Last month, Maura O’Neill made a surprising announcement on her Twitter page. She’s stepping down at the end of June as chief innovation officer and senior counselor at the U.S. bilateral aid arm.
“Thank you Pres @BarackObama @RajShah & Team @USAID for privilege to serve & help world. With much humility I bid farewell to DC on June 30th,” O’Neill twitted April 3.
O’Neill joined the U.S. Agency for International Development right around the time Rajiv Shah took on the role of administrator, just a few days after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010. And thanks in part to her, USAID has gained a reputation as a patron of the next big innovation that can help address some of the most pressing global development challenges.
We spoke with O’Neill on the sidelines of the 3rd annual Global Diaspora Forum in Washington about the work of the Office of Innovation and Development Alliances, which she has led since its inception not even two years ago. Aside from the office’s biggest accomplishments, she discussed how IDEA chooses its partners and evaluates its success as well as whether USAID should be remodeled after IDEA, as some have suggested.
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