RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Aaron S. Williams has been awarded Emeritus status, in recognition of his long and distinguished career in public service and 12-year contribution to RTI in international program management, policy reform, government relations and communications.
Emeritus status is the highest recognition that RTI bestows on its leaders and a reflection of the recipient’s superior achievements. A reception held today at RTI’s offices in Washington D.C. marks this career highlight for Williams who served as the 18th Director of the Peace Corps and 22 years as a foreign service officer.
“We are proud to bestow the status of ‘Emeritus’ on Aaron Williams, whose leadership contributions had significant and positive impacts on people around the world,” said E. Wayne Holden, president and CEO of RTI. “Aaron’s expertise with complex education, health and governance programs has led to innovative and enduring solutions.”
Attending the reception and honoring Williams included colleagues, associates and friends, including Members of Congress, and representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), the Peace Corps, and the International Youth Foundation.
Speaking at the event, Paul Weisenfeld, executive vice president of RTI’s International Development Group, said of Williams, “I am grateful to have spent more than 10 years working with Aaron at two organizations producing enormous impact – USAID and RTI. I am very proud of what Aaron has accomplished over decades of successes and challenges and honored to have had the opportunity to learn from him," Weisenfeld said.
Williams’ long and distinguished career started as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Later at USAID, he rose to be a Career Minister in the Senior Foreign Service and was awarded the Distinguished Career Service Award and the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Williams as Director of the U.S Peace Corps. Williams was confirmed by the United States Senate in August 2009 and served as director until September 2012. Under William’s leadership, the Peace Corps’ impact was expanded into Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Columbia, Tunisia, and Nepal. He also led the White House delegations to the 2012 presidential inauguration in Guatemala and to the bicentennial celebration of the independence of Paraguay in 2011.
Williams is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from American University, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, North Central College, St. Mary’s College and received the UCLA medal for exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina – Gillings School of Public Health.
A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Williams serves on the Board of Directors of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, Seed Global Health, Child Fund International and George Washington University – Elliott Scholl of International Affairs’ Advisory Board. He has also served on the boards of directors of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, CARE, the National Peace Corps Association, and the Institute for Sustainable Communities. Other career highlights include serving on the Obama-Biden transition team, and an appointment by President Barack Obama as the U.S. Alternative Representative to the executive board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).