Philip H. Coombs
Philip Hall Coombs was born in 1915 at Holyoke, MA; he died on Feb 15, 2006 in Chester, CT. His undergraduate study was at Amherst College and post-grad work was at the University of Chicago. He taught economics at Williams College and was a program director for education at the Ford Foundation.
Coombs was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to be the first Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Culture in February, 1961. He was an advocate for overhauling the educational system, saying that every school district should put 2% of its money into educational research and hire a "Vice President in charge of heresy."  During his stint in this post, he went to live in Paris, organizing the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning. This UNESCO-created group advised countries on improvements to their systems of education. Being dissatisfied with the pace of change, he resigned from the U.S. State Department in 1962 and, from 1963 to 1968, held the post of Director of the IIEP. He served as vice-chair and chair of the International Council of Economic Development until 1992, when he retired.
During his career he wrote several books on foreign policy and education. He was married to Helena Brooks for 65 years and had two children, Peter B. Coombs and Helena H. Weeks.
- Problems of economic mobilization (Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C. Economic mobilization course), by Philip H Coombs, 1947
- Education and Foreign Aid: Ways to Improve United States Foreign Educational Aid (from the Burton Lectures) by Philip H. Coombs, 1965
- The World Educational Crisis-a System Analyze, Oxford University Press, 1968
- Managing Educational Costs, by Philip H. Coombs and Jacques Hallak. 1972
- Attacking Rural Poverty: How Nonformal Education Can Help, A research report for the World Bank. Edited by Barbara Baird Israel, by Philip H. Coombs with Manzoor Ahmed, 1974
- Education for Rural Development (Praeger special studies in international economics and development) by Manzoor Ahmed and Philip H. Coombs, 1975
- Meeting the Basic Needs of the Rural Poor: The Integrated Community-Based Approach (Pergamon policy studies on international development), by Philip H. Coombs, 1980
- The World Crisis in Education: The View from the Eighties, by Philip H. Coombs, 1985
- Education and Foreign Aid: Ways to Improve United States Foreign Educational Aid (Burton Lectures) by Philip H. Coombs, 1988
- Fourth Dimension of Foreign Policy, by Philip H Coombs, 1990
- Obituary, Foreign Service Journal at the Wayback Machine (archived July 13, 2007)
- New York Times obituary
- Obituary from the IIEP newsletter, Apr-June, 2006
- International Institute for Educational Planning website
|Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
March 23, 1961 – June 4, 1962
Lucius D. Battle