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The Making of a Maverick

  • Published: May 2007
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 209
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781425729639
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I seek to show how a farm boy from Minnesota was able to find opportunities for meaningful work in the international field, a combination of luck and a willingness to take risks and chart new paths. I was fortunate to be able to turn an army tour into an employment opportunity that took me on a solo trip around the world arranging for the observation of an annular solar eclipse by teams of scientists.

There followed a six year stint with the CIA in Washington and Ethiopia, which included a chance to read deeply into communism, under the tutelage of an Eastern European refugee intellectual. These readings led me to write a paper on the parallels between the communist systems of control and authoritarianism societies dependant on the control of water. The paper brought me to the attention of David Reisman and of two members of the Ford Foundation staff. After a year spent in the US Commission on Civil Rights, I joined the Ford Foundation staff to open a new office for East and Central Africa. Again I was fortunate to have a boss/mentor in Frank Sutton, one of the Foundation’s senior intellectuals.

I stayed with the Foundation for 15 years, which included a year of mid-career reflections at Harvard, and five years as the Foundation’s representative for the Middle East. My interest in child development stems from this time. Although not part of the Foundation’s program, I was able to sponsor a few projects in the field in the Middle East.

Near the end of my Foundation career, I participated in a study of foreign aid at the Brookings Institution. My topic was technological transfer and I proposed a new institute for handling S & T relationships with developing countries. After two years of planning for the new institute, Congress failed to fund it. I then wrote a paper on US science and the third world for the Kettering Foundation.

Development administration was the focus of my work later in Indonesia, and of a number of short term consulting assignments for the UNDP. I undertook work in Iraq, Oman, Sharjah, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Egypt, designing strategies for improving the functioning of the civil service.

These several strands of my background – organization, human development, science and technology, and public management -- came together upon retirement when I enrolled in the Fielding Institute’s graduate program in human development. There I could guide my own research into the areas of the development process that interested me most. This book seeks to integrate my understanding of the various vectors of development into a coherent whole

It also traces our family’s peregrinations about the world and includes vivid descriptions of some of our adventures by my wife, Penelope.

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