Steve Feldstein: Helping to draft the Senate's US aid reform plan

Steve Feldstein, a staffer on the Senate foreign relations panel. Photo by: personal collection

He’s asking the hard questions and pushing the U.S. Agency for International Development on a range of important systemic issues. He was one of a few principal staffers for S. 1524, the foreign assistance reform proposal spearheaded by Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders John Kerry and Richard Lugar. As a newcomer to government, he helped advise a prominent U.N. reform panel that was assembled by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and featured three sitting prime ministers and two former presidents, among others.

Yet for Steve Feldstein, a staffer on the Senate foreign relations panel, the path to international development came as much by blood as by design.

“I’ve always been interested in foreign policy, even as a child,” says Feldstein, the product of an immigrant from Hong Kong and a Slavic languages professor whose travels took Feldstein across the globe at an early age. After traveling throughout Asia during college, Feldstein played an active role in Rwanda’s post-conflict reconstruction through the International Rescue Committee. And while his fellow law school classmates were preparing for lucrative careers at prestigious firms, Feldstein decided to return to his true passion.

Although his current post in the halls of Congress is “a bit like drinking from a fire hose,” Feldstein is excited to continue his work on foreign aid reform and Haiti’s reconstruction. In his spare time, he teaches a “Terrorism and the Constitution” class at American University’s School of International Service. Count those students lucky – they have a world-class teacher.

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