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Memoirs of an Agent for Change in International Development

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Lu Rudel describes his unique experiences with U.S. economic aid programs during some of the most dramatic international events since World War II. These include Iran after the fall of Mosaddegh (1956–1960); Turkey after the military coup of 1960 and continuing to the start of the Cuban Missile crisis; India after the death of Nehru (1965–1970); and Pakistan following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988. Rudel’s firsthand observations on Iran differ markedly from the description of events commonly espoused by some historians and journalists.

His memoir also provides a firsthand account of the political metamorphosis over the past half-century of the “Group of 77” nations, as they attempted to employ the UN’s economic development agencies to press for a “New International Economic Order.” These experiences lead him to draw important lessons about the conduct and effectiveness of foreign aid.

After retirement in 1980 Rudel launched a second career, applying lessons learned from his work in international development to creating and running a thousand-acre land development and resort in rural Appalachia. His experiences over the ensuing thirty years as an entrepreneur track the relentless growth of government regulations and the disappearance of community support institutions such as local banks, now being replaced by megabanks. A final chapter examines global trends of the past eighty years in four critical areas of change affecting our lives––population growth, science and technology, economic systems, and political structures––to draw some surprising conclusions and projections.

LUDWIG “LU” RUDEL, a Holocaust survivor from Vienna, came to the United States in 1938. A 1952 graduate of City College of New York, his graduate studies at NYU were interrupted by two years of service in the U.S. Army. In 1956 he joined the International Cooperation Administration and served succeeding U.S. foreign aid programs in various roles until 1980. He also developed and ran the Glendale Yearound community in Appalachian Pennsylvania until 2002.