Eric Schwartz to step down as head of Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Schwartz will leave in June to become president of Washington, D.C.’s Refugees International advocacy group.

University Dean of Humphrey School of Public Affairs Eric Schwartz on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, in his office. Schwartz was recently nominated to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which monitors different circumstances overseas where religious freedom is endangered.

Daily File Photo

University Dean of Humphrey School of Public Affairs Eric Schwartz on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, in his office. Schwartz was recently nominated to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which monitors different circumstances overseas where religious freedom is endangered.

Kevin Beckman

The dean of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public
Affairs will step down in June to lead an international refugee advocacy group.

Eric Schwartz, who joined the Humphrey School in 2011, will leave his post
this summer to become president of Refugees International, an independent
advocacy organization based in Washington D.C. that focuses on the protection
of refugees.

He will start his new position June 12.

“Around the world and in the United States … we are confronting
existential challenges to hard-won principles of humanitarianism — principles
that I’ve spent most of my professional life seeking to strengthen and
promote,” Schwartz said in a statement. “I felt I needed to seize this
opportunity to play a more direct role in the policy debates and advocacy
efforts that are now under way in Washington, in communities around the
country, and in countries around the world.”

Before starting as dean in the fall of 2011, Schwartz served as U.S.
assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. He has
served as U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s deputy special envoy for tsunami
recovery. During the Clinton administration, he was senior director and special
assistant to the president for multilateral and humanitarian affairs for the
National Security Council.

 Led by Schwartz, the Humphrey
School started a new Ph.D. program in public affairs and a masters of human
rights degree program, partnering with the College of Liberal Arts. The school
also upped its national ranking, now among the country’s top 10 public affairs
schools.

“Dean Schwartz has served both the Humphrey school and the broader
University with great distinction,” Executive Vice President and Provost Karen
Hanson said in a statement. “In assuming the leadership of Refugees
International, he continues a lifetime of service reflecting his deep
commitment to humanitarianism.”