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DFID Alumni Association

Message from Robert Graham-Harrison, Chairman, DFID Alumni Association

Robert Graham-HarrisonSince the Ministry of Overseas Development was established as an independent department in 1964, with Barbara Castle as Minister and Sir Andrew Cohen as the first Permanent Secretary, the Department – in various guises and under several different names - has attracted the talents of a remarkable and varied group of people. I believe that the experience of working in international development creates an enduring bond and generates a sense of family and community among all those who have spent even a small part of their career in this field. This has certainly been my own experience of working with DFID, both in London and also in Africa and Asia and at the World Bank in Washington.

The DFID Alumni Association is an innovative new venture which has two main aims:

  • to establish and maintain contact among both retired and serving staff, and
  • to facilitate the exchange of information about progress in international development.

The Association is being established with the active encouragement of the Secretary of State and the Permanent Secretary, and with the support of the DFID Management Board, who all recognize the value of helping to create a way for people to keep in touch with the organisation and with each other.

It makes good sense for DFID to strengthen links with former employees since they offer an extensive reserve of knowledge and experience of international development issues. The Association will provide a forum in which the Department can take soundings about policies and ideas from a group of people who know what they’re talking about and in many cases may offer some fresh perspectives. But there is also an important social aspect to this new venture - an opportunity to keep in touch with former colleagues to meet with them from time to time, and to continue to feel part of a unique government department.

The result of the recognition of an important gap to be filled is this new Alumni Association, of which I am delighted to be the first Chairman.

All former staff members are welcome to join and I strongly encourage them to do so.

I look forward to hearing from you in the future and I hope that you enjoy participating in the Association.


Robert Graham-Harrison
Chairman, DFID Alumni Association

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