Size: 203 cu. ft.
Collection: The bulk of the material in the collection deals with the NEF's global technical assistance programs after 1930.
Photograph Collection: Yes
Organizational History: The Near East Foundation (NEF) traces its history to 1915 when prominent New Yorkers formed the "Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief" to raise money for Armenian, Syrian, Greek and other refugees from the Ottoman Empire. Chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1919 as "Near East Relief," the
organization was designated as the primary channel for U.S. postwar aid in the region. It undertook major nationwide campaigns to raise funds for its relief work and operated orphanages and other relief agencies in the region. In 1930 the organization was reorganized as the Near East Foundation and altered its focus from providing relief to providing technical assistance in agriculture and public health in rural communities. In American Philanthropy Abroad (1963), Merle Curti argues that "no agency did such effective pioneering in the improvement of community life as a whole and in developing the total personality of its inhabitants as the Near East Foundation did in 48 Macedonian villages in the 1930s and in its postwar programs in Syria, Eritrea, Iran and other countries." The foundation's technical assistance work influenced both President Truman's Point Four program and several U.N. operations. In 1964 the NEF expanded its geographic range of activity into Africa. While the NEF has been most closely identified in the public's mind with Armenian relief and some early material in the collection does relate to this early work, the bulk of the material in the collection deals with the NEF's global technical assistance programs after 1930.
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