On September 12, the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Government of Kosovo will sign a $49 million threshold program, which will focus on reforms to spur economic growth and private investment. The program is designed to increase publicly available and accessible data on the judiciary, the environment, and the labor force to foster more collaborative relationships among government, civil society, and the private sector. It will also encourage investments in energy efficiency and support the adoption of less expensive sources of heating.
Given this, The German Marshall Fund of the Unites States (GMF) invites you to participate in a roundtable conversation with Petrit Selimi, national coordinator of the Millennium Challenge Office within the Government of Kosovo, and Sarah Olmstead, Kosovo country team lead at the Millennium Challenge Corporation — a small U.S. government agency created to fight global poverty in select poor countries with a demonstrated commitment to good governance. The discussion will focus on policy and institutional reforms targeted by the threshold program and aims to explore future opportunities for cooperation between the United States and Kosovo. It will be moderated by GMF Resident Fellow Jonathan D. Katz.
Petrit Selimi is currently leading an Office for Millennium Challenges within the Government of Kosovo, tasked with planning the development of the Threshold Program for MCC. Prior to this, Selimi served for seven years as Kosovo’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Foreign Minister. He has led the portfolio of Kosovo’s accession to multilateral organizations and the country’s active public diplomacy. He has also established award-winning initiatives such as Interfaith Kosovo and Kosovo Digital Diplomacy Initiative. Selimi has studied at University of Oslo and London School of Economics and prior to government work, he was an active member of Kosovo's civil society and media landscape. He was profiled and interviewed in Time Magazine, Wired, New York Times and The Guardian and he has previously lectured on diverse topics at Yale, Georgetown, Harvard, London School of Economics, NYU and New School, among others.
Sarah Olmstead is the country team lead for Kosovo with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and has been an economist at MCC for nearly five years, providing economic guidance and analysis in eight compact countries, including Georgia, Liberia, and the Philippines, among others. Before coming to MCC, Olmstead worked at the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the State Department and the RAND Corporation, focusing in both cases on international development and conflict prevention. Prior to that, she worked in the Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Sarah holds a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School and studied physics at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and Harvey Mudd College.
Jonathan Nash was appointed acting chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in January 2017. With more than 20 years of experience in international development, Nash oversees roughly $4 billion in economic assistance programs aimed at reducing poverty through economic growth and advancing America’s interests around the world. Since joining MCC in 2006, Nash has served as acting principal deputy vice president in the Department of Compact Operations; deputy vice president of infrastructure, environment and private sector; managing director of infrastructure, environment and private sector; senior director for environment and social performance; acting practice leader for the Investment and Trade private sector team; and practice leader for Environment and Social Performance. As managing director and deputy vice president of infrastructure, environment and private sector, he leveraged private-sector participation in the development and implementation of complex infrastructure projects across MCC’s investment portfolio. He has also supported and overseen the development, implementation, and management of dozens of compact projects in more than 40 MCC partner countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific. Prior to MCC, Nash served as a senior analyst at the Government Accountability Office and as a policy analyst with the Population, Health, and Environment Program of the Population Reference Bureau.
Jonathan Katz is a resident fellow with The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) based in the Washington, DC office. Prior to joining GMF, from 2014–17, Katz was the deputy assistant administrator in the Europe and Eurasia Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he managed U.S. development policy, energy security, economic growth and democracy, and governance programs in Europe and Eurasia. He led USAID programs in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Eastern and Central Europe, the Black Sea and Caucasus Regions, the Western Balkans, and regional programs that included Russia. Katz served as the U.S. government co-chair of political, economic, trade and development working groups with the European Union, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Poland, Romania, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Prior to joining USAID, from 2010–14, Katz served as a senior advisor to the assistant secretary in the International Organization Affairs Bureau at the U.S. Department of State. Before joining the State Department in 2010, Katz had several leadership roles at the U.S. Congress.