Media Center

Press Release


  May 10, 2004

Ronald Scheman concluded his tenure as Director General of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD), with the Organization of American States Permanent Council lavishing praise on his vision and creative energy as the first head of the OAS technical assistance agency.

Thanking the Permanent Council members, Scheman reviewed the challenges the four-year old Agency has faced, but reiterated that “Our task has always been to search, to probe, to challenge, to try to make connections, all for our American family, our American community.”

He challenged the Permanent Council about an even stronger emphasis on development and on action to tackle social development, education, and “this huge burden of poverty,” warning that “democracy will not thrive without development.” He asserted as well that “the OAS can be a standard-setter and open the doors to make it possible for the private sector to collaborate in development.”

During the Permanent Council meeting on May 7, Ambassador Miguel Ruiz-Cabanas of Mexico, the Permanent Council’s Chairman, led off the laudations, hailing Scheman’s extraordinary work and creativity. He saluted Scheman as a deeply committed Americanist, who has spent decades promoting ideas for progress and increased economic and social development of our region.

Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) delegations, Grenada’s Ambassador Denis Antoine underlined the importance member states have placed on the Agency. “What the OAS got in Ron Scheman was, indeed, a pioneer,” said Antoine, who went on to observe that Scheman had brought the IACD to a point where it has been able to open many doors.

Panama’s Ambassador Juan Manuel Castulovich described the outgoing IACD Director General as a great official, friend, man of ideas, Latin Americanist and author. “Basically, Ronald has been a spokesman for the Americas in Washington and an Ambassador of Washington.”

United States Alternate Representative, Ambassador Timothy Dunn, highlighted Scheman’s distinguished service as characterized by optimism and vision. He said Scheman applied these as the first Director General, to build the scholarship programs and to introduce the OAS to the world of corporate partnerships and the potential for leveraging funds for development. Dunn cited the Educational Portal of the Americas among notable accomplishments.

Mexico’s Alternate Representative, Ernesto Campos, speaking on behalf of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) group, noted the IACD chief was always implementing innovative ideas, especially technology-related ones, to foster development in member countries.

Guatemala’s Ambassador Francisco Villagrán de León, on behalf of the Central American Group, singled out Scheman’s emphasis on e-government, fellowships, and other initiatives, noting as well the great challenge of laying the foundation for a new entity. He said Scheman tackled the challenge “with intelligence, vision, and deep commitment to hemispheric development.”

For his part, Canada’s Ambassador Paul Durand emphasized how, “He’s done us a great service by bringing to the Agency energy, a host of new ideas, and new initiatives that have put the Agency on a new track.” He pointed to efforts that opened up possibilities for partnership with the private sector, noting as well e-government and best practices initiatives for the member countries to learn from each other.

“Ron Scheman is a believer in the Americas,” OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi declared, saluting Scheman’s creative thrust. He said while Scheman had brought in new ideas, he “did not abandon the old that was useful.”

Reference: E-080/04