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Frederick C. Cuny (born November 14, 1944 in New Haven, Connecticut) was an American disaster relief specialist who was active in many humanitarian projects around the world from 1969 until his forced disappearance in Chechnya in 1995.
1 Life and career
2 Humanitarian work
5 Media depictions
6 See also
8 External links
Life and career
In 1952 Cuny moved with his family to Texas. He had a passion for flying and hoped to become a fighter pilot. He studied engineering at Texas A&M University, specializing in problems in developing countries, and urban planning at the University of Houston. Unable to pass his language requirements, Cuny could not go on to Officers’ Candidate School, thus ending his dream of life as an officer in the military. However, he became increasingly involved in causes such as the problems of local Mexican migrant workers.
Cuny became an accomplished civil engineer, working on large construction projects such as a radar installation at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. At some point he became dissatisfied and decided to become a disaster relief specialist who used his training in engineering to do humanitarian work. Cuny was hired by organizations such as the United Nations and private foundations to design and carry out relief plans. Cuny was able to maintain the autonomy to devise solutions his way and became increasingly active as a policy adviser. Cuny’s overriding goal was to institute a radical restructuring of the way the disaster relief system operated throughout the world.
In 1971 he founded the non-profit Intertect Relief and Reconstruction Corp. of Dallas, Texas, a relief mission technical assistance and training company. In Dallas, is where he met Jean Parker, who helped start his company and she worked with him as a disaster mitigation specialist for many years. His company became the major disaster relief agency, Interworks. Cuny also founded the Center for the Study of Societies in Crisis which became known as the Cuny Center after his death. He worked in countries such as Biafra, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, and Croatia. At the end of his life he was workin