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I don’t know when I started trying to understand things coming over the horizon that would have an impact on my life and on the rest of the world. There is some evidence that I was doing this in the 1960s. Since then I seem to have developed a pretty good nose for what’s coming, and had some success in writing about it. However, like Don Quixote, much of my work looks like tilting at windmills.

I don’t know when I started building bridges, but it was certainly at the heart of what I was doing as a Peace Corps volunteer in India in the mid-1960s. It was most visible in the work I did on international volunteer service at the Brookings Institution around 2003, which led to the formation of the Building Bridges Coalition, the association of international volunteer service programs in the United States. I am now preoccupied with creating bridges to peace and well-being through education in Myanmar/Burma.

For most of my career, I was labeled as an economist, based on majoring in economics as an undergraduate at Princeton University. But I’ve never been a fan of economists, so a few years ago I decided to label myself as a “writer”. Thus, the purpose of this website is to showcase my best writing. More importantly, it motivates me to write up the best of the ideas that I’ve been collecting in file folders for more than a decade.

Who am I? In a nutshell. Born in New York City in 1941. Grew up in Manhasset on the North shore of Long Island, New York State. Spent my junior and senior high school years at Phillips Academy in Andover MA. Earned my B.A. from Princeton University, graduating as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy out of the NROTC program.

The Navy sent me to shore duty in Saigon, Vietnam and my year there was the wildest in my life. At the end of my second year, assigned to the Twelfth Naval District in San Francisco CA, I was accepted into the two-year M.A.L.D. program at the Fletcher School, Tufts University in Medford MA, but deferred admission to serve in the Peace Corps in India.

After graduating from Fletcher, my plan was to work in Indonesia with the Ford Foundation or USAID or the International Nickel Company. It did not succeed, but I got married in 1969 and started working with the International Paper Company in New York City. A chance to work with the USAID Mission in Jakarta materialized in mid-1971.

We moved to Washington DC in the summer of 1973. USAID was kind enough to provide a job for me on the Indonesia Desk at headquarters. However, I lost the USAID job in an OPEC oil crisis-driven Reduction in Force. Happily, the Treasury Department hired me and I spent 18 terrific years there, walking to my office from the 4-story row house in the Dupont Circle neighborhood that we bought as a “shell” and started

renovating largely by ourselves. Our roots in DC grew so fast and went so deep that I’m still living there, in the same neighborhood, almost 50 years later.

When my career at Treasury seemed to be at a dead end in 1994, I was lucky to be offered a senior position in the Institute of International Finance, the association of the global financial industry. In 2001, I left the IIF and a year later joined the Brookings Institution. My ticket into Brookings was a book on the sovereign debt restructuring process. I stayed at Brookings for 18 years because I was given a lot of independence and encouragement, and it was located only four blocks from our home.

I “retired” from Brookings at the end of 2019 and then spent two transitional years affiliated with The Stimson Center. Because the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to do the kind of international traveling required to pursue my policy research projects, I parted with Stimson at the end of 2021 to strike out on my own (not in the baseball sense). My current preoccupation is launching Parami University as an online, degree-granting higher education institution serving students in Myanmar/Burma. I have been a member of its Board of Trustees since September 2020.

Click to View Bibliography of Publications


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