USA for IOM mourns the passing of its former chairman, Mr. James N. Purcell Jr.
Mr. Purcell dedicated his career to championing the United States Refugee Admissions Program as well as multilateral cooperation on migration issues across the globe. He served as US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Affairs from 1983 to 1986 and then as Director General of IOM from 1988 to 1998.
Mr. Purcell was actively involved in the leadership of USA for IOM for more than three decades, including as Chairman of the Board, a role from which he retired from in 2022.
He took immense pride in USA for IOM’s growth in leveraging the value of U.S. private sector and capturing the American people’s interest in humanitarian affairs and IOM’s mission to uphold the dignity and rights of migrants worldwide.
Recognized as a mentor, leader, humanitarian legend and advocate for migrants until his last days, he will be sincerely missed.
“Throughout Jim’s long and storied career, he was a tireless advocate for migrants and refugees,” said IOM Director General Amy Pope. “Long after he left IOM, he continued to lend his voice to support in the United States for the work of IOM, including as Chairman of the Board of Directors for USA for IOM. I will always be grateful for his counsel to IOM and to me personally, and for his kindness.”
James N. Purcell Jr. authored the book “We’re in DANGER! Who Will HELP Us? Refugees and Migrants: A Test of Civilization” (2019). The book is a history of events and teamwork among members of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Refugee Programs and its protection and resettlement programs, domestic and with international cooperation.
At the request of Mr. Purcell’s family, fulfilling his wish, in his memory donations can be made to USA for IOM to support its mission to raise awareness about our global priorities: climate change, poverty, conflict, counter-trafficking, and the socio-economic integration of migrants.