USAID Swears In New Mission Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo

For Immediate Release

Friday, July 29, 2011
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) swore in Dr. Diana Putman as the new mission director to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With major threats to the future development of a stable and democratic DRC, Putman will oversee a $306 million program that focuses on bolstering peace and stability; protecting civilians; strengthening governance institutions; and supporting economic recovery, growth, and the provision of basic social services, including health and education. USAID's Counselor, Ms. Hilda M. Arellano, administered the oath of office at the swearing-in ceremony.

Having lived in Africa for over 20 years, Putman has extensive experience in international development in the region. She served in Tunisia (3 years), Tanzania (5 years), and at the regional mission in Kenya (6 years) as director of the Office of Food Security, where she designed and managed regional programs in 23 countries with a focus on agriculture, trade and food security. Since August 2008, Putman has served as the humanitarian assistance branch chief at the U.S. Africa Command.

A career Foreign Service Officer, Putman has worked on a variety of challenging assignments at USAID. In Washington, she worked with the Asia and Near East Bureaus, on the Newly Independent States Task Force, and as chair of the Democracy Working Group for the West Bank/Gaza Task Force, and also overseas in Indonesia and Jordan. In addition, she has done graduate work and consulting in Mali, Rwanda and Somalia, where she undertook her doctoral research on agro-pastoralists in the Bay Region in the 1980's. In the 1990's she conducted post-doctoral research on women and gender differences with Fulbright and National Science Foundation support.

In June 2010, Putman was awarded the American Foreign Service Association's William R. Rivkin Award for Constructive Dissent. She also has received multiple Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from USAID, the Secretary of State's Group Award from the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists for her heroism after the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania and the Praxis Award from the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists.

She earned three degrees in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College, a master's in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and attended the Université de Grenoble in France. Putman is married with one child.

For more information about USAID and its programs for the Democratic Republic of Congo, please visit

Last updated: May 30, 2012

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