- Senior Advisor—Emeritus, International Development & Government Relations
Areas of Expertise
- Policy reform
- Organizational development and capacity building
- Economic growth
- International program management
Aaron Williams continues to provide expertise and support for efforts to strengthen RTI’s relationship with federal and state government agencies, policymakers, and elected officials. In this role, he draws on his extensive experience with both RTI and the federal government.
Mr. Williams joined RTI in 2003, as vice president of international business development, and held that position until 2009. He served as executive vice president of RTI’s international development group from 2012-2015, and as executive vice president of RTI's government relations and corporate communications group. Since 2017 he has served as Senior Advisor for Government Relations.
His long and distinguished career in public service and the private sector began with three years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. He served as a senior official at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he reached the rank of career minister in the Senior Foreign Service. His awards include the USAID Distinguished Career Service Award and the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service. In 2009 he was appointed by President Barack Obama as Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, serving in that role through 2012.
Mr. Williams has extensive experience in the strategic design and management of assistance programs in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He is a frequent lecturer and panelist on international development topics at universities, research and policy institutes, and at US and global conferences.
Mr. Williams is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on the Board of Directors of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, Seed Global Health, ChildFund International, and George Washington University – Elliott School of International Affairs’ Advisory Board. He has also served on the boards of directors of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, CARE, the National Peace Corps Association, and the Institute for Sustainable Communities. He is an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina - Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Mr. Williams served on the Obama-Biden transition team. In 2015, he was appointed by President Barack Obama as the U.S. Alternative Representative to the executive board of the United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF). He is a frequent lecturer and panelist on international development topics at universities, research and policy institutes, and U.S. and global conferences. During his tenure as Peace Corps director, he led White House delegations to the 2012 presidential inauguration in Guatemala and to the bicentennial celebration of the independence of Paraguay in 2011.
Mr. Williams is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from American University, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, North Central College, St. Mary's College, and received the UCLA Medal, awarded for exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement.
Mr. Williams received his MBA in Marketing and International Business, University of Wisconsin, and his BS in Geography/Education from Chicago State University.