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The former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Arthur “Gene” Dewey, met with more than 70 students today from the AP US Government, AP US History, as well as other advanced history courses. His account of his work under the past six presidents was intriguing.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point with a master’s degree from Princeton, Dewey was a commissioned officer, served as a battalion aviator and an engineer company commander overseas where he flew hundreds and hundreds of hours over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Later, he commanded an engineering company at Fort Stewart, served at the Pentagon in the Office of the Chief of Research and Development, and promoted to Major.  “A very important time in my life, 1968, I was named as a White House Fellow.  For a year I was Assistant to the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. During this time I coordinated United States civilian relief efforts during the Nigerian Civil War and developing the Cross River proposal for delivering humanitarian aid into the Biafra region. By 1970 I returned to the army as the commander for the 222nd Combat Aviation Battalion in the Vietnam War.”

  • 1981- Retired from military and became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau for Programs.
  • 1984–1985- Due to famine in Ethiopia, Dewey convinced Secretary-General of the U.N., Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, to create the United Nations Organization for Emergency Operations in Africa.
  • 1986- UN Secretary-General Pérez de Cuéllar named Dewey a U.N. Assistant Secretary General.
  • 1991- US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, asked Dewey to head the new Office of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance for the former Soviet Union.
  • 1993 – 1997- Dewey led the Congressional Hunger Center, a non-governmental organization where his work energized the U.S. response to the Great Lakes refugee crisis.
  • 1997- Dewey became Professor in Residence at the Army Peacekeeping Institute at Carlisle Barracks.
  • 2002- President George W. Bush nominated Dewey to be Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration.
  • 2005- Before retiring Dewey aided four million refugees from the War in Afghanistan by convincing President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai to create an Afghan Conservation Corps.

Hearing his firsthand accounts of policy-making as well as orchestrating life-changing relief for millions of refugees from the Middle East and Africa helped our students have a better understanding of the work that the US has done over the last several decades to assist refugees worldwide.