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Elisabeth Kvitashvili is deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for the Middle East, with oversight of Iraq, Jordan and Yemen programs. She previously served with the U.S. Mission to the U.N. Agencies in Rome as humanitarian affairs counselor to the U.S. ambassador.
Prior to her post in Rome, Kvitashvili served as USAID acting mission director in Russia. From 2007-2009, she served as deputy assistant administrator in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
A career Senior Foreign Service Officer, Kvitashvili has served tours in Afghanistan, Russia, Honduras, Italy, Pakistan and Bosnia. In Afghanistan, she served as head of USAID's reconstruction program and as acting mission director from 2002-2003. During 1997-1998, she traveled for USAID throughout Afghanistan, undertaking humanitarian assessments with the U.N. In the mid-1980s, she was based in Peshawar, Pakistan, where she designed the Agency’s Cross Border Humanitarian Assistance Program for Afghanistan.
Kvitashvili has also served in the North and South Caucasus, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bosnia, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea working on humanitarian and conflict-related programs.
Her experience also includes three years as the director of the Disaster Response and Mitigation Division in the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, where she led a number of disaster assistance response teams. She also served a year in the Office of Transition Initiatives as a senior program officer.
In 2003, Kvitashvili launched USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, serving as director until 2007. While director, she led the development of the Agency’s Fragile States Strategy as well as a conflict assessment framework now in use throughout the U.S. Government. She also worked with the staff of Army Gen. David Petraeus to draft the U.S. military’s Counterinsurgency Field Manual. She frequently addressed audiences about the nexus of counterinsurgency and development, and has authored several pieces on the subject.
Kvitashvili holds a Master’s Degree in Near East Studies from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, and a diploma in international relations from the Paris University School of Political Science. She is fluent in French, Spanish, Italian and Russian. She currently serves as adjunct professor at Georgetown University, where she teaches a course on conflict and food security.
Last updated: October 24, 2013