USAID Selects the First Payne International Development Fellows

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
USAID Press Office

Washington, D.C. – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) selected Hervé Thomas and Jacob Morrin as its first Donald M. Payne International Fellows. The selection follows a rigorous competition that included a review of over 200 applicants from the United States and around the world, in addition to interviews, timed essays, and group exercises.  "I am delighted to congratulate two impressive students on receiving the first USAID Payne fellowships," said Administrator Rajiv Shah. "We look forward to welcoming them to our Agency after they have completed their studies.”

Funded by USAID and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, these Fellowships prepare students to enter exciting and rewarding careers in international development as USAID Foreign Service Officers.  This program is named in honor of the late Congressman Donald M. Payne, in recognition of his long distinguished service in promoting international development.  Payne Fellows will represent the excellence and diversity of America in advancing USAID’s commitment to creating a more secure, healthy and prosperous world through engagement in international development work. 

Payne Fellows receive support for a two-year period to obtain a master’s degree at a U.S. university.  The Payne Program also arranges internships on Capitol Hill and at USAID Missions abroad.  Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Fellowship Program receive appointments in the USAID Foreign Service.  Retired Senior Foreign Service Officer Wayne King chaired the selection committee.

Background on the 2013 Donald M. Payne Graduate Fellows: 

Hervé Thomas is a 2003 graduate of The Ohio State University who has worked in international development in both the public and private sectors.  Hervé is currently working as a Consulting, Training and Development Specialist with the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Germany. He has worked for USAID in Kabul Afghanistan and for USAID contractors in Iraq.  Hervé was born in Orange, New Jersey and grew up in Haiti.  His interest in USAID stemmed from his firsthand experience of the value of USAID work in Haiti.   

Jacob Morrin is a Wisconsin native and graduate of the University of Chicago.  During his undergraduate years, he studied Mandarin Chinese in both Beijing and Shanghai. His time in China inspired him to research the dynamic interaction between Chinese government censorship and internet activism. Upon graduation, Jacob joined the Peace Corps and served in a rural community in Madagascar in order to learn about international development at the grassroots level. 

To learn more about the Payne Fellowship information can be accessed at or contact Tessa Henry, Program Officer for the Payne Fellowship, at 202-806-4367.  

Last updated: January 28, 2015

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