THE United States Embassy announced Friday the arrival of Gloria D. Steele, the new director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) Mission to the Philippines.

Steele assumed her duties on July 26, the US Embassy said.

Prior to her present position, Steele headed the Bureau for Global Health at USAid headquarters in Washington, D.C., and earlier served as senior deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia.

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Other USAid assignments of Steele include the Bureau for Africa as an agricultural economist, the Bureau for Science and Technology overseeing applied research on key rural development issues, and the Bureau for Policy and Program Coordination, where she led the development of food security policy.

From 1974-1980, she served as a management consultant to the Philippines' Minister of Agriculture and taught in 1979 business statistics at Letran Graduate School for Business in Manila.

The US Embassy said Steele holds a Master of Science degree in agricultural economics from Kansas State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Maryknoll College in the Philippines.

Since 1961, USAid has provided the Philippines with more than US$4 billion in economic assistance.

This assistance has helped to develop the country's infrastructure, provide training and technical assistance, increase agricultural productivity and economic growth, promote sustainable environmental management, improve health and nutrition, and foster democracy and decentralization.

USAid-Philippines' current programs focus on reducing poverty by strengthening peace in conflict-affected Mindanao, promoting good governance, increasing economic opportunities, protecting the environment, strengthening health services, and improving basic education. (Bong Garcia)