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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR RELIEF IN THE NEAR EAST. The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, known as Near East Relief (NER), was established in 1915. In 1919 after the end of WORLD WAR I the organization changed its name to the American Committee for Relief in the Near East (ACRNE). When the United States Congress granted a charter to the organization in 1919, its directors were William Howard Taft, Charles Evans Hughes and Elihu Root.

In 1923 110,000 orphans were saved from starvation by the organization. In an article in the TELEGRAPH HERALD on February 23rd, local residents were reminded that Dubuque had played a role in the work of the relief work "for years." The following week, one hundred of these orphans, "Dubuque's share," were scheduled to come to the city. Citizens were reminded that these children "must not be dropped now."

America's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., played a key role in rallying support for the organization. NEF distributed humanitarian relief in many geographical locations between 1915 and 1930. Organization cared for 132,000 Armenian orphans from Tiflis and Yerevan Constantinople, Beirut, Damascus, and Jerusalem, Sivas. NEF eventually spent over ten times of its initial estimate (original estimate) reaching close to 2,000,000 refugees. NEF for Armenians both during and after the war donated over $102 million (budget $117,000,000) [1930 value of dollar].

NEF was eventually renamed the "Near East Foundation (NEF)" and changed its status to State Incorporated (New York). In 1930, directors were Franklin D. Roosevelt and Allen Dulles. It became the primary United States relief agency in the region and later the model for President Truman's Four-Point Program. In 2010 its mission was to help people in the Middle East and Africa build better lives through a variety of practical programs and grassroots development projects.

In 2006, NEF operated in sixteen countries in Africa and the Middle East.