Reed Aeschliman (Thailand) in Bangladesh as new USAID Mission Director

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USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman (center) speaks to reporters at the American Center on Thursday, September 21, 2023. Photo: Nurul Islam Hasib


New USAID mission director Reed Aeschliman (Thailand 1981-83) on Thursday said the agency followed three principles in its activities in Bangladesh as its “development assistance” program had now turned into a “development partnership.”

“The first principle is to be a good partner,” he said while meeting journalists at the American Center for the first time since his arrival in Dhaka on August 20.

Principle number two is to expand USAID’s investments to local institutions, and the third is to harness the power of the private sector fully in achieving development goals.

“We have moved from development assistance to development partnership. Fifty years ago we were development assistance. Now we want to be a good trading partner. That’s win-win,” he said.

“USAID will continue to invest in the Bangladeshi people – whether it’s building the skills of farmers, doctors, nurses, school teachers or emergency responders – and equip people with the tools they need to prosper in life,” he said.

“Empowering people enables us to reach our ultimate objective, to help Bangladeshis build a more resilient, democratic and prosperous society in which all citizens have an opportunity to thrive.”

Aeschliman is a career member of the United States Senior Foreign Service.

Prior to his assignment to Bangladesh, he served as USAID mission director in Pakistan from 2022-2023, in Sri Lanka and Maldives from 2018-2022, and has also served in leadership positions in the Philippines and Pacific Islands, as well as Afghanistan, Cambodia and India.

He also held positions in Washington, DC as deputy assistant administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Asia Affairs and as director of the Office of Energy and Infrastructure at the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment.

Before joining USAID in 2000, Aeschliman served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand from August 1981 until October 1983. After his arrival in Dhaka, Reed Aeschliman in a statement said he was committed to strengthening relations with Bangladesh as a key strategic partner in major development initiatives, including food security, economic growth, climate change, health, democracy, human rights and governance.

On Thursday, he also reiterated his commitment and said: “I am fortunate for inheriting a situation in which our two countries share a strong development partnership. We have been working together for over 50 years to help Bangladeshis lead brighter and more prosperous futures”.

He said strengthening democratic principles was a “critical cornerstone” in maximizing economic growth in any country.

“Economic studies show that when it comes to growth, democracy significantly increases development, especially in health and human capital”.

He said: “Regardless of what challenges we face, USAID is committed to standing with our Bangladeshi partners and working together for a more resilient and prosperous future.”

Replying to a question, he maintained the US position of seeing a free and fair election in Bangladesh, saying Washington was focusing on the process, not the results.


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