Interview with Catherine Johnson, Country Representative, USAID/Albania

Welcome to Albania! What are your initial impressions?

I have been delighted with the warm welcome that Albanians have given me. I find the country quite beautiful, and enjoy the delicious cuisine. And of course the sunshine is wonderful!

Why did you choose to come to Albania?

Much of my career has been focused on Eastern Europe. I’m glad to be in the Balkans. Albanians are working hard to make a real difference in their country, and it’s a privilege to assist their efforts.

Today is Women’s Equality Day. As a woman in a high-level position, what advice do you have for women looking to take on leadership roles at work or in their communities?

Step up to the plate! Stand up and be counted! As Katherine Mansfield once said: “Be all that you are capable of becoming.”

What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as USAID Director in Albania?

Ultimately, our programs seek to assist Albania on its path to EU integration. We’ll work even more closely within the Embassy and with our interagency partners to further United States government objectives. Judicial reform represents our highest priority.

Do you have a message for Albanian citizens?

Albania is a wonderful country, blessed with natural resources and educated, talented citizens. Much has been achieved in a relatively short amount of time. Be optimistic about the future — “Be the change you want to see.”