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As one of the first group of mission directors set out for their work oversees in 1962, President Kennedy addressed them from the Rose Garden. He stated:

"The presence of the United States as a leading power in the free world is involved in your work directly. It permits us to exert influence for the maintenance of freedom. If we were not so heavily involved, our voice would not speak with such vigor, and as we do not want to send American troops to a great many areas where freedom may be under attack, we send you, and you working with the people in those countries to try to work with them in developing the economic thrust of their countries so that they can make a determination that they can solve their problems without resorting to totalitarian control."

Read the full transcript of President Kennedy's remarks or learn how the vision has been carried out by USAID staff around the world for 50 years.

Videos about what USAID is working on now

Despite a relatively small budget, the 50 years of progress and celebrating an agency that is reinventing itself to become more innovative, more entrepreneurial, and more results-driven, so that it can continue to bring hope, opportunity, security, and prosperity to millions of people around the world.

By region:

  • Look at the impact the agency has had on Kosovo over the past 12 years.
  • See how, for 50 years, USAID has partnered with Morocco to develop its human resources, build social and economic infrastructure, alleviate poverty and infectious diseases, and improve maternal and child health.
  • Find out how USAID has helped people in Uganda by reducing poverty, strengthening agricultural systems, improving education, and promoting public health.

By topic:

  • Human trafficking is the second-largest illegal trade and robs victims of their dignity, freedom, mobility and physical safety. The International Labor Organization estimates that at least 12.3 million women, men and children globally are victimized by traffickers at any given time.
  • Learn how USAID's Development Credit Authority has empowered thousands of individuals to invest in their country's development.

Agency senior leadership:

  • At USAID's 50th Anniversary Event on November 3, 2011, USAID Administrator Raj Shah discussed the agency's commitment to using innovative technologies to overcome global development challenges.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulates USAID on its 50th Anniversary and reaffirms her and the Department of State's support for USAID and how development programs support our national security and contribute to our economic future.

Voices from the field:

Public figures:

  • Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright honors USAID's vital mission and commends USAID employees for their work empowering women, promoting education and fighting poverty around the globe.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeilius congratulates USAID on 50 years of reducing poverty and increasing opportunity around the world.
  • Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, congratulates USAID on its 50th Anniversary and reaffirms his support for USAID and how development programs support our national security and contribute to our economic future.
  • Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, congratulates USAID on its 50th Anniversary and reaffirms his and the military's support for USAID and how development programs support our national security and contribute to our economic future.
  • Mandy Moore, singer, actress and global health ambassador for Population Services International (PSI), highlights the innovative programs supported by USAID and its partners to achieve better health outcomes.


Last updated: March 17, 2014

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