SPEAKING ON: Does Aid Succeed: All too often there is a perception that foreign aid is an endless black hole, ever gaping and bottomless, absorbing public money without result. In fact, there are success stories. They reflect the right mix of policy, assistance, and leadership at the national level. Ambassador Dawn Liberi will look back at some of these episodes and their lessons.
Ambassador Dawn M. Liberi
Former U.S. Ambassador to Burundi
Dawn M. Liberi is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Career Minister, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Burundi from 2012 to 2016. From 2017-2022 Ambassador Liberi served as an Expert Advisor on numerous projects for the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP), the U.S. Diplomatic Studies Foundation (DSF), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Harris Africa Partners, LLC.
Ambassador Liberi started her career in Africa where she served in five posts with USAID over a span of twenty years, focusing on key development issues. Serving as the USAID Mission Director in Nigeria (2002-2005), she managed a $100 million program of assistance and brokered a $20 million public-private sector alliance to fund community development activities. As USAID Mission Director in Uganda (1998-2002), Ambassador Liberi managed oneof the largest HIV/AIDS and micro-enterprise programs in sub-Saharan Africa, helping to significantly reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence and assisting Uganda to develop high value exports.
Other USAID assignments include: Associate Assistant Administrator in the Global Bureau, Population, Health and Nutrition Office (1994-1998); USAID Deputy Mission Director in Ghana (1992-1994); and USAID Population, Health and Nutrition Officer in Senegal and Niger (1981-1987). Starting in 2005, Ambassador Liberi focused on stabilization and civilian-military integration. As USAID Mission Director in Iraq (2005-2006) she managed a $5.2 billion program of governance and economic development activities. As USAID Executive Civil-Military Counselor, she served as Senior Development Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Central Command (2007-2008).
From 2009 to 2011, Ambassador Liberi was the Coordinator for the Interagency Provincial Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, responsible for managing over 400 civilian positions outside Kabul and implementing governance and economic activities. She also served as the Senior Civilian Representative for the Combined Joint Task-Force 82 at Bagram Airfield Afghanistan, where she was the civilian equivalent of the Commanding General, responsible for coordination of over 20,000 civilian and military staff. In 2012 Ambassador Liberi served as the Senior Assistance Coordinator at U.S. Embassy/Tripoli.
Ambassador Liberi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College and Master of Public Health degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a Distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University, where she focused on national security issues. Ambassador Liberi is the recipient of two Distinguished Honor Awards and several Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards. She was awarded the U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Award, as well as the Medaille D’Or (Gold Medal) by the French Government, and the Army Iron Cross by the Polish Government, for her work in Afghanistan. Ambassador Liberi speaks fluent French, is an avid African art collectorand a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.