April 23, 2009






Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mr. FARR. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of an invaluable member of the Santa Cruz community, and his humanitarian efforts all over the world. After decades of service and devotion to aiding developing countries, Stephen Vance lost his life serving the people and countries for whom he always cared.

After graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Stephen became immersed in work for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In his role at USAID, Stephen spent more than twenty years working the issues of developing countries. He held numerous Country Director and Chief of Party assignments with USAID contractors and directed the USAID Mission experience. He served as the Senior Economic Development Advisor for USAID in Timor-Leste, where he managed USAID’s economic growth team. Earlier, he served two years as the Executive Director of the Soros Foundation in Mongolia. While there, he spearheaded the foundation’s transformation from a grant-making organization with more than 20 programs and 500 projects to an independent, non-partisan center for policy research and analysis and a platform for citizen participation and advocacy. Stephen designed and developed new projects in enterprise development, trade diversification, foreign investment promotion, rural and agricultural finance and agricultural development.

Stephen’s years of work reflected his desire to improve living situations and stimulate economic growth and self-sufficiency in developing countries. Though he sought to create a more perfect, peaceful world, Stephen’s life was lost at the hands of gunmen in Pakistan. At the time of his assassination, he was working for Cooperative Housing Federation International. There he directed “Livelihoods Project” in the FATA region, a program intended to infuse $750 million in economic development into the area.

Stephen was loved by many; his upbeat and optimistic attitude, as well as his zealous and vivacious approach to dealing with situations made him always a pleasure to be around. His humanitarian efforts gained him the respect and friendship of people all over the world; his zest for life and creative nature made him a person who will not soon be forgotten.

The City of Santa Cruz and the rest of the world will miss Stephen’s vision and leadership, but there is no doubt that he has left us a better place than when he first arrived.

Madam Speaker, on behalf of the United States of Congress, I would like to honor the many accomplishments of Stephen Vance and express sincere gratitude for his contributions locally and internationally.


Source: Government Printing Office
From CQ Congressional Record Service
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©2009 Congressional Quarterly Inc. All Rights Reserved.

US Capitol

Upcoming conference in Washington DC, Capitol Complex Date TBA

"Aid In Peril; Humanitarian Aid and Regional Instability"

Surely no one in the field of humanitarian aid can have escaped the knowledge of the unprecedented escalation of the targeting of aid workers during this last decade. More and more aid workers are being attacked by extremist groups putting both aid workers and US foreign policy objectives in peril.

Working with Congressman Sam Farr, the Stephen D Vance Foundation is hosting a conference entitled, "Aid in Peril: Humanitarian Aid and Regional Instability". This one day conference will convene experts from various fields and interested parties to initiate a dialogue with the goal of discovering new strategies and methodologies to increase the safety and security of the international aid worker.

Invitees include NGOs, USAID, the US Department of State, the United Nations, and other relevant parties. The event will be simulcast both by cable television via CSPAN as well as streamed live over the internet.

The aim of this conference is two fold; to draw public awareness to the issue to help facilitate the necessary changes in aid policies, and to add its support for the campaign to have 2010 be declared by the United Nations, "The Year of the Humanitarian".

The problems are complex and the solutions vary, but clearly, NGOs should not be expected to anticipate evolving levels of violence while also constrained by operating costs that, by design, require them to fend for their own security. NGOs should have access to a broader spectrum of support during dramatic shifts in regional stability in order to both protect their workers as well as to achieve their contractual goals.

Additionally, the victims of these attacks are not only American citizens but citizens from around the world; therefore, a unilateral approach to the issue must also coincide with an international appeal. The message must be made clear that this trend can no longer be tolerated for any aid worker, regardless of nationality.

Substantive Discussions Include:

  • Identifying successful strategies for operating aid missions in unstable environments and finding ways in which to leverage them into broader behavioral practices and mission expectations.
  • Regional and religious perceptual shifts of the intent of donor nations and how these changes have impacted those in the field and our aid objectives.
  • Raising expectations of recipient nations to better clarify the aims and goals of accepting foreign aid to their own citizen base.
  • Identifying key features inherent in the competitive bidding process which may contribute to insecurities on the ground, and to propose new processes to mitigate them.
  • Possible utilization of an ombudsman or other disinterested party to better the lines of communication between NGOs and their funding agencies.

Substantive Goals of the Conference:

  • The framing of a "rules of conduct" for funding agencies in consideration of foreign aid objectives and for NGOs to adhere to while implementing aid.
  • Endorsement to the United Nations for 2010 be declared the year of the "Protection of the Humanitarian Aid Worker"

Conference Participation:

This conference, "Aid in Peril: Humanitarian Aid and Regional Instability" will take place in the Cannon Caucus Room in Washington DC. Your attendance is not only encouraged but essential. Date TBA.

Many voices and opinions should be heard for a thorough discussion of this issue, therefore all directly contacted individuals and organizations are asked to present their own case specific experiences for review. Though time constraints make it improbable that all ideas can be presented in person, all submitted materials will be published and made available to attendees.

The Stephen D Vance Foundation ( was established by colleagues, friends and family members of Stephen DeWitt Vance, a 27 year veteran of humanitarian aid work who was shot and killed in Peshawar Pakistan in November of 2008.

To Register:

Please enter your information in the contact page and indicate that you want to register for this event in the comments area.

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