Welcome to a Development and Aid Memoir

by a Third-Generation Boulderite, Joe Stepanek

Implicated In My Life - A Memoir Rooted in Poor-World Development

See his world as he lived in Boulder, Colorado and in eleven poor countries, see Boulder change these sixty years, see world-wide travel, fun and development purpose up close. Joe Stepanek spins a story of living abroad, of endless travel and adventure as well as of development commitment and achievement in the poor world through his career with U.S. foreign aid, the United States Agency for International Development.

He also takes us on hikes down into Utah's slot canyons, up Asian volcanoes, and spins stories along the way for the fun of it, and with a point. Joe, with his wife Caroline Holmes, the Judge's daughter, and their three daughters, Julia, Ahlia and Vanessa, take you along for a considerable, sometimes bumpy, even dangerous ride. While in Boulder he helped lead Boulder's Rocky Mountain Rescue Group and The Boulder-Dushanbe Sister Cities Board. Beyond just travel, share a sense of history and speculations about ethics and our future on a small planet.

Economist, writer, traveler, husband and father, Joe was schooled here and overseas, graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Ph.D. in economics. He has published two professional books on development based in Asia and Africa.

Africa Development and aid

"Also" by Joe Stepanek

Africa Development

Wringing Success from Failure in Late-Developing Countries -Lessons from the Field

By Joseph F. Stepanek, Ph.D., Praeger Publishers

Dr. Joseph F. Stepanek has written a riveting story about the third world -- a powerful development mandate on behalf of the world's poor people. Twenty-five years of field work in Asia and Africa have forced the author to write a book that is the first of its kind about development and foreign aid - comprehensive, candid, and constructive. Few authors have attempted to marry economic and political issues in order to promote poor-world ownership and development sustainability Stepanek's mandate sets a standard by which future assessments of development will be judged. No redirection of development theory and practice, or reform of foreign aid, will be effective unless the challenges he raises and addresses are squarely faced.

Current publications on development, africa development and foreign assistance are usually politically correct, patronizing, money-driven, or simply critical. This book balances these extremes by illustrating what works and can work well. It engages the reader in topics that are often skirted by other authors: it analyzes mismanagement, corruption, and aid dependency; it discusses democracy as a requirement for economic growth and public participation; and it balances aid failures with constructive prescriptions.

Development has alleviated poverty in many countries during the 50 years since the end of the second World War, yet half of mankind remains poor; a fifth are very poor. Poverty is not a state of nature but can be ascribed to manmade institutions that reflect self-serving and self-indulgent ideologies, poorly tested theories and policies, weak governments, and even poverty alleviation programs that are questionably designed and poorly administered. Ten chapters document ways forward for this world, mostly an African one, in the new millennium.

Joe Stepanek's thesis has two parts: first, poverty cannot be alleviated without challenging all of its root causes; and second, well-designed development strategies and foreign assistance programs can create growth and reduce poverty. Western governments, international banks, and donor agencies must re-examine how they design and administer foreign aid.

Stepanek is optimistic, yet candor dogs his heels. Helping the poor world overcome its continuing poverty is a daunting task -- but not impossible. Africa's own leaders have seldom given their own people a place in the sun. Africans must be given a chance. The final Chapter 10 summarizes and reassesses the prescriptions offered along the way. Stepanek believes that the United States must continue to be a firm and creative voice for effective foreign aid.

Stepanek covers a lot of ground, he tells a simple story, but real issues are not easily simplified. His contributions as a whole are two-fold: First, Africa's future can be seen with optimism, provided candor and seriousness guide attention and resources. Second, he explains how America can continue to lead development in the still-poor world while at the same time keeping responsibility and ownership where it belongs - with Africans themselves.

Joe Stepanek served AID for twenty-five years, first as economist, and then as director in Tanzania and Zambia. Following five years in Bangladesh, he published Bangladesh - Equitable Growth? Pergamon Press, 1979. Joe and his wife Caroline now live back in their home at the base of the Rocky Mountains, in Boulder, Colorado.

CONTACT the Author:
He can be reached at 720 11th St. Boulder, CO 80302; telephone 303-544-0881; and via E-mail: jcvstep@infionline.net.
The book's web page is: www.stepanek.org

The book's audience includes development and foreign assistance experts, students, scholars, and institutions in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and in the developing world. The book can also be used as a supplemental or collateral text for courses in economics, agricultural economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, African studies, and for global issues, africa development, development administration, food security, green revolution agriculture, and comparative democracies.

africa development USAID Bangladesh

USAID-Bangladesh, 1977
Author, the late Nizam Uddin Ahmed, on author's left,
and Dhaka AID Staff.
USAID Tanzania - sustainability

USAID-Tanzania, 1991
Author and Dar es Salaam AID Staff

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