Signaling a surge in U.S. development assistance for Sri Lanka, the newly-arrived Dr. Andrew Sisson official assumed duties yesterday as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director to Sri Lanka and Maldives. U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap administered the oath of office in the presence of his wife Karen Levine and the entire USAID mission at the Embassy of the United States of America.
“We are fortunate to have Dr. Sisson manage U.S. foreign assistance to Sri Lanka at a time of unprecedented partnerships and cooperation in U.S.-Sri Lankan relations,” said Ambassador Keshap. “His leadership and deep experience managing USAID programs around the world will allow us to effectively expand our assistance to ever more people in Sri Lanka and Maldives.”
Dr. Sisson’s assignment as Mission Director corresponds to an increase of USAID staff at the Embassy to manage the rapid growth in U.S. government’s development assistance to Sri Lanka, which will total approximately 8.7 billion LKR ($60 million) for fiscal years 2015-2016.
“The United States enjoys and benefits from a long and broad relationship with Sri Lanka and Maldives,” said Dr. Sisson. “I am honored to come here to help further strengthen the ties between our peoples at this important time.”
Since 1956, the United States government has provided more than $2 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to benefit Sri Lankans across the country. The United States will continue to support Sri Lanka as it makes meaningful progress on inclusive economic growth, good governance reforms, reconciliation, transitional justice, and the empowerment of local communities.
In Maldives, USAID has been providing assistance since 2001 to a wide range of initiatives, including harnessing the potential of wind power to meet the country’s energy needs and strengthening the capacity of government institutions. At present, USAID has invested over 207 million Maldivian Rufiyaa ($13.5 million) to address the impact of climate change on Maldivians.
Dr. Sisson is a Senior Foreign Service Officer with more than 20 years of development experience in some of the Agency’s largest programs around the world, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Kosovo, Central Asia, and East Africa regions. In addition, Dr. Sisson has also served as Acting Executive Director of USAID’s Global Development Lab in Washington, D.C, an innovative entity that finds effective new solutions and breakthroughs to help hundreds of millions of people around the world. (U.S. Embassy Colombo)