On Monday, January 26, 2015, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm

please join SFWAF for lunch and a talk by

John Heard, Senior Foreign Service Officer Rtd. USAID


How USAID Helped a Colombian Community Reinvent Itself: Debt, Drugs and Thugs Free 

Although Colombia has been pushed off the front pages by Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine, Colombia remains one of the largest recipients of US foreign assistance. Colombia is also a US foreign policy priority in terms of the “wars” on drugs and terror as well as our commitment to strengthening democracies. Not only is Colombia America’s staunchest ally in the hemisphere, it offers an underappreciated model of successful cooperation with the U.S.

Santa Rosa del Sur, a small town in Colombia’s Southern Bolivar Department, was once in the heart of northern Colombia drug production with a heavy involvement of leftist guerilla groups. The farmers had no choice but to grow coca for peanuts, so to speak. Ten years later they thrive by growing cocoa and other legally marketable crops. USAID helped to make that happen. Our speaker was part of this durable transformation, and this program will tell us how it came about.

Since 2000, via Plan Colombia I and II, the US has provided well over $8 billion in economic and military assistance to Colombia, but with mixed results. Because further investment is anticipated over the next few years, it is essential to understand from every angle the drug business and the guerilla conflict it feeds, an inconvenient fact that is all too often ignored. As a result, initial program successes routinely suffer severe deterioration over time.

Santa Rosa, however, is doing well, as our presenter discovered when he revisited his old stomping ground ten years later. The Santa Rosa story, he discovered, offers exactly what policy makers need to know as they evaluate what works and what doesn’t work in policies designed to assist the disadvantaged in rural poverty settings. He’ll be sharing the formula with us.

John Heard is a former Senior Foreign Service Officer with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Peace Corps with tours in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Paraguay, El Salvador, Bosnia and the Philippines plus a number of years in Washington. No stranger to conflict and post-conflict settings, John Heard served as Associate Mission Director for Operations in El Salvador, where he managed a major multi-sector portfolio that literally kept the country afloat during the most difficult years of that war (1987-1992). In Bosnia following the Dayton Accords (1996-98), he supervised a massive business development program that was instrumental in reactivating industry in the devastated economy of the time. Later, in retirement, from January 2003 through mid-2007, he was Country Director for the Pan American Development Foundation program in Colombia, where he supervised implementation of a $160 million USAID financed program dedicated to addressing the drug production problem at the farm level and the need to develop social and economic solutions for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by violence. John has since remained in close touch with Colombia through multiple consulting trips.

Lunch is from 12:00 noon to 2 pm at St. John’s College’s Junior Commons Room, 2nd floor, Peterson Student Center. Cost for the lunch session is $22 per member or $27 per non-member. Please RSVP by Thursday, January 22.

To reserve a place please e-mail sfwaforum@outlook.com and pay by check or via Paypal. You may access Paypal directly by clicking on this link or you may send your check to The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum, PO Box 31965, Santa Fe. NM, 87594, with your name and contact information, if you are not a member. Checks should be made out to The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum. Please note on your check, or if paying by Paypal please send us an e-mail, to indicate that your payment is for the January 26 program. Your payment guarantees you a place, but it is non-refundable after Thursday, January 22 if you are unable to attend. We strongly prefer that payment be made either via Paypal or mailed check postmarked by Wednesday, November 26 to avoid having to handle money at the program.

Most members have already renewed, but if you have yet to pay your $50 annual dues for 2014-15 you may include the amount in your reimbursement for this program. Because we are a 501(c)(3) organization dues are tax deductible.

Directions to St. John’s College (from Old Pecos Trail)
Turn right at Armenta (at stoplight).
Turn left at Camino Corrales.
Turn right at Old Santa Fe Trail.
After approximately a mile, turn left at Camino del Monte Sol.
Turn right on Camino Cruz Blanca.
St. John’s College is on the right after the tennis courts.

Please park in the visitor parking lot. It’s on your left as you enter the campus (A on the St. John’s College map). There will be signs to help direct you to the correct location. The Peterson Student Center is #1 on the campus map. A few handicapped parking spaces are located at the Visitor’s Circle right in front of the fishpond area and below the Peterson Student Center. A few more are located behind the Peterson Center as follows. Just before the Visitor’s Circle, look for the fork in the road where you would normally drive to the left to get to the Visitors’ Parking Circle just below the Peterson Center. Instead, turn right and follow the drive up to the other parking area. There are two or three handicapped parking spaces on the left. Please note that this parking lot is not open to the public, but handicapped folks are allowed to park in the designated spaces.



This program was sold out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm
St. John’s College, Junior Commons Room

Please join SFWAF for lunch and a talk by

James Gavigan, Minister Counselor, EU Mission to the United States on



An event organized in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to the USA

EU Commission logoEven though the pursuit of new knowledge has never been delimited to national borders, the fact that public funds for science are largely in the hands of national authorities acts as a constraint on its international character. Moreover, the private financing of science mostly puts private interests ahead of the common good. The exceptions are in CERN*, in particle physics, parts of astronomy, and earth sciences (e.g. weather forecasting, ocean studies) and fusion energy. All these are examples of research in so-called “big science” where the costs and infrastructure are beyond the capability of individual countries and where the relevant authorities have no choice but to join forces internationally.

Dr. Gavigan will offer his views on the imprint that three decades of an emerging science policy in the European Union has made on a centuries-old community largely segmented along nation state lines. He will explain the efforts under the “the European Research Area” label to develop a research system which has transnational coherence and meaning. He will also reflect on the potential to strengthen transatlantic Science and Technology links in a similar way, referencing economic and trade implications as much as scientific leadership issues. It’s important to note that the transatlantic corridor accounts for well over half of the world’s Science and Technology output. * The European Organization for Nuclear Research

Dr. Gavigan, an EU official since 1990, is Minister Counselor for Science and Technology at the EU Mission to the US where he focuses on facilitating scientific cooperation between the EU and the US. From 2006-2012 he headed the European Research Area Policy (ERA) Unit which is devoted to developing a coordinated approach to research policy among EU members. Prior to his distinguished career at the EU, he worked as a research scientist on the intrinsic magnetic properties of rare earth transition metal borides and magnetic thin films. He holds a PhD in physics from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in public administration from the University of Warwick. He speaks English, French, Spanish and some Irish and Italian. Born in the Yukon, he has dual Canadian and Irish citizenship, is married and has four sons.

To Register for this event, please e-mail sfwaforum@outlook.com.  This event is free but space is limited and reservations are taken on a first come/first serve basis.  It is now completely subscribed.