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Mission: We partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. More about USAID’s mission and values can be found here.

Background: When the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was created, it brought together several existing foreign assistance organizations and programs. Until then, there had never been a single agency charged with foreign economic development, so with the passage of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 by Congress, U.S. foreign assistance activities underwent a major transformation.

Leading this transformation was President John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy recognized the need to unite development into a single agency responsible for administering aid to foreign countries to promote social and economic development. On November 3, 1961, USAID was born and with it a spirit of progress and innovation. November 3, 2011 marked USAID's 50th Anniversary of providing U.S. foreign development assistance From the American People. Our workforce and USAID's culture continues to serve as a reflection of core American values--values that are rooted in a belief for doing the right thing.

Today, USAID staff work in more than 100 countries around the world with the same overarching goals that President Kennedy outlined 50 years ago – furthering America's foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets while also extending a helping hand to people struggling to make a better life, recover from a disaster or striving to live in a free and democratic country. It is this caring that stands as a hallmark of the United States around the world.

In 2013, USAID launched a new mission statement to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. This work includes steps to diversify the streams of capital that finance development, improve the way progress is measured and invest in force multipliers like science, technology, innovation and partnership to accelerate impact. Even as the Agency continues to respond to a record number of humanitarian disasters and ongoing crises, the work to solidify - and build - on progress continues. As stated in the president’s National Security Strategy, USAID’s work in development joins diplomacy and defense as one of three key pieces of the nation’s foreign policy apparatus. USAID promotes peace and stability by fostering economic growth, protecting human health, providing emergency humanitarian assistance and enhancing democracy in developing countries.

Organizational Chart: The current organizational chart for USAID can be found here. Only a limited number of Fellows can be hosted by USAID each year, so opportunities for placement will not be available in all of these operating units. While USAID has many overseas offices, the Jefferson Science Fellowship is a Washington-DC based Fellowship, with possibility of domestic and international travel.

Working at USAID: USAID benefits from the innovative ideas, energy, and state-of-the-art technical knowledge Fellows bring. Fellows also add to the diversity of our workforce by offering a broad set of expertise that complements USAID’s existing staff profile.Fellowship participants enhance their knowledge of government and global issues and obtain valuable professional experience that enriches their careers and the organizations to which they return.

By working in USAID, Fellows gain practical work experience in humanitarian assistance, economic, and social development, and other technical sectors; the opportunity to engage directly in solving the most challenging and critical development issues of our time; and exposure to a broad network of development institutions and actors. While the specific projects vary by operating unit, staff at USAID work on activities such as project design; monitoring and evaluation; procurement (awarding grants and contracts); program management; technical oversight; building partnerships; planning, executing, and attending events; and reporting and communicating our work.

USAID Offices and Bureaus: 
The following bureaus and offices at the USAID are among those that have offered assignments in the past to Jefferson Fellows. Note that not all offices are always able to host a fellow every year and new offices participate in the program for the first time every cycle.

Office of the Administrator
 - Development Innovation Ventures (A/DIV)

Bureau for Africa
 - Health Team

Bureau for Asia
 - Forest Governance

Bureau for Europe and Eurasia (E&E)
 - Technical Support Office (EE/TSO)

Bureau for Food Security
 - Office of Agricultural Research and Policy (BFS/ARP)
 - Office Markets, Partnerships, and Innovation (BFS/MPI)

Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade
 - Global Water Coordinator Team (EGAT)

Bureau for Global Health
 - Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition

Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
 - Strategy and Program Office (LAC/SPO)
 - Office of Regional Sustainable Development

Bureau for the Middle East
 - Middle East Regional Cooperation Program (MERC)
 - Office of Middle East Affairs

Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning
 - Office of Policy (PPL/P) 

U.S. Global Development Lab
 - Futures Team