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AFSA Dissent Awards

AFSA Scholarship


Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. theodore.s.davis

Clements Worldwide

Embassy Risk Management

The Hirshorn Company

IE School of

International Relations

Inside A U.S. Embassy

McGrath Real Estate Services

PROMAX Management Inc.

University of Kentucky/

Patterson School

WJD Management

USAID notes that the maximum amount

of time aid workers can stand to wear the

suit without a break in the hot climate

is 40 minutes, severely limiting the time

they can spend caring for the sick and


To nd a solution to this problem,

USAID joined with the White House

O ce of Science and Technology, the

Centers for Disease Control and Preven-

tion and the Department of Defense to

launch “Fighting Ebola: A Grand Chal-

lenge for Development.”

Part of a programUSAID rolled out in

2011, the “Grand Challenge” initiatives

are rooted in the agency’s belief that sci-

ence and technology can have “transfor-

mational e ects,” and that engaging the

world in the quest for solutions is “critical

to instigating breakthrough progress.”

( ere have been ve previous Grand

Challenges, covering literacy, safe water

and maternal health).

e Ebola Grand Challenge (see www. seeks to iden-

tify ideas that would deliver practical and

cost-e ective innovations quickly.


prize for the winning ideas is $5 million in

grant money.

e challenge opened for submis-

sions in early October and accepted

ideas through a formal grant process and

through an open platform. As the open

platformwebsite noted, “some of the

brightest solutions may be found in the

most unthinkable corners.” (To view

some of the open platform ideas see


USAID reports that 1,250 ideas were

submitted: 600 through the open innova-

tion platform and 650 through the formal

grant process. Of these, 25 semi nalists

were invited to Washington, D.C., on Nov.

14, to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges

fromUSAID, CDC and DoD. Five nalists

were selected from this group to go on to

the next stage.

e ideas pitched took novel

approaches to the problems of the hot

PPE suits. One group of undergradu-

ate students from Columbia University

demonstrated a suit that included an

internal cooling pouch and an absorbent

lining to soak up sweat. Another company

group pitched cooling packs—originally

intended for athletes—as inserts for the

PPE suits.

Wendy Taylor, director of USAID’s

Center for Accelerating Innovation, told

e Washington Post that USAID

will help

selected teams create prototypes and

mass-produce the designs quickly.

USAID announced the winner of the

Ebola Grand Challenge as this issue went

to press. Look for more in the March

edtion of “Talking Points.”

—Debra Blome, Associate Editor

Reel vs. Real


ov. 4 was not just Election Day, but

also the 35th anniversary of the rst

day of the Iran hostage crisis. To mark

the occasion, the Central Intelligence

Agency’s social media team spent the

day sending 20 tweets about “Argo,” Ben

A eck’s 2012 lm about the CIA’s rescue

of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during

the crisis.

ose tweets are now available in a

slideshow contrasting the “Reel Argo”

with the “Real Argo” at:


Of course, faithful


readers are

already well aware of the di erences

between the ctionalized account and

what actually happened. We ran FSO

Mark Lijek’s rst-person account, “‘Argo’: How Hollywood Does History,” in the October 2012 issue.

—Steven Alan Honley,

Contributing Editor