I am delighted that the United States Senate voted today to confirm Gayle Smith as the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
There is no question that Gayle will be the right person in the right job at a crucial time. Her career in the Clinton Administration, at USAID, in the NGO community, and most recently at the White House has fully prepared her for this responsibility. As I—and as anyone who has worked with Gayle—can attest, she knows only one way to approach any task: with a bottomless supply of energy, creativity, intelligence, dedication, and leadership. In recent years, she has been instrumental in driving such key initiatives as Power Africa, Feed the Future, and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For decades, she has been involved in every aspect of development strategy, and she understands as well as anyone the intimate connections that exist between economic opportunity and political stability and peace.
For Gayle, these issues are personal. For some twenty years, she was a journalist based in Africa, reporting first-hand on the social, economic, and political challenges of that vast continent. She will bring to her new position a deeply-felt commitment to USAID’s mission of helping people to help themselves in every corner of the globe.
As Secretary of State, I can vouch for the fact that the prospects for progress on virtually every major international challenge we face—from terrorism to climate change to emergency preparedness to human rights to the empowerment of women—are enhanced by the work that USAID professionals undertake every day of the year. So it matters a great deal who leads these efforts, and that is why the Senate’s confirmation of Gayle Smith is such good news, not only for USAID, but also for our country and the world.