Hugh Parmer, Former U.S. Humanitarian Aid Official, Named American Refugee Committee President

American Refugee Committee
Tuesday, 5 February 2002

Hugh Q. Parmer, a former top official of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has been named president of the American Refugee Committee.

Parmer, also a former majority leader of the Texas State Senate, takes the helm as ARC has launched a relief effort to help victims of the devastating volcano eruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is preparing to expand its programs into Central Asia to help Afghan refugees.

"We are very excited to bring Hugh Parmer on board to lead the ARC team at this critical point in our history," said ARC Board Chair Mary Tjosvold. "He will bring to the job a deep humanitarian impulse, as well as political and business skills that will help us to assist vulnerable people across the world both effectively and efficiently."

Parmer fills a post vacated by Anthony Kozlowski, who left ARC last fall after more than nine years as president.

ARC is an international humanitarian aid organization that was founded in 1978 to help refugees of the conflicts in Southeast Asia. Headquartered in Minneapolis, it now operates in 13 locations in Africa, Asia and the former Yugoslavia.

With a budget of about $27 million and more than 1,200 employees around the world, ARC provides health care, small loans, job training, legal aid, shelter repair, counseling and other services to help refugees and other displaced people rebuild their lives and their communities.

"It's an honor to be selected to lead the American Refugee Committee," said Parmer. "ARC helps people in some of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth. I intend to see that these dedicated humanitarian workers receive the support and funding they need to carry out their missions."

Parmer added, " It is particularly important to me to be associated with the only major international relief organization headquartered in our nation's heartland."

Parmer was assistant administrator of USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Response from 1998 to 2001. Appointed by President Clinton, he led major humanitarian relief operations during the war in Kosovo, Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Nicaragua, and famine in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

He was majority leader, president pro temp and member of the Texas State Senate from 1982 to 1991. Highlights of his service included authoring the Texas Omnibus Hunger Relief Act of 1985, the first major hunger relief legislation passed at state level in the United States.

Parmer was mayor and city councilman of Fort Worth, Texas, from 1975 to 1979.

He has also worked in the private sector, serving as managing shareholder in the law firm of Parmer, Archer, Young & Steen from 1991 to 1998 and president of Parmer Marketing Company from 1969 to 1988.

For more information, or to contact American Refugee Committee, see their website at:

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