Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
June 1, 2011


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Some of you may have seen a release from the University of Minnesota today announcing that I’ve accepted an offer to serve as the Dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

This was a very difficult decision, as my job in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) has been the most meaningful and fulfilling position of my professional life. Moreover, during my tenure, the Bureau and I have received the unequivocal support from an extraordinary and inspiring leader, Secretary of State Clinton, as well as from the members of her senior-level team. It has also been an honor to serve the Administration of President Obama, and to pursue its commitment to international humanitarian principles.

However, while my family has been nothing but gracious and generous to me as I've logged long hours at the Department and overseas, the challenges have been substantial. Moreover, I'm so very excited about leading an institution like the Humphrey School, and working to promote the principle that highly skilled and effective public servants will be critical to the efforts of the United States and other countries to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. I’m also deeply honored to be going to an institution that serves as living memorial to the life of Hubert H. Humphrey, who had a deep and abiding commitment to promoting humanitarianism and respect for human rights. And I look forward to succeeding my good friend and former colleague, Brian Atwood, who led the Humphrey School with such distinction over the past many years.

I'm committed to ensuring that my transition does not impair the important humanitarian work of PRM. To that end, I have arranged with the University a mid-October start date, which should give me the chance to help bring to fruition a number of important initiatives and, more importantly, should give the Department adequate time to ensure a smooth transition. And I will do everything I possibly can to support that effort.

I was so profoundly honored when the Secretary of State asked me to serve as Assistant Secretary in the winter of 2009. It was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I have worked each and every day to justify her trust and confidence and serve as a responsible steward of this critically important bureau – traveling to dozens of countries where our humanitarian diplomacy and assistance has made a difference in safeguarding lives and promoting reconciliation, visiting and keeping faith with vulnerable women, men and children in some of the most difficult environments, working to sustain our world leadership in international humanitarian response and our strong support from the Congress, and strengthening the policy engagement and the operational capacity of a bureau – PRM – that has some of the most dedicated and skilled professionals I have ever encountered.

There will be time for longer expressions of appreciation. But if ever there were an institution that embodied the ideal of public service as a critically important and honorable profession that requires enormous skill and dedication, it is the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration – the institution in which I have been so fortunate to work. But progress would not be possible without the contributions – both critiques and expressions of support – from our friends and colleagues in civil society and on Capitol Hill.

Over the next four months, I intend to use each and every day to ensure a continued and focused effort to promote the principles of international protection and humanitarianism that are so central to our mandate. Four months is a good amount of time, and I certainly intend to make the very most of it.

Many thanks, and kind regards,

Eric Schwartz

Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

[This is a mobile copy of A Letter From Eric Schwartz]