7 facts you should know about USAID’s new leader

Mark Green shaking hands with man holding soccer ball (U.S. Navy)
Mark Green, in 2008, as U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, presents a student in Dar es Salaam with a soccer ball. (U.S. Navy)

Mark Green was confirmed as USAID’s administrator on August 3. Learn more about him.

1. He grew up in the Midwest

Green was born in Boston, but he attended secondary school and college in Wisconsin. He majored in English and political science at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and was named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ All-America team in swimming. He received a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

2. He volunteered in Kenya

Along with his wife, Sue, he volunteered as a secondary school teacher in Kakamega, Kenya, through WorldTeach. The organization was founded at Harvard University and recruits American college graduates to volunteer overseas. During his time in Kenya, Green contracted malaria and typhoid.

Mark Green (© Getty Images)
Mark Green in New York City on January 12, 2017. (© Getty Images)

3. He served as U.S. ambassador to Tanzania

In 2007, Green was appointed as the U.S. ambassador to Tanzania by then-President George W. Bush. He led more than 350 U.S. and Tanzanian nationals representing 11 distinct U.S. government entities and was a prominent voice for U.S. interests, as well as democratization, anti-corruption and the fight against HIV/AIDS. He still speaks kidogo ku (“just a little”) Kiswahili.

4. His family tree includes diverse branches

Green’s father is South African and his mother is British. Both of his parents have been proud Americans for more than 20 years. He has close relatives in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

5. He served in Congress

In 1999, Green was elected to represent Wisconsin’s 8th District in Congress, where he served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He helped craft legislation that launched the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent U.S. government foreign-aid agency, and the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), an interagency initiative that has transformed the global HIV/AIDS response across more than 60 countries.

People shaking hands in front of aircraft (U.S. Air Force)
Mark Green in September 2008 when he was ambassador to Tanzania, being greeted by Tanzania’s ministers and staff. (U.S. Air Force)

6. He’s respected by the international development community

Most recently, Green was president of the International Republican Institute, a nonprofit that advances freedom and democracy worldwide. Previously, he served as president and chief executive officer of the Initiative for Global Development, senior director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and managing director of Malaria No More.

7. He has strong, bipartisan support

At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Green earned praise from Republicans and Democrats. Members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, who see him as a native son, have been especially supportive of him in his new role. “He has the deep personal passion and commitment to do this job, as shown through years of work in advancing our common good on the international stage,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin.

“He has an uncanny ability to bring people together of differing views [and] of differing backgrounds and get them to work on the same page,”said House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin. “He is a person who knows what it takes to improve and transform the lives of others.”

This article was written by Nic Corbett, an editor of the USAID official blog. A version was originally published on Medium.com.