Robert P. DeVecchi
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Born in New York City, he graduated Yale University in 1952, then served for two years on active duty with the United States Air Force and in 1956 received an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He served as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State, serving in posts including NATO headquarters in Paris, and U.S. embassies in Warsaw and Rome. In 1969, he became European Director of The Conference Board, based in Paris. In 1972 he became director of Inner Cities Programs and New York Representative of the Save the Children Foundation.
In 1975, Mr. DeVecchi joined the International Rescue Committee as coordinator of its Indochinese Refugee Resettlement Program, then became IRC program director in 1980, executive director in 1985, and President and C.E.O. in 1993. He served in that capacity until he retired in 1997, when he was elected President Emeritus.
According to his biography released in conjunction with his receipt of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Yale University in 2005, Mr. DeVecchi was responsible for initiating emergency relief programs in over twenty-eight countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, El Salvador, Bosnia, and Kosovo. In addition, he initiated a domestic refugee resettlement program in the United States. On average, one million refugees or displaced persons received IRC assistance yearly, and up to ten thousand refugees were permanently resettled. After retiring in 1997, Mr. DeVecchi was appointed Adjunct Senior Fellow for Refugees and the Displaced at the Council on Foreign Relations. Other awards include, in 1996, the Peacemakers Award of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.; 1997, under his leadership, the IRC was awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1 million; and 1998, recipient of the IRC's Freedom Award for his "extraordinary contribution to the cause of refugees and human freedom."