• The Honorable Arthur E. “Gene” Dewey (68-68) 2011 John W. Gardner Legacy of Leadership Award

    The White House Fellows Foundation and Association
    2011 John W. Gardner Legacy of Leadership Award
    is presented to
    The Honorable Arthur E. “Gene” Dewey
    White House Fellow 1968-69

    John W. Gardner challenged all White House Fellows to commit to a lifetime of public service after their Fellowship year, to return to their communities and to become agents of change and renewal while also working to strengthen the White House Fellows Program. For fifty-five years, Arthur E. “Gene” Dewey, a 1968-69 Fellow, has met and exceeded that high standard through two extraordinary careers of selfless service – both as a soldier and a diplomat – to our nation and to the world community in the highest traditions of the White House Fellows Program.

    Leadership, Achievements and Dedication to Public Service: Gene’s distinguished 25-year military career began upon his graduation from West Point in 1956 and included two years’ service in Southeast Asia as an aviator with 1,500 combat flying hours. As an Army Aviation Battalion Commander, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for leading a combined US-South Vietnamese rescue operation in Cambodia. As a White House Fellow in 1968-69, he served at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and was instrumental in devising a ground relief plan for civilian victims in the Nigeria-Biafra struggle. Gene’s last day as a Fellow was spent in Geneva, as the senior U.S. representative, hosting a meeting with the two combatant forces and achieving agreement to removing obstacles to a massive U.S. relief program. Following his fellowship year, he served in command and high level staff positions in the Army, NATO, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs as well as attending the U.S. Army War College and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and serving as a Senior Military Fellow at the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations.

    In 1981, Gene retired from the Army and began a second distinguished career in humanitarian and diplomatic positions when President Ronald Reagan appointed him Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Refugee Programs. The U.N. Secretary General then appointed Gene to serve as the U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in 1986-90. He then returned to the State Department as head of its Office of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance for the former Soviet Union in 1991-93. He next headed the Congressional Hunger Center during 1993-97. In January 2002, President George W. Bush named Gene to be the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), where he managed an annual budget of more than $1 billion and helped orchestrate the return of millions of Afghan refugees. As Secretary of State Colin Powell’s official representative in Afghanistan, Gene also assisted that nation’s successful transition from a coalition military operation to an indigenous political authority. In 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Gene to serve as the U.S. nominee on the highly regarded International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) to observe investigations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Elected by his IIGEP peers to its three-person Executive Committee, Gene was instrumental in developing the procedures by which witnesses on human rights violations could be heard and protected. Although the IIGEP ended in 2008, Gene remains active in many other refugee efforts privately and through his church.

    Support to the WHF Community: Gene also “came back” to the White House Fellows Program to serve as its Director in 1971-72. With the United States still engaged in Vietnam and the Nixon Administration active in foreign policy issues across the globe, Gene expanded the Fellows’ foreign travel experience to provide them greater insight on American interactions with the world. In addition to regional visits of small groups of Fellows to Europe and Africa, he arranged for all of the Fellows in that class to make an around-the-world trip that culminated in a Papal audience at the Vatican. The entire class of 1971-72 Fellows signed a letter to Gene to express their appreciation for “the efforts you have made in the education program and the personal kindness and interest you took in each of us.”

    As Director of the WHF Program, Gene also boosted recruitment, increasing applications by 50% over the average of the preceding six years. His particular focus on the recruitment of women set a new standard and contributed to the increased female representation in later years. He also urged the President’s Commission to drop the original age restriction of 35 years for selection of Fellows and create opportunities for many people who had deferred applying for the Fellowship because of personal circumstances or reasons associated with the start of their careers. Gene thus made enduring improvements in the Program that have resonated for four decades since his Directorship.

    In dedicating his life to the higher calling of helping the poor, starving, and dispossessed members of our world community, Gene Dewey has become America’s foremost servant in the noble cause of global humanitarianism.

    The White House Fellows Foundation and Association is proud to salute Arthur E. “Gene” Dewey, White House Fellow Class of 1968-69, as its 2011 John W. Gardner Legacy of Leadership Award honoree.

    posted: March 31, 2011
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