Episcopal Relief and Development names Robert Radtke as new president

Asia expert to lead growing agency; portfolio widened with $8 million for tsunami aid
April 8, 2005

Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has named Robert Radtke, a well-known scholar in Asian political and socio-economic issues, to lead the agency as its next president.

Radtke, 40, will begin work on July 5 after concluding his term as senior vice president for programs at the New York-based Asia Society where he has been a key executive team member for the past decade.


Radtke succeeds Sandra Swan, who is retiring after six years as ERD president. During her tenure, Swan led the agency in a major reorganization and in responding to crises including Hurricane Mitch; civil unrest in Kosovo; the terror attacks of September 11, 2001; and the 2004 South Asian tsunami that has prompted more than $8 million in contributions to ERD.


"I am humbled and thrilled that I have been asked to join in ERD's important work," said Radtke, whose father is an Episcopal priest. "I look forward to working with the wonderful board and staff at ERD as we shape its future together. Episcopalians everywhere can be proud of what ERD has achieved under Sandra's leadership, and I am honored to build on her many accomplishments."


Radtke has been welcomed enthusiastically by ERD's board, and its chairman, Bishop Harry Bainbridge of Idaho. "Rob has the ability to connect his faith with his commitment to Episcopal Relief and Development's ministry of reaching people in need around the world," Bainbridge said.


Adding that Radtke "will help ERD realize its great potential as we move into new territory," Bainbridge called him "a wonderful person of faith who sees his new role as an opportunity to align his professional concerns for the poor, sick and others in need with his faith journey."


From her view as outgoing ERD president, Swan said Radtke "is poised to take the organization to the next level. I am confident that I am leaving Episcopal Relief and Development in extremely capable hands."


Radtke's expertise includes building partnerships for the Asia Society with United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private funding sources, including the Ford Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Before working with the Asia Society, Radtke was vice president of the Business Council for the United Nations. He earned his bachelor's degree in East Asian languages and cultures from Columbia University. He holds a doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.


Radtke is a member of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars and the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as vice chairman of the advisory board of the Center for Religious Inquiry at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City where he is an active parishioner with his wife, Mary Abraham, an attorney. The couple has an eight-year-old daughter, Eva Warren.


He is also a frequent contributor to the media on a broad range of topics, including HIV/AIDS in Asia and U.S.-China relations.


"We are excited about Rob's passion, experience and vision," said Gilda Wray, ERD board member and chair of the search committee. "He will uphold Episcopal Relief and Development's mission, while guiding the organization to greater heights and new directions in international relief and development."


ERD is an independent 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to saving lives and building hope in communities around the world. The agency provides emergency assistance in times of crisis and helps communities rebuild after disasters, providing food and health care which enable children and families to advance out of poverty. More information is posted at www.er-d.org. Inquiries may be directed to Malaika Kamunanwire, director ERD's annual fund and communication, at 800.334.7626.

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