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In memoriam

Remembering Bob DeVecchi, former IRC president and champion of refugees

The International Rescue Committee remembers a leader who fostered an increasingly important role for the organization in global relief and development.

The Board of Directors, Overseers and staff of the International Rescue Committee are deeply saddened by the loss of Bob DeVecchi, our former President and CEO.

A graduate of Yale University and the Harvard School of Business Administration, and a former Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State, Bob devoted his life to service.

With his dedication and leadership, Bob helped build the IRC into a global humanitarian organization. He was a compassionate, gracious and soft-spoken man who was unafraid and relentless in support of refugees and the displaced.

Former IRC President Bob DeVecchi

Former IRC President Bob DeVecchi (left) at the IRC's Children's Lunch in 2010.

Photo: IRC

Bob joined the IRC in 1975 to lead the organization’s efforts in resettling Vietnamese refugees as part of the largest refugee resettlement effort in United States history. Under Bob’s leadership as Executive Director from 1985 to 1991 and then as President and CEO from 1992 to 1997, the IRC played an increasingly important role in global relief and development while maintaining its position as one of the leading U.S. resettlement agencies.  

In December 1991, Bob launched the IRC’s relief efforts in the Balkans, which provided emergency aid on a large scale in Sarajevo and elsewhere in Bosnia until peace was reached in 1995. During this time the IRC simultaneously responded to refugee crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, West Africa, Ethiopia and Rwanda.

After retiring from the IRC in 1997, Bob was appointed Adjunct Senior Fellow for Refugees and the Displaced at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1996 he was awarded the Peacemakers Award of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., and in 1998 the IRC Freedom Award for his "extraordinary contribution to the cause of refugees and human freedom."  

We are grateful to Bob for his enormous contributions to the IRC and the cause of refugees. In death he joins his beloved wife and partner Betsy Trippe, who passed away in 2009. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family.

International Rescue Committee

Sarah O'Hagan and Thomas Schick,
Co-Chairs of the Board;
Timothy Geithner
Chair, IRC Overseers;
David Miliband, President