Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Ethnics Rush to Aid Their European Brethren They Work through American Agencies to Help Restore East Europe's Prosperity

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Ethnics Rush to Aid Their European Brethren They Work through American Agencies to Help Restore East Europe's Prosperity

Article excerpt

MOVED by the plight of their homelands and eager to help out, ethnic Americans have become a secret weapon for the United States government in its effort to effectively aid the struggling nations of Central and Eastern Europe.

These volunteers are not to be confused with expatriates such as Milan Panic, the controversial American-Serbian businessman who is prime minister in the rump Yugoslavian government. They are US citizens - farmers, businessmen, doctors, even students - who want to help at the front lines of developing market economies from Poland to Bulgaria.

"They're going back in droves," Carol Adelman, assistant administrator for Europe of the US Agency for International Development (AID), told reporters.

Take Damon Szymanski, a Polish-American dairy farmer from Pulaski, Wis. Through a US-funded volunteer organization, he has traveled back to Poland to teach modern dairy management and agribusiness techniques.

Then there is Charles Huebner, a Hungarian-American who is manager of the Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund. AID's largest venture in Hungary, the fund has pumped more than $20 million in small-business loans into the country's economy.

Dr. John Kepes, a neuropathologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, fled Hungary in 1956 as Soviet tanks crushed rebellion. Now he is shuttling to his native land to help set up a children's cancer-treatment program with $2.3 million in AID money.

US allies in Western Europe have often criticized the American attitude toward helping East and Central Europe as being long on talk and short on money - at least, shorter on money than some NATO countries' own programs.

But Dr. Adelman claimed that AID's part of the US assistance program, which emphasizes small grants via private organizations, loans to small businesses, and other grass-roots efforts, is second to none for value. …

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