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United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • By: Allan S. Boyce
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

The passage of the Foreign Assistance Act by Congress in 1961 assembled many disparate foreign aid programs under one umbrella, and required their control be assigned to a single entity. Shortly thereafter, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order establishing the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as the governmental agent to provide economic and developmental assistance around the globe.

Although USAID's purpose has remained consistent over the years, its mission, goals, organization, and functions have fluctuated and evolved over time. Additionally, despite its idealistic inception, the history of USAID has not been without controversy.

A statutorily independent agency since 1999, USAID receives policy guidance from the Department of State (DOS). The USAID administrator also has dual roles as the DOS director of foreign assistance. ...

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