LONDON, January 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On January 27, DAI will host a gathering of international development professionals at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in Westminster, as part of the celebrations surrounding the firm's 40th anniversary. Among the attendees, DAI is honored to welcome John and Lorna Norgrove, the parents of Linda Norgrove, a DAI employee abducted in the course of her work in Afghanistan and killed in a rescue attempt on October 8, 2010.

In her memory, Linda's parents have set up the Linda Norgrove Foundation (, a grant-giving trust that provides funding for women, families, and children in Afghanistan, focusing on education, health, childcare, and scholarships to help Afghan women go to university.

"Linda was very proud of the work she was doing in Afghanistan with DAI," said John Norgrove. "We are delighted to be able to continue that association by taking advantage of DAI's knowledge and skill base and by doing so help to make a real difference to disadvantaged women and children in Afghanistan."

Hosted by Senior Vice President Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, the January 27 event is one of a series of 40th anniversary celebrations at DAI locations worldwide. The first was held in DAI's Johannesburg office, where DAI President and CEO Dr. James Boomgard presented a cheque for $5,000 to the Amukelani Drop-In Centre, which provides nutrition support, education, and security to almost 300 vulnerable children.

"Holding these events in our international offices is designed to make what could be a retrospective occasion into a forward-looking moment that sets the stage for the next phase in DAI's evolution as a global development company," said Dr. Boomgard. Similar events are planned for DAI's offices in Jordan, Palestine, and Pakistan.

The London event kicks off with a debate titled "Support to the Private Sector: A Sustainable Escape Route from Poverty?" Moderated by Dr. Lob-Levyt, panelists will evaluate the effectiveness of private sector development projects and discuss their proper place in emerging international development strategy. At a reception following the debate, DAI will make a contribution to the Linda Norgrove Foundation, as well as contributions to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Pakistan Floods Appeal and to VSO, an organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries.

Founded in 1970, DAI is an independent, employee-owned, mission-driven development firm. DAI has worked in 160 developing and transition countries, and currently provides development solutions in 60 countries, including programs in crisis mitigation and stability operations, private sector development and financial services, agriculture and agribusiness, democratic governance and public sector management, economics and trade, water and natural resources management, HIV/AIDS and zoonotic disease control, and energy and climate change.