Ethiopia: New USAID Mission Director Sworn In

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The U.S. Agency for International Development announced today the swearing in of Thomas H. Staal as its new Mission Director for Ethiopia. Counselor to the Agency Lisa Chiles presided at the event and administered the oath to Staal.

As director for USAID’s mission in Ethiopia, Staal will oversee a program totaling $800 million annually to help Ethiopians strengthen their democratic institutions, promote economic growth and improve education and health services, including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Ethiopia is one of the largest USAID missions worldwide.

Staal has spent most of his career working overseas in international development. He has worked for USAID since 1988, beginning in Sudan as an emergency program officer. In the early 1990s, he worked in USAID’s regional office in Kenya, managing food aid and doing project development throughout eastern and southern Africa.

From 1996 to 2002, he worked in USAID’s West Bank and Gaza program, providing assistance to the Palestinians, focusing on water supply projects, as well as local community development. He worked in Iraq from 2003-2004, serving as USAID’s regional representative for Southern Iraq, overseeing all USAID projects in that part of the country. He also served a year as the deputy director of the Food For Peace Office in Washington, D.C., and spent a year studying at the National War College. Most recently, Staal was the director of the Iraq Reconstruction Office in Washington, D.C.

Before joining USAID, Staal worked for World Vision International as their representative in Sudan in the mid-1980s. He also worked for ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s in their government relations department.

Staal has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Politics (Middle East focus) from Columbia University, and a M.Sc. in National Strategic Security Studies from the National Defense University. Born to missionary parents, Staal grew up in Iraq and Kuwait and attended boarding school in India.

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Source: U.S. Agency for International Development

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