Last week, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick traveled to Austin, Texas to meet with TIEC’s Board of Directors and Operating Council. USAID is the U.S. Government’s lead agency for international humanitarian relief and development, and Ms. Glick is the second ranking official at the agency. With more than $27 billion requested in fiscal year 2019 for foreign assistance programming, USAID programs are aimed at saving lives, reducing poverty, strengthening democratic governance and helping developing countries around the world become economically self-sustaining and secure.
Although the combined State Department and USAID budget comprises less than 1% of the overall US Government budget, USAID development programs are considered vital efforts in U.S. foreign policy.
“Think of us like an international FEMA,” Ms. Glick told TIEC’s Operating Council. “Only we don’t just deal with natural disasters, we help with humanitarian crises and economic development as well.”
Ms. Glick’s role is to consider the most effective methods of expending those funds to solve complex crises.
“We are now looking at how to increase diversity among USAID implementers so that new institutions can take part,” she told the TIEC Board. “Higher education plays a unique role in workforce development and your research and innovation help to empower people to lift themselves out of extreme poverty, and find their road to self-reliance.”
TIEC President and CEO Robin Lerner invited Deputy Administrator Glick to meet with TIEC’s members to discuss the role that university partnerships play in achieving development objectives.
“Texas higher education institutions are tackling some of the most challenging energy, environmental and security issues we face as a society, yet most of them are not connected to USAID,” President Lerner said. “Our goal in hosting Deputy Administrator Glick was to help connect the dots between locally-relevant research conducted at our member institutions and their potential for international application, and ultimately participation in USAID projects.”
TIEC’s impressive size as a consortium, and the importance its senior leadership places on meetings like this set TIEC apart from other consortia.
“It is thanks to our power as a consortium that we are able to bring in high profile guests to speak to us in such an intimate setting,” President Lerner said. “We appreciate the support we get from all of our 31 member universities and hope Ms. Glick’s visit will encourage more Texas public institutions to apply for USAID grants and explore how Texas innovation can help countries develop faster and more effectively.”
Representatives from Texas State University, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas A&M International University, Tarleton State University, University of Texas at Tyler, Texas Tech University, Texas Woman’s University, Midwestern State University, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M University Texarkana, and Texas A&M Commerce were in attendance.