The Foreign Service Journal, May 2024

26 MAY 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Samantha Power is the 19th Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. In 2022, while Foreign Service Officer (FSO) Scott Hocklander was serving his tour of duty as USAID Mission Director in Chisinau, Moldova, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, beginning an open war on Moldova’s borders. Scott and his team sprang into action to support Moldova as it geared up to take in the highest number of refugees per capita in Europe, while also building the independence and resilience of its economy and energy infrastructure, which were deeply entwined with Russia’s. In just a couple of years, Scott helped double the size of Moldova’s team—recruiting both more local staff and more FSOs eager to step up and support the Moldovan people as supply lines were cut due to the war. To overcome Moldova’s dependence on Russian gas, Scott and his team worked with the government to build a new Ministry of Energy from the ground up, while helping the country gain access to new sources of energy like the transBalkan pipeline. And to diversify the economy, reduce its reliance on exports to Russia, and create jobs that would keep young Moldovans in Moldova, Scott and his team supported the country’s efforts to grow its IT industry. Scott, whose parents are both educators, even spearheaded a series of technology-focused courses like coding and cybersecurity at the local university. He made such an impression in Moldova that at his going-away party, everyone from local farmers to former Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita came to say goodbye. As USAID Administrator, I have had the pleasure of getting to meet USAID’s FSOs serving around the world—extraordinary individuals who leave the comfort of their homes to help FOCUS ON CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION BY SAMANTHA POWER Planting and Growing Seeds of Prosperity and Justice Worldwide take on some of the world’s toughest challenges, from authoritarianism to disease to extreme poverty—often putting themselves in volatile or dangerous places to do so. They form close connections with communities, supporting their efforts to identify and dismantle the barriers standing in the way of progress. The true impact USAID FSOs have had across decades of service is impossible to quantify. But their stories give us a sense of the mark they’ve left around the world. For instance, back in the 1970s, FSO Julius Coles worked with his team to promote economic growth and bolster the health care sector in Liberia, a country that at the time had only 50 miles of paved roads. With many farmers struggling to get through dense forests to sell their produce at markets, the USAID Mission worked with local communities to identify the places where easier transport would have the biggest impact and to build “farm-to-market” roads, connecting these rural farmers with towns and opening up new opportunities for agricultural commerce. And when Julius and his team ran into challenges working in very different environments than they’d always known, they built global coalitions and drew on the expertise of those with firsthand experience to find solutions. For instance, when Julius arrived in Liberia, the John F. Kennedy Medical Center—a 500-bed seaside hospital that had just been constructed by USAID—was already falling into disrepair, as the tropical salt air corroded the tools and medical equipment and even the windows. So Julius and his team enlisted the Indian Health Service, which had deep experience operating health facilities in tough tropical environments. Together, the Indian Health Service and USAID worked to help