Deputy Administrator Paloma Adams-Allen at the Swearing In Ceremony for USAID Director for the Frankfurt Support Center and Mission Director for the Middle East Regional Platform

Speeches Shim

Thursday, July 28, 2022

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR ADAMS-ALLEN: Thank you, Andrew, for getting us started. Good morning, everyone.

It is a pleasure to welcome all of you here today, and those tuned in virtually, to swear in our newest Director for USAID’s Frankfurt Support Center and Mission Director for our Middle East Regional Platform, Aly Cameron.

I want to start by acknowledging a few of our guests here at the top:

A big welcome to our State Department colleagues, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau for African Affairs, Amy Holman, as well as Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator for Multisector Relations, Dr. Mamadi Yilla. We’re so glad you could join us today, and grateful for your years of service and partnership with USAID.

Current and former colleagues from across the Agency are also with us, and I want to give a special welcome back to Irene Koek, formerly Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator in our Global Health Bureau, who now serves as Associate Vice President and Global Health Practice Leader at Save the Children.

A big welcome back also to Wade Warren, who’s given decades of service and expertise to USAID—most recently as Acting Administrator and Acting Deputy Administrator—before heading to Deloitte Consulting to serve as Chief Strategy Officer for International Development.

And of course, Andrew Plitt, our Middle East Bureau’s Acting Assistant Administrator, also serving as today’s emcee; and all of our colleagues from the M and Middle East Bureaus. It’s great to have so many of you here.

The support system that Aly has in her corner as she begins this next chapter is formidable… and it might tell you something about the significance of the role that she is taking on at USAID’s Frankfurt Support Center.

It should also tell you something about Aly Cameron—but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Like all of USAID’s Foreign Service Officers who dedicate their lives to our mission, the bedrock of Aly’s support system is family—and we’re thrilled to have BJ and Z Cameron with us today.

BJ and Aly met while serving in the Peace Corps. Both were medically evacuated from different posts and got to know one another here in Washington before returning—Aly to Niger where she was a rural Health Outreach Volunteer, and BJ to Cameroon where he conducted Agroforesty work with local farmers and schools.

The two reconnected in Cameroon in 1995, and after getting married, they spent the next several years of their Foreign Service careers in Africa, along with Z, who is currently a sophomore at Clark University where they’re studying theatrical design and production.

One former colleague who serves in USAID’s Global Health Bureau said about the Cameron Family, “They collectively light up a room, and I was thankful to have them close.”

Another colleague described working for Aly in Tanzania during a Country Operational Planning “pressure weekend,” when all the staff had to go to the Embassy in Dar Es Salaam on a Saturday. At one point, the colleague recalled, “Five year old Z came and we had all these nerf balls and just took a 25 minute break, running and hiding and laughing. It was just what we needed to get some energy, move away from the screens, and just breathe,” she said.

This anecdote, among others, resembles the kind of leadership that Aly is known for across her decades of service to USAID—treating everyone like family, fostering a spirit of camaraderie, and bringing a “work hard, have fun” philosophy to all of her roles.

Those of you who’ve spent time at posts far from home know how important this kind of leadership is.

Aly’s professional journey began while serving as a Red Cross volunteer in Tucson, Arizona. It was her experience on disaster response committees, and helping to staff up and run a medical clinic for the homeless that sparked her passion for helping others; led her to join the Peace Corps; and ultimately receive her Master’s degree in International Public Health from Boston University.

For more than 25 years, Aly has taken her passion for helping others and her expertise in strengthening health systems to countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia. And when she arrived at USAID, she was a natural fit to serve as Health Office Director, first in Senegal, then Tanzania, and Malawi.

In Senegal, Aly led her team through a complex Government-to-Government negotiation process, making sure to prioritize key health results while also establishing accountability mechanisms to make sure their government counterparts had skin in the game.

In one of her favorite roles, Aly served here in Washington as the Deputy Director for the Office of Population and Reproductive Health, where she also ran point for USAID’s Ouagadougou partnership, working to accelerate progress in the use of family planning services across nine West African countries.

Aly’s leadership and coordination was critical in this role as the Agency worked closely with NGO and country partners to raise awareness about the importance of investments in reproductive health for driving poverty reduction; to close the knowledge gaps that often hinder HIV prevention efforts; and to design youth-friendly family planning services that meet the unique needs of individuals.

Returning to Senegal some years later as Deputy Mission Director—a role that also oversaw the Sahel regional platform—Aly continued to grow her leadership capacity, as well as that of her colleagues. Here, as one colleague shared, she fostered her patently energetic and ambitious sense of teamwork, “helping to rally two separate operating units and staff from a wide range of backgrounds and hiring mechanisms around a common purpose.”

In addition to overseeing a $700 million dollar budget supporting the transnational region, Aly was instrumental in standing up USAID’s Mission in Niger, which today is a fully functioning, stand-alone Mission.

Any incoming Mission Director in Aly’s shoes would have their work cut out for them. But Aly has demonstrated an ability to drive cooperation across teams and provide continuity in dynamic and conflict-stricken regions of the world.

USAID’s Middle East Regional Platform serves as a hub for our staff who support the Bureau’s bilateral missions and operating units across the Middle East and North Africa, where our teams are stretched thin due to security and space constraints, high staff turnover, and now, COVID-19 imposed restrictions.

Despite a troubling outlook driven by record droughts, economic shocks from the pandemic, and rising food and fuel prices exacerbated by the Ukraine war, USAID remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting those most in need across the Middle East and North Africa. And as we continue to make the Agency more nimble and responsive to the complex and ever-changing challenges of our time, our colleagues at the Frankfurt Support Center and the Middle East Regional Platform are going to continue to play a fundamental role.

Luckily, we’re sending a Mission Director in Aly Cameron who, for nearly three decades, has earned the trust and confidence of the people we aim to serve—from making sure that local voices are heard to representing the best of USAID with her strategic thinking, an inclusive approach to decision-making, and the utmost compassion. This includes Aly’s fierce loyalty to our locally-employed staff, always advocating for their interests and advancement, and the cohesion that she nurtures as a colleague and a friend.

As many of her colleagues shared—Aly gets everyone involved. She listens. She mentors. She finds out what her teams need and delivers, whether it's professional advice or an introduction to the best beachfront restaurants and artisanal shops in town. And as her husband BJ shared, “nobody has a bigger shoulder to lean on.”

I’ll close with just one more quote from a former colleague of Aly’s: “She is a joy to work with. She leads with the heart, listening and working with them to foster an environment where they can thrive. The team in Frankfurt and all the extended missions they support are so lucky to have her.”

I couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Aly. It’s my pleasure now to administer the oath.

Last updated: July 28, 2022

Share This Page