and during her career she responded to many humanitarian emergencies, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the West Africa Ebola outbreak, the Venezuela regional crisis, and the conflicts in South Sudan and the Tigray region of Ethiopia. In all of her postings, she played a critical role in providing aid to the world’s most deprived and marginalized people. In addition to her work on disaster responses, Tresja was instrumental in establishing and refining the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance’s processes for delivering aid into the hands of those most in need. Tresja was also an inspiring mentor, training staff across the Bureau on how to deliver aid quickly and appropriately to save lives in some of the world’s most complex and dire humanitarian crises. Tresja’s legacy will live on in USAID through the work of the many colleagues who learned from her and who now occupy a wide range of roles across the Agency.
Originally from Minnesota, Tresja is survived by her husband and daughter, as well as her mother and stepfather. She is remembered as a beloved wife, mother, daughter, and dear friend. Tresja’s kindness and heartfelt passion for providing humanitarian assistance and improving the lives of people in need touched many communities around the world and here at home.
We held a memorial for revered @USAID colleague Tresja Denysenko, who passed away serving on the DART. Tresja is irreplaceable on this tight-knit team. Amid the heartbreak, DART commits to continuing her work and honoring her legacy as a tireless humanitarian. @USAIDSavesLives pic.twitter.com/kkvskz4rbC
— U.S. Embassy Haiti (@USEmbassyHaiti) August 27, 2021
The St. Paul Fire Department will be honoring Disaster Relief Specialist Tresja Denysenko Wednesday as her body returns home to Minnesota after she died while helping with the disaster response in Haiti. https://t.co/OSXdRS14nr
— KSTP (@KSTP) August 25, 2021
We are grateful to have been able to assist with providing honors as the body of Tresja Denysenko was returned home to Minnesota today. The disaster response expert died unexpectedly while helping in Haiti following the devastating earthquake. @USAID pic.twitter.com/7cD5x2svRx
— Saint Paul Fire Dept (@StPaulFireDept) August 26, 2021
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) August 20, 2021
.@USAID is deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Tresja Denysenko, a revered member of our Haiti disaster response team. Long a force in our humanitarian work, she was a beloved wife, mother, friend & mentor. My statement on this devastating loss: https://t.co/FbUncsw0Sv
— Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) August 19, 2021
— USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (@USAIDSavesLives) August 14, 2021
Les équipages aériens de @USCG aident le personnel médical à transporter les patients grièvement blessés de l'hélicoptère jusqu'aux Services Médicaux d'Urgence (EMS), préparés en conséquence à Port-au-Prince #Haiti. cc @USAIDSavesLives @USAID_Haiti @Southcom https://t.co/Tp965Ohi05
— U.S. Embassy Haiti (@USEmbassyHaiti) August 15, 2021
🇭🇹 HAITI UPDATE: the search and rescue team (@ffxfirerescue & @VATF1) has arrived in Haiti to help search for survivors. The team includes 65 people, 4 canines + 52K pounds of tools & equipment. They’ll be joining our USAID disaster response team already on the ground. pic.twitter.com/Ufx9dcs9az
— USAID (@USAID) August 16, 2021
At the request of the Gov. of Haiti, @USAID is deploying an urban search and rescue team to join the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team that was mobilized to lead the U.S. Gov.’s response efforts to the earthquake that struck #Haiti. Read more here: https://t.co/yr0o1ldDn9
— USAID Haiti (@USAID_Haiti) August 16, 2021
Here, some places you can donate to to help those in Haiti https://t.co/zXMj0llLAX
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) August 17, 2021
Amy Searight, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia, United States Agency for International Development
Amy Searight is currently Senior Associate for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she previously served as Senior Advisor and Director of the Southeast Asia Program. Prior to joining CSIS, Amy served in the Obama-Biden Administration. From 2014-2016 she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, and from 2012-2014 she served Principal Director for East Asia Security in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In 2016 she was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. Before the Pentagon, Searight served as Senior Advisor for Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development for two years.
Earlier in her career, she worked in the State Department as an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as Special Economic Advisor for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and on the Policy Planning Staff. She was assistant professor of political science at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University and at Northwestern University. A native of New Jersey, she received her B.A. in political economy from Williams College, and an M.A. in East Asian Studies and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University.
.@POTUS has nominated Dr. Amy Searight as USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia. Amy has advanced US policy on the region at @DeptofDefense, @StateDept & @USAID. From our work in Afghanistan & India to Pacific Island nations, her leadership & experience will be critical assets. pic.twitter.com/1HmbBf3mcu
— Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) July 30, 2021
— Demian Smith (@DemianSmith) March 28, 2018
— U.S. Embassy Colombo (@USEmbSL) December 21, 2015
Nicole Angarella, Nominee for Inspector General, United States Agency for International Development
Nicole Angarella serves as the general counsel to the USAID Inspector General. In that position, Ms. Angarella leads a team of attorneys and specialists that provides independent legal counsel to the Inspector General, deputy inspector general, senior managers, and staff. Her office provides comprehensive legal advice, research, and guidance to the Offices of Audit, Investigations, and Management within the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Her office also updates the Inspector General and staff on legal developments and represents OIG in Federal and administrative litigation.
Prior to her appointment as general counsel, Ms. Angarella served as a senior legal counsel at USAID OIG and at the Department of Transportation’s OIG. Ms. Angarella has spent her entire federal career in the Inspector General community. She is Chair of the Council of Counsels to the Inspectors General. Before joining the U.S. Government, she worked as an associate attorney in the General Litigation & White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group at Cozen O’Connor, an international law firm representing corporate and individual clients in Federal investigations and complex criminal and civil matters. She also worked as an associate attorney specializing in employment and labor relations law at a law firm in Washington, DC. Ms. Angarella has a B.A. in political science from the University of Mary Washington and a law degree from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America. Ms. Angarella is a member of both the Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar.
Atul Gawande, Nominee for Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health, United States Agency for International Development
Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, is the Cyndy and John Fish Distinguished Professor of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Gawande is also founder and chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. During the coronavirus pandemic, he co-founded CIC Health, which operates COVID-19 testing and vaccination nationally, and served as a member of the Biden transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. From 2018 to 2020, he was CEO of Haven, the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase health care venture. He previously served as a senior advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration.
In addition, Atul has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1998 and written four New York Times best-selling books: Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto, and Being Mortal. He is the winner of two National Magazine Awards, AcademyHealth’s Impact Award for highest research impact on health care, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Award for writing about science.
Exciting to see that #RhodesScholar Dr @Atul_Gawande (Ohio & @BalliolOxford 1987) has been nominated by @POTUS to lead global health development at @USAID, especially at such an important time ⬇️https://t.co/dfSaAgYsQa https://t.co/EgGQsbvJz7
— Rhodes Trust (@rhodes_trust) July 19, 2021
Global health folks are pleased someone of @Atul_Gawande's stature has been lured to @USAID. But working in a bureaucracy isn't easy & his past experience may not prepare him for what's ahead, they caution. 🔒https://t.co/SflEoupBlI
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) July 19, 2021
.@POTUS nominates @Atul_Gawande as @USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health (@USAIDGH). Atul is an esteemed surgeon, public health expert, founder of @SaferSurgery, and a brilliant writer. His experience and vision can offer so much to USAID’s vital global health work. pic.twitter.com/aECUKSinD6
— Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) July 13, 2021
Sharon L. Cromer, Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of The Gambia
Sharon L. Cromer, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Career Minister, currently serves as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director at the U.S. Embassy, Accra, Ghana. Previously she was the USAID Mission Director at the U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and she has also been USAID Mission Director at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. In addition, Cromer also had an earlier assignment in Accra as Mission Director. In Washington, Cromer served as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator and Acting Assistant Administrator in the Africa Bureau of USAID and also as the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the USAID Management Bureau. Among her other assignments, Cromer was first a Supervisory Contracting Officer, and then the USAID Deputy Mission Director, at the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia. Early in her career, Cromer served as a Contracting Officer in Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Pakistan. Cromer earned her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and her J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law School.
On Feb 21, Ghana’s Minister of Education, Dr. Opoku Prempeh and USAID/Ghana Mission Director Sharon Cromer launched the end-line impact evaluation report for #USAID's Early Grade Reading program. https://t.co/brPW8gEuik pic.twitter.com/AQLy2AihO2
— U.S. Embassy Ghana (@USEmbassyGhana) February 27, 2020
Last week Belarus informed us it is imposing new limits on American diplomats at the @USEmbBy. Unfortunately, the Belarusian authorities have brought our relationship to this point through relentless & intensifying repression against their own citizens https://t.co/gYU91C2h3v pic.twitter.com/7md0Ee9RJs
— U.S. Mission to OSCE (@usosce) June 13, 2021
Fond farewell from U.S. diplomats who have been compelled by the regime to depart #Belarus. These outstanding people cared deeply about its future and worked to support Belarusians' aspirations for a democracy. Those remaining will continue this vital work. #StandwithBelarus pic.twitter.com/BfzWTrX7o5
— U.S. Embassy Minsk (@USEmbBy) June 12, 2021
“I underscored the strong bipartisan commitment… for holding the Lukashenka regime accountable for its ongoing human rights violations, the horrific treatment and torture of political prisoners…”
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) June 11, 2021
The United States, in coordination with allies, will impose new sanctions on Belarus "soon," US Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher said https://t.co/BSrZCqwGiq
— CNN International (@cnni) June 10, 2021
Despite latest action by the Govt of Belarus, @USAID programs will remain active. We continue to stand by the people of Belarus and remain committed to a partnership that generates new opportunities for citizens to live with dignity and self-determination.https://t.co/7dXgN0oWKm
— Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) June 4, 2021
Actions have consequences. As a result of the Lukashenka regime's continued disregard for human rights, the U.S. has terminated authorization for business dealings with nine Belarusian state-owned enterprises. The regime's escalation of repressive tactics will not go unanswered. https://t.co/xodrJSgSNb
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 3, 2021
Held – Grievant established by a preponderance of evidence that the Department of State (“Department” or “agency”) committed grievable errors when it miscalculated her length of creditable federal service and erroneously determined that her 2015-2016 employment with the U.S. African Development Foundation (“USADF”) was not federal service.
Case Summary –
Grievant was employed intermittently by the federal government from 1980 to 2016. In July 1984, grievant, previously a Civil Service (“CS”) employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development (“USAID”), converted to the Foreign Service (“FS”). From July 22, 1984 through at least February 24, 1988, USAID’s records show her as a participant in the Foreign Service Retirement and Disability System (“FSRDS”), paying the required seven percent (7%) mandatory employee contribution, receiving no credits under the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (“OASDI”) program, and not contributing to the Thrift Savings Plan (“TSP”). Upon applying for a pension, however, she was informed by the Department that she was four days short of the minimum five years required to qualify for an annuity.
Grievant asserted that she initially planned to resign from USAID on February 24, 1988, but that she decided to remain at post until March 11, 1988, in the FS and a participant in the FSRDS for those 15 days. She submitted two documents to verify her employment end date of March 11, 1988: a USAID-generated Individual Pay and Leave Record that showed employment by USAID for five pay periods in 1988 and a 1988 State Department FSRDS Participant Record from the Department. Both of those documents showed retirement payroll deductions through March 11, 1988. Grievant also complained that the Department did not consider her 2015-2016 employment with the USADF, a U.S. government agency, as federal service.
The Department denied that grievant was employed by USAID from February 25 to March 11, 1988. The Department relied on a USAID SF-50 form stating that grievant’s retirement date was February 24, 1988. The Department argued that its practice was to use an SF-50 as the only primary evidence available to verify creditable service, rejecting grievant’s documents as less persuasive secondary evidence. The Department offered no explanation for omitting grievant’s USADF employment from the calculation of her federal service.
The Board found that the State Department FSRDS Participant Record was a primary source of verification, that it was supported by the USAID-generated Individual Pay and Leave Record and was a more reliable record than the conflicting SF-50 form. The Board noted errors in the SF-50 form and prior SF-50s of grievant. Accordingly, the Board found that grievant proved by a preponderance of evidence that her creditable federal service at USAID ended on March 11, 1988. The Board also found that grievant was in federal service for the 2015-2016 period, as evidenced by SF-50s prepared by USADF.
The Board directed the Department to recommend an appropriate retirement annuity consistent with this decision and present to grievant for her consideration. The parties were ordered to report the Department’s recommendation of an annuity and grievant’s response to the Board within 30 days of this decision. The Board retains jurisdiction of the case.
Paloma Adams-Allen, Nominee for Deputy Administrator for Management and Resources, United States Agency for International Development
Paloma Adams-Allen joined the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), a US agency supporting community-led development in Latin America and the Caribbean, in April 2017 as president and chief executive officer. Prior to joining the IAF, Adams-Allen was Sr. Director for global private sector partnerships initiatives at the international NGO, Winrock International. Before that, she served as deputy assistant administrator for the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Bureau. From 2010 to 2014, Adams-Allen served as Senior Adviser, during which she led the LAC Bureau’s public-private partnerships for development practice. She also spent a decade at the Organization of American States (OAS) in several hemispheric development policy, programming, and leadership roles. Early in her career she did short stints at the international law firm Coudert Brothers, and the advocacy organization Caribbean-Central American Action. Adams-Allen, who was born in Jamaica, spent her childhood between rural Jamaica and rural New England in the U.S. She holds a bachelor’s degree in development studies and African American studies from Brown University, a master’s in international affairs from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. An avid runner and gardener, Adams-Allen lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, their puppy, and two awesome daughters.
Great discussion yesterday at #OAS! "Partnerships are at the core of the IAF model, and supporting self-help efforts is part of our mandate. We have partnerships with grantees in 20 #LatAm countries!" –CEO Paloma Adams-Allen pic.twitter.com/ZzUa9zxUum
— Inter-American Foundation (@IAFgrassroots) September 21, 2018
Isobel Coleman, Nominee for Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming, United States Agency for International Development
Ambassador Isobel Coleman is a foreign policy and global development expert with more than 25 years of experience working in government, the private sector and non-profits. Most recently, she served on the Biden Transition Team, leading the review of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. From 2014-2017, she was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Management, Reform and Special Political Affairs. During that time, she represented the United States in the UN General Assembly on budgetary matters and in the UN Security Council on Africa and peacekeeping issues. From 2018-2020, she was the Chief Operating Officer of GiveDirectly, an international non-profit tackling poverty by providing unconditional cash transfers to the extreme poor.
Previously, Dr. Coleman spent more than a decade as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations where she directed CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy program and wrote extensively about global development and the advantages of women’s empowerment. Her writings have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is the author and co-author of numerous books including Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions (Council on Foreign Relations, 2013), and Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East (Random House, 2010). She graduated from Princeton University and earned MPhil and DPhil degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, which she attended on a Marshall Scholarship. She started her career at McKinsey & Co. in New York, becoming a partner in the firm’s financial institutions group.
There's a "catastrophic loophole” in convicting UN peacekeepers for sex offenses, says Isobel Coleman, former U.S. ambassador to the UN for management and reform. #frontlinePBS pic.twitter.com/Zdt5BmeLO3
— FRONTLINE (@frontlinepbs) July 25, 2018