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Turkey 1 Bios

David Edward Kunkel
2011

 

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I grew up on a small irrigated farm in Southern Idaho and received a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Idaho.  After graduation, went to Turkey on an exchange program.  Upon return I worked for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as a Soil Scientist.  Because of my experience, the Peace Corps recruited me to go to Turkey as one of a small number of agricultural volunteers.  I started out in Mersin, moved to Ankara and ended my tour in the village of Sığma near Denizli, working on a poultry project.  After getting out of the Peace Corps, George Park and I took the bus to Graz where we rented a car and mostly camped through Austria, Germany and Scandinavia before returning to the U.S. 

Following the Peace Corps, I attended graduate school at Colorado State University and the University of Wisconsin, ending up with Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics.  I returned to Turkey on a Fulbright Graduate Research fellowship and wrote my thesis on the cotton and cotton textile industry.  After receiving my Ph.D., I went to work for the Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Shortly after joining ERS, I went for several months Viet Nam as part of a team making recommendations for the agricultural sector.  Following this I took a long term assignment to work with the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in the Philippines.  I spent almost 5 years there providing technical assistance for doing economic studies of the agricultural sector.   

Upon return from the Philippines, I joined the Foreign Agricultural Service where I managed food aid and agricultural credit programs for Asia and the Middle East.  When I first joined FAS, there was a famine going on in Bangladesh.  We were sending large amounts of food aid there and I went there several times.  Using food aid as a lever we were successful in getting the Bangladesh government to move to a more market oriented approach and take action independently.  As a consequence, when drought struck again in Africa and the sub continent, Bangladesh arranged additional imports above what it was getting in food aid and avoided a famine.   

While I was with the Foreign Agricultural Service, I traveled to most countries in Asia and the Middle East, spending time in Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Yemen, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq.  The U.S. was friends with Iraq at this time because of the Iran, Iraq war.  I also attended debt restructuring meetings chaired by the IBRD in Paris for countries. 

In 1990, I left the Foreign Agricultural Service to join Chemonics as Director of a technical assistance project with the Ministry of Agriculture in Egypt.  The project was to assist the Ministry improve its agricultural information services.  After returning from Egypt, I went on the first World Bank teams to Turkmenistan and Tajikistan as the agricultural expert. 

In 1994, I went Albania on a project as the Agricultural Policy advisor with Winrock International.  During that time civil unrest occurred and I was evacuated via helicopter.  I returned for a short time afterwards, but most of the project equipment was looted and nothing much was ever accomplished.  I also remarried in Albania and now have 13 year son.   

After returning from Albania in 1998, I had a couple of short term jobs to Croatia and Kosova.  Since then I have been living in Northern Virginia area, working at various jobs, dabbling in real estate and supporting my wife, who is an astrophysicist.  For the last several years, I have been working at the State Departmentís Refugee Processing Center.

 

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10/30/16