USAID's Amy Meyer Honored With "Sammie" Award for Her Work in Pakistan

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 24, 2009
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320

WASHINGTON, DC - Amy Meyer, director of the Office of Economic Growth at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) field mission in Pakistan, was awarded the National Security and International Affairs Medal at the Partnership for Public Service annual gala event September 23. This award recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to national security and international affairs (including defense, military affairs, diplomacy, foreign assistance and trade). Meyer was principally recognized for building the Pakistan economic growth program from a two-person office to a $200 million initiative.

Chosen from hundreds of nominees, Meyer manages a diverse group of programs ranging from horticulture and livestock, to energy and entrepreneurship, and empowerment of women. The Service to America Medals or "Sammies," pays tribute to America's dedicated federal workforce. The honorees are chosen based on their commitment and innovation, as well as the impact of their work on addressing the needs of the nation.

"The greatest challenge for me is remaining hopeful and optimistic when the changes that you see are so small and they come so slowly," Meyer said. "It is a slow and incremental process, and it can be discouraging, but you must stay connected to your personal vision even if its realization may take long periods of time."

USAID's economic growth program in Pakistan was very small until Meyer arrived in 2006. With a single Pakistani staff member, Meyer began to develop a strategy to tackle the nation's endless challenges-ranging from a crippling energy crisis to the increasing influence of the Taliban and other extremist groups.

In her first Foreign Service assignment, Meyer has persistently worked to drive change from within the battered country, enlisting the help of the Pakistani people from rural dairy farmers to high-level government officials. Partly in recognition of the energy and credibility Meyer brought to the economic development office, USAID increased its annual economic growth budget from $7 million to $200 million. As part of Meyer's "Empower Pakistan: Agriculture" program, one million women will join dairy cooperatives. The milk they collect will be stored in a shared chiller and then sold in markets. The women will receive the income from these transactions.

"The Service to America Medals are important because they tell the true stories of the remarkable work that our federal employees do each and every day. There is not a day that passes where government does not touch our lives in some way - whether it is stopping the spread of disease, combating fraud and corruption, or protecting our environment," said Max Stier, Partnership president and CEO.

Meyer received a bachelor's degree from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. Fluent in Urdu, Pakistan's predominant language, Meyer holds focus groups for Pakistani women in her home to listen and learn from their stories. She even leads a yoga program on Pakistani television that airs from Karachi to Islamabad.

Past USAID Sammie award recipients include Richard Greene, director of the Office of Health, Infectious Diseases, and Nutrition, who was named Federal Employee of the Year in 2008 for his work to develop and launch the President's Malaria Initiative. Mark Ward, former senior deputy assistant administrator for the Asia and the Near East Bureau, was presented the International Affairs Medal in 2006 for his leadership of the U.S. recovery and reconstruction efforts after the Asia tsunami in 2004 and the South Asia earthquake in 2005.

For more information about USAID and its Pakistan programs, visit www.usaid.gov.

Last updated: March 01, 2012

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