IESC, Big Bird, and National Defense

03-Mar-2017 Categories: Press Releases

Remembering IESC Employee Ward Chamberlin, Jr.

Ward B. Chamberlin, Jr. Photo courtesy of WNET. 

IESC is sad to hear of the passing of one of its early employees, Ward Chamberlin Jr., who died on February 23, 2017, at the age of 95.

Chamberlin’s involvement with IESC begins with Frank Pace, a former army secretary and chairman of defense contractor, General Dynamics. Frank Pace was also a co-founder of IESC. To this day, we have a conference room and a volunteer service award named after Mr. Pace.

According to Chamberlin’s obituary in The New York Times, Pace and Chamberlin not only worked together at General Dynamics, they were also squash partners.

Pace brought Chamberlin on board at IESC not long after it was founded, in 1962.

In 1968, President Johnson named Chamberlin chairman of the new Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Chamberlin went on to be a “leading architect of the nation’s public broadcasting system who revitalized PBS stations in New York and Washington and nurtured the career of the documentarian Ken Burns.”

Pace and David Rockefeller and other leaders of American business founded IESC—just a few years after the founding of USAID—under the belief that U.S. volunteers sharing business expertise around the world was in America’s interests and consistent with American values. For nearly three decades IESC was supported through a core grant from the international aid agency.

USAID is also part of the Sesame Street Alliance, a partnership that combines USAID’s in-country education experts with Sesame Street Workshop’s creative legacy. The alliance co-produces Sesame Street adapted to the local context, focusing on basic literacy and math skills, while encouraging girls’ education, positive health and hygiene practices, mutual respect and understanding among individuals and cultures. The alliance is active in about 147 countries.

So Ward Chamberlin is how IESC, Big Bird, and national defense are all connected.

Mr. Chamberlin lived wonderful and fascinating life, and the IESC family offers our deepest condolences to his family.

NYT Obituary

Washington Post Obituary