Rye Barcott

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Rye Barcott
Rye Barcott Full Color 2017.jpg
Born1979 (age 39–40)
ResidenceNorth Carolina, USA
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Harvard University
U.S. military
OrganizationCarolina for Kibera
Double Time Capital
With Honor
TitleCofounder & CEO
Spouse(s)Tracy Barcott
WebsiteIt Happened on the Way to War

Rye Barcott (born 1979) is a social entrepreneur and the author of the memoir It Happened on the Way to War. He previously co-founded Carolina for Kibera and Double Time Capital. He was a human intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps, achieving the rank of captain. Currently, he is the CEO of With Honor, a new movement led by veterans focused on building a cross-partisan coalition of next-generation veterans in the United States Congress in order to help fix our America's broken, hyper-polarized politics.

Background and early life[edit]

Barcott was born in Rhode Island. His father attended Miami University on an Reserve Officers' Training Corps scholarship and went on to serve in the Marines' 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion during the Vietnam War. His father left the Marines as a captain after receiving a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart in combat. His parents met as graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Barcott's mother is a nurse and anthropologist who teaches at the University of Rhode Island.[1] Barcott initially applied to the United States Naval Academy but was turned down. As a result, he instead applied for an NROTC scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Barcott attended East Greenwich High School. He graduated in 2001 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied economics and anthropology. He attended UNC on a four-year U.S. Marine Corps NROTC Scholarship. In 2009, Barcott graduated with an MPA and MBA from Harvard University as a Center for Public Leadership Social Entrepreneurship Fellow and George Leadership Fellow. Harvard University President Drew Faust appointed him to a two-year term on the Harvard Endowment's Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, and he served as a founding member of the movement to create an MBA Oath.[2] He was elected as a member of the Harvard University Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2016.[3] _

Military service[edit]

Barcott served five years on active duty in the Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of captain and deployed to Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq.[4] In 2006, he provided written testimony to the Iraq Study Group and authored an article about the Iraqi Military Intelligence Academy in Proceedings, the professional journal of the U.S. Navy.[5] ABC World News with Charles Gibson covered his work in Kibera and his military service in Iraq and named him a Person of the Week and a 2006 Person of the Year.[6] The ABC World News story quoted him encouraging young Americans to expose themselves "to how the majority of the world lives … and I think it'll make you a lot more appreciative of what you've got … make you a better American and a better global citizen."

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Barcott with the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. The President of the United States appointed him to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board as a representative of the veteran community.[7]


Barcott is the author of the critically acclaimed[8] memoir It Happened on the Way to War (Bloomsbury Publishing). The book's dedication to Carolina For Kibera cofounders Salim Mohamed and Tabitha Atieno Festo includes a phrase that captures the central theme of the book: "Talent is universal; opportunity is not."

In 2001, Barcott co-edited with Dr. Carolyn Pumphrey Armed Conflict in Africa, a book that analyzed the sources of violence in Africa. His post-9/11 letters with Salim Mohamed were published in Andrew Carroll's War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars (Scribner, 2001). He contributed to Passion and Purpose, 27 Views of Charlotte, and 65 Successful Harvard Business School Application Essays. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post,[9] The New York Times,[10] and CNN.[11]

In 2007, he delivered the commencement address to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health.[12] He is the 2018 commencement speaker for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[13] As an inaugural TED Fellow, he gave a TED speech on "The Power of Participatory Development."[14] He is represented by the American Program Bureau and frequently speaks at colleges and high schools.

It Happened on the Way to War was one of four books selected for the TED 2011 Book Club, and was named best nonfiction title in 2011 by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.[15] In 2011, Reader's Digest named the book as one of four top nonfiction titles of the year.

Dartmouth College awarded Barcott a Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2016.[16]

Social enterprise and career[edit]

Carolina for Kibera[edit]

While an undergraduate at the UNC in 2001, Barcott founded Carolina for Kibera (CFK) in Kenya with Salim Mohamed and Tabitha Atieno Festo. CFK started as a small inter-ethnic soccer program and medical clinic run out of Festo's ten-by-ten foot shack. Today it is a major affiliated entity of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. More than 5,000 youth participate in its holistic youth programs, and the Tabitha Clinic treats more than 20,000 patients a year in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[17]

Double Time Capital[edit]

Barcott co-founded Double Time Capital in 2013 as an impact investment firm focused on clean energy and sustainability. As of February 2017, "Double Time has financed 36 solar energy projects, which collectively produce roughly 10% of North Carolina's solar power and power around 30,000 homes in the state."[18] At that time, North Carolina was the second ranked state in the United States based on the cumulative amount of solar electric capacity installed.[19]

With Honor[edit]

Barcott co-founded With Honor in 2017 with David Gergen and other veterans. With Honor is a cross-partisan movement led by veterans focused on increasing the number of next-generation veterans in Congress in order to advocate for changes in America's politics. With Honor's advisory board includes post-9/11 veterans, Gold Star family members, and other prominent American public figures.[20]


  1. ^ "Professor Donna Schwartz-Barcott URI profile".
  2. ^ "Who We Are - The MBA Oath".
  3. ^ "HAA Board of Directors" (PDF). alumni.harvard.edu. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  4. ^ Barcott on It Happened on the Way to War at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library
  5. ^ Barcott, Rye. ""No Torture"-It's a Start". usni.org. Proceedings Magazine. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  6. ^ "American in Iraq Fights Two Wars at Once". ABC News. 4 May 2007.
  7. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". ObamaWhiteHouseArchives.gov. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  8. ^ Ghosh, Bobby (2011-05-23). "Do Former Soldiers Make the Best Social Workers? | World | TIME.com". Globalspin.blogs.time.com. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
  9. ^ Rye Barcott (2011-05-30). "All Americans have a duty to honor Memorial Day". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
  10. ^ Barcott, Rye (2011-05-18). "When It Comes to Helping Others: Just Do It - NYTimes.com". Kristof.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
  11. ^ Barcott, Rye. "Why military veterans make great employees". CNN.com. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Commencement weekend: School of Public Health welcomes new alumni". SPH.UNC.edu. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  13. ^ Cook, Jeni. "Rye Barcott, social entrepreneur, to speak at UNC-Chapel Hill Commencement". UNCNews.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Rye Barcott - TED Fellow - TED.com".
  15. ^ "North Carolina Literary and Historical Association Award Winners Database". ncdcr.gov. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  16. ^ Silverstein, Hannah. "Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee to Speak at Commencement". News.Dartmouth.edu. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  17. ^ Center For Strategic and International Studies, The Commission on Smart Global Health Policy, August 10, 2009
  18. ^ Quittner, Jeremy. "These Marines Beat the Odds to Build a Solar Energy Fund". Fortune.com. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  19. ^ "North Carolina Solar". SEIA.org. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  20. ^ "With Honor Advisors". WithHonor.org. Retrieved March 30, 2018.

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