Special Despatches (No. 5/2021)
The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and its Board of Advisers are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Maria Rendon as the new Director of the Donald F. McHenry Global Public Service Fellows Program.
A retired senior USAID Foreign Service Officer who served in China, Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Eastern Europe, Dr. Rendon joins ISD from the Marine Corps University, where she was a faculty member. Specialized in democracy and governance, civilian-military cooperation, and humanitarian aid, she brings a wealth of experience in the academic and policy worlds to the position.
Dr. Rendon will lead the McHenry Fellows Program into its second full year and serve as the steward of Ambassador Donald F. McHenry‘s vision and generous gift to Georgetown University.
In partnership with the eight master’s degree programs across the School of Foreign Service, the McHenry Fellowship seeks to enhance the recruitment of exceptionally qualified graduate students who are committed to careers in transformational global public service.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Rendon to ISD and the School of Foreign Service as the new Director of the Fellowship Program,” noted ISD Director Ambassador (ret.) Barbara Bodine. “Dr. Rendon brings deep experience in development policy and programs from her work at USAID, as well as broad experience in the interagency, with key U.S. military commands, and with the World Bank. As a Payne Fellows mentor and as a senior instructor at the Marine Corps University she well understands the needs of rising leaders in global service and has a wealth of ideas and proposals to take the McHenry Fellows program to the next level.”
Ambassador McHenry, a member of the ISD Board of Advisers who served as Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy in the School of Foreign Service for over three decades, said of the appointment: “Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, the McHenry Fellows Program is off to an excellent start and can be expected to benefit greatly from the excellent experience and outstanding performance that Dr. Rendon brings to her new position.”
Ambassador (ret.) James I. Gadsden, inaugural Director of the McHenry Fellowship, will remain at Georgetown and continue to lead skills workshops with the Fellows. “I am excited and inspired by Dr. Rendon’s tremendous senior USAID leadership experiences in the field, her close interactions with the U.S. military, her contributions to Washington senior interagency decision-making, and the depth of her engagements in higher education, all of which will strengthen the Program,” he said. “In addition, she will bring expansive creative vision and great enthusiasm for refining the fellows’ capacity to transform lives and well-being throughout the global community during their public service careers. She is clearly the right choice to lead the McHenry Fellows Program toward its full potential.”
As Director, Dr. Rendon will engage students and the broader Georgetown community to develop Fellows’ understanding of, and ability to solve, pressing global challenges. She will guide the Fellowship into its first in-person year, and will work with the first two cohorts of Fellows to enhance their experience in graduate school and their ability to succeed in global public service.
We are delighted that Dr. Rendon has joined the ISD community, and look forward to the work she will do to develop the program in the years to come.