Kent Larson has spent his thirty plus year career in a mix of development and military service. He is a USAID Foreign Service Officer and has managed development and humanitarian assistance projects in the former Soviet Union and Iraq. Designated to assume the duties of Country Director for USAID/Moldova in July 2011, Mr. Larson currently manages coverage of the USAID program in Eurasia (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). Before returning to Washington D.C. in 2009, he managed the USAID contribution to the interagency Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) program in Iraq, supervising 44 professional staff on 28 teams throughout the country. Before assuming this responsibility, he was the USAID Representative on the Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), where he served as senior development advisor and manager for USAID projects throughout Baghdad province. In all, Mr. Larson served in Iraq from 2006-2009.
His development career began in 1993 when he led food distribution projects in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, before moving to Armenia to manage a complex heating fuel distribution project during a time of open hostilities, civil war, and general chaos in the SouthCaucasus. Joining USAID in 1994, he managed humanitarian assistance, microfinance, civil society, community development, and health projects in the South Caucasus. In 1999 he was assigned to Tbilisi, Georgia to direct the Office of Health and Social Development, with responsibility for projects in both Georgia and Azerbaijan, which ranged from relief to development, many oriented on the social and economic disruption in the aftermath of the conflicts in Chechnya, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
A Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, now retired, Mr. Larson was recalled to active duty in 2004, during which time he deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan while working with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization to devise countermeasures to those weapons. Prior to his relief and development work, he served on active duty in the U.S. Army, first as a Field Artillery Officer and then as a Russia/Eurasia Foreign Area Officer.
Raised in Illinois, he graduated with a BSFS from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. His MA is in Russian History from Arizona State University. His foreign languages include Russian and German. He is married, with seven children and eight grandchildren.