About the Author

Fieldwork in Chad

Working for a world beyond poverty for over 17 years. I love being part of one of the greatest global projects ever undertaken by humankind – to eliminate poverty in a holistic sustainable way so that all people have an opportunity to reach their potential and live lives defined by dignity, meaning, and hope. My work has taken me to nearly 40 countries around the globe, where I’ve met amazing people doing incredible things for themselves, their families, and their communities in often extraordinary circumstances. I’ve lived outside my home country for a cumulative 8 years and this has been a critical source of my education as a human.

I’ve had the opportunity to work in fairly diverse ways over the years, including launching a microfinance program in Bolivia, consulting a multinational mining corporation on their corporate social responsibly strategy, designing and leading evaluations of multi-country, multi-million dollar programs, co-creating an econometric model to help combat corruption in Peru, and leading a multinational team of operations auditors. I currently work for a World Vision International (WVI). In my previous role with WVI, I was the global Technical Director of Independent Research and Evaluation (IRE). In 2013, I joined the global Education and Life Skills team as the Youth Viability and Livelihood Senior Specialist, providing thought leadership and global programming guidance for our youth development programming, specifically focused on the three “L’s”: second chance literacy learning, life skills development, and livelihood preparation and support.

I’m also President of the Board of Directors for the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship and the founder and former senior editor of the print and online magazine The Global Citizen. I am also an associate professor at Northwest University, teaching in their MA in International Community Development (ICD) program.  I have a Masters in Public Administration in International Development from Harvard Kennedy School (MPA/ID) on top of a B.A. in International Political Economy from the University of Puget Sound. I do a fair bit of public speaking on themes related to global citizenship, principles and practice of community-driven development, and development theology. For more professional information, you can take a gander at my LinkedIn profile.

This Mexican luchador wanted my tie; I wanted his mask.

I blog as a way to keep my mind engaged with new and ongoing conversations about international development. As often as not, I’m exploring ideas that I may not be totally wed to, so I reserve the right to change my mind about things I’ve said here. I’m not one of those bloggers that posts something every week; in fact, I’m more likely to disappear without warning for months at a time. But, I promise to try and write things worthy of your reading time when I do post. (BTW, I’m the guy on the left in this photo in case you weren’t sure.)

I like mountain climbing, beating on West African hand drums, cooking, sharing good wine with friends, going regicidal on those who will still play chess with me, and I practice a number of martial arts, focusing on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’m a Christian with Anabaptist leanings. I’m a former widower who has been married for the past 13 years with a wonderful and beautiful woman from Bolivia. We have two children, a boy of nine and daughter of five. We recently returned from about three years in Bogotá, Colombia and are now living in Seattle, Washington, USA.

You can follow me on Twitter at Aaronausland or on Facebook at Staying For Tea. You can write me an email at theglobalcitizen(at)me.com. (Obviously use @ instead of (at) – it’s written like that to keep robot fishers from spamming me.)

Relaxing with yerba mate in Santiago de Chiquitos, Bolivia

14 Comments on “About the Author”

  1. Terry Gray
    July 16, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    Thanks Aaron for the invite to your blog. I will look forward to learning from your experiences. All the very best.

  2. Elliot Stockstad
    July 16, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Good stuff, Aaron. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Diana Huang
    July 17, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    Un blog buenisimo y sumamente interesante! Voy a seguir a este blog con frecuencia! Tambien pasare esta pagina a mis amigos quienes estan trabajando para Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) y otras ONGs. Fuerte abrazo!

  4. August 11, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    Congratulations on “Staying for Tea.” In looking it over, I have an immediate affinity and I hope that we can find a way to collaborate.

    In working with international development agencies over the years, I found myself continually experiencing the limitations of donor-controlled, project-based funding and the need for community-driven development initiatives that were genuinely responsive to local needs. Much of the feedback from colleagues over the years echoes the same.

    That’s why I’m launching http://www.how-matters.org.

    My blog explores the skills and knowledge needed by all international “do-gooders” to truly raise the level of human dignity within international assistance and to put real resources behind local means of overcoming obstacles. From my perspective, it’s not about what we do, but HOW we do it.

    Postings include good practices, reflection & rumination, guest bloggers, links and resources, and will (hopefully) inspire dialogue among a fuller, more inclusive community of those involved with foreign aid and international assistance around the world.

    I would appreciate if you would include “How Matters” in your list of related blogs. I’ve already done the same for Staying for Tea.

    How-matters.org is an expression of my professional, but more importantly, a personal resolve to nurture alternative models of international development that genuinely build on the dignity, knowledge, skills, culture, and abilities of local people.

    The journey begins…and thanks for your support.

  5. September 23, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Hi Aaron,

    I couldn’t find any contact information so I decided to leave a comment here.

    I’m Andrew Dunkle and I currently serve as the senior editor of GoOverseas.com. We are contacting you with regard to your blog, which the editorial staff at GO! Overseas has selected as one of the top blogs related to volunteering abroad. As recognition of your outstanding writing skills we are delighted to include your blog in a select list of websites representing volunteering abroad. We select only the most exceptional blogs that meet our exacting standards and we hope you feel a sense of pride that you have been recognized for your efforts. You may view this list on our website here:


    You are welcome to display one of the image badges we have created specifically for blogs we feature. This is an easy way to let your readers know that you have been recognized as an outstanding blogger. You may contact us to receive a image badge via email.

    Thank you for all the high quality content you have contributed to the global online community. We look forward to continuing to follow your experiences abroad. If you have questions about GO! Overseas please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Warm regards,
    Andrew Dunkle

    Andrew Dunkle
    Senior Editor

  6. sarah
    August 9, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    This is a great resource for students creating an essay on ‘poorism’ or poverty tourism – really enjoyed your comments and will use them in my ‘critical analysis’ of the issue… hope that’s ok 🙂

    • August 9, 2011 at 7:53 am #

      Thank you Sarah. Glad you find the posts useful. You are, of course, welcome to cite or quote any of the material I post here.

  7. June 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    I thought you might be a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Your background has all the makings of someone that would do Peace Corps and also your emphasis on volunteering and being global. In any case you have good interesting reads on here. Thanks

  8. Jim Hunt
    June 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    I read the thoughtful critique of Socckets and was impressed by both the factual basis of the analysis as well as the examination of trade-offs. I also enjoyed the rebuttals. I do not agree that Socckets is “much ado about nothing.” I might be the low hanging fruit of misguided development work, but there needs to be some sort of public forum on these initiatives and issues that may mask a naive view of the “needs of the poor.” Thanks for your continued efforts in this area.

  9. Jim Hunt
    June 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    I read the thoughtful critique of Socckets and was impressed by both the factual basis of the analysis as well as the examination of trade-offs. I also enjoyed the rebuttals. I do not agree that Socckets is “much ado about nothing.” It might be the low hanging fruit of misguided development work, but there needs to be some sort of public forum on these initiatives and issues that may mask a naive view of the “needs of the poor.” Thanks for your continued efforts in this area.

  10. June 7, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Hello Aaron! What you are doing is great! Could I share a post on volunteering with you and your audience?
    Denys, Ukraine

  11. May 6, 2016 at 10:21 pm #

    5/4/2016 – Hesperia, CA


    TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE, the brain child of noted travel agent/writer/speaker David Holman, has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Travel With Purpose is a website and mobile app designed to connect travelers who want to make an impact with volunteer opportunities around the world.

    “We are excited by the early success of our campaign”, said Holman, “In a few weeks we’ll be in full development mode. Our intention is to make it easier for people to connect with non-profits and NGO’s as they travel. We hope to vastly increase the number of people who decide to make a difference in the world, rather than be passive observers.”

    Voluntourism is already one of the fastest growing segments of the global travel industry. Travel With Purpose aims to both facilitate and increase that growth.
    For more information on Travel With Purpose, contact David Holman at 760.265.3687 or by email at daveholman@verizon.net. The Kickstarter campaign can be found at kickstarter.com/projects/travelwithpurpose/travel-with-purpose-mobile-app


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    […] traveler and development practitioner Aaron Ausland keeps a blog called Staying for Tea. In this blog he builds off of his experiences from living in […]

  2. Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! | Modern Social Impact - July 2, 2014

    […] great example that I like to reference is Aaron Ausland’s, Staying for Tea. I have my students read this article specifically because the personal story […]

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