David Holdridge

David Holdridge is the author of the memoir, “The Avant Garde of Western Civ.” He spent 35 years working with humanitarian organizations amidst populations suffering from war, exploitation and impoverishment, including assignments in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States. From 2005-09, he was regional director for Mercy Corps’ Middle East programs. During those years, Holdridge and his team were among the few American civilians in Iraq to live outside the Green Zone. From 2010 to 2012, he directed an advocacy effort in Washington, DC, that argued for significant transformation of the current systems and approaches of American assistance abroad. He received the Prize Americana in 2015 for his memoir. He also served as the Vietnam director for Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation in Hanoi, and as regional director for the Balkans and Middle East of Catholic Relief Services, among other development-related positions. He was wounded in Vietnam while serving as a platoon commander.

Climate Change: A Contrarian View

Jul 20, 2019

We are inundated these days with ominous news on the extent and pace of climate change and the associated predictions of the looming catastrophe it carries with it — the ubiquitous planetary cry of the next generation who will soon inherit the Earth. A rallying cry seemingly to “save human...

Who Makes a Profit from Charity?

Jun 12, 2018

In the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, a money game was played by all involved in the relief effort. I had begun my effort for duty free imports a week before with my first elucidation on the correlation of “dignity,” for adolescent boys who had so...

We Are the Gods of Plenty

Feb 15, 2018

The latest sex scandal involving one of the world’s leading charities, Oxfam, demonstrates the systemic inequality of international aid. With the UK’s Charity Commission launching a statutory inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse — potentially involving minors — by Oxfam’s senior management in Haiti and Chad that may cost the...

Time for the Private Sector to Represent American Values Overseas

Jul 12, 2017

It is well-nigh time for the private sector to reclaim the effort of overseas relief and development. As our national budget comes under greater scrutiny, it seems the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is in late-stage bereavement for its possible demise. The agency, adjunct to the State Department,...

Donald Trump: A Confusion of Truths

May 28, 2017

Donald Trump is in the process of ridiculing the enlightenment, seemingly immune to the charges of “prove it.” For most of us, the scientific method was our mother’s milk. What had begun with Isaac Newton and his contemporaries had come to imbue much of our national fabric until “prove it”...

Crowdfunding American Soft Power

Apr 05, 2017

Given Trump’s betrayal, can we crowdfund American aid and soft power abroad? The current debate between liberals and the Trump administration on American soft power abroad is not being framed correctly. Liberals should be arguing for more American citizen engagement overseas rather than for maintaining and extending into the future...

The Avant Garde of Western Civ

Apr 02, 2017

David Holdridge presents an extract from his book, The Avant Garde of Western Civ. Cross Border, Summer 2005 “They are imbuing the soil with their blood,” I said. “Sanctifying it and making it theirs. The field of Blackbirds for the Serbs,” I added as I turned toward my Serb program...

Modern War: What Hath Technology Wrought?

Sep 29, 2014

Are we on the way to losing the distinction between virtual war and the preciousness of life? Current calculations are such that America can no longer afford war as it has been waged in the past. Consider the numbers. Take a casualty in Vietnam, for example: At say 40% disabled, a...

Global Inequality: Here to Stay

Aug 24, 2014

Global inequality is as inevitable as the early dominance of sedentary peoples over hunter gatherers.  The common understanding these days, as derived from popular anthropologists, is that the fortuitous concentration of high protein grains and mammals — who would be domesticated about 12,000 years ago in the fertile crescent and later...

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