DACOR - Event Information

Event Name:A Life Unimagined: Aaron Williams in Conversation with Ambassador Jim Michel
Event Type(s):Development Dialogue at DACOR
Description:Please note this is now a virtual event from 1 - 2 pm. Registrations are required for all attendees. Registrants will be sent a link for the event via email.

Aaron Williams is one of the founding members of the UAA, a veteran of 22 years in USAID, a former Peace Corps Volunteer and Peace Corps Director. He has recently published his memoir, A Life Unimagined - The Rewards of Mission-Driven Service in the Peace Corps and Beyond. A large number of us know Aaron, but few of us know his background and how he became the man we know. As he puts it, early in his career he "set aside the safe, conventional career choice and instead chose to take an adventuresome leap into the unknown".  Aaron will be joined in conversation by DACOR member and fellow UAA founder, our colleague  Ambassador Jim Michel.

Aaron Williams is a graduate of Chicago State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He began his career as a high school teacher in Chicago. He decided to volunteer for the Peace Corps after hearing speeches by President Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, and then talking to a fellow teacher from the same alma mater that had volunteered in Jamaica. Williams was in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic for three years. teaching rural teachers and working with the Ministry of Education on developing educational curriculum. On return to the US, he was the Peace Corps Coordinator of Minority Recruitment.

In 1978 Williams joined  USAID, where he spent 22 years as a foreign service officer. At USAID, he created partnerships with the private sector in Haiti and Costa Rica, was promoted to Director of the Private Sector Office in the Latin America and the Caribbean Bureau and subsequently to various senior management positions: Mission Director for  the Eastern Caribbean Region; Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Assistant Administrator for LAC; and as the head of the USAID Executive Secretariat. A career minister in the Senior Foreign Service, Williams left USAID in 2000, after serving as Mission Director to South Africa, to  become Executive Vice President at the International Youth Foundation (IYF). In 2003 he  become a Vice President for International Business Development at RTI International. In July 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Williams to be Director of the Peace Corps. and he was sworn in a month later as the eighteenth Peace Corps Director and only the fourth director to have also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Williams resigned from the Peace Corps effective September 17, 2012 and returned to RTI International in the position of executive vice president of the international development group. In 2018, Williams was awarded emeritus status by RTI International for his career in public service.                         

James Michel is a senior adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an independent consultant in development cooperation, specializing in support for democratic governance and the rule of law. During a long career of public service he was U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala and Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee. In the State Department he served as Principal Deputy Legal Adviser and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs. In USAID he was Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean and also Acting Deputy Administrator, Acting Administrator, and Counselor to the Agency. After leaving government service he was senior counsel to Tetra Tech DPK, an international consulting firm. He received his law degree (Juris Doctor, cum laude) from Saint Louis University.
Event Date:5/20/2022
Event Time:1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern
Contact Person:DACOR Programs
(phone: 202-682-0500 x20)
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A Life Unimagined: The Rewards of Mission-Driven Service in the Peace Corps and Beyond
By Aaron Williams

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