With the passing of the old year, we lost a beloved friend, benefactor and leader, Edward Rawson. He passed away quietly at his home in McLean, Virginia surrounded by his family. He would have been 100 this February. We knew him as Ed, Mr. Rawson and Grandpa. For so many of us he was “my friend” and “my teacher.”
Ed has been part of Global Solutions movement from the beginning. He attended the 1947 founding of the United World Federalists in Asheville, North Carolina. Ed was the World Federalist Association’s (WFA) Treasurer for 20 years, retiring in 1996. He served for several years as Executive Vice President of the Campaign for UN Reform, and served until his passing as a Trustee of the World Federalist Endowment Fund, which he helped to establish. He was a past president of the WFA DC Metro Chapter, past chair of the WFA Executive Committee, and a recipient of the WFA "Presidential Award". Received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, he served abroad with the State Department and Agency for International Development, and eventually as AID coordinator for relations with other federal agencies.
Ed’s legacy includes the Edward Rawson Fellowship, which allows recent graduates to gain hands-on experience working on global issues. He also was the inspiration and first recipient in 2010 of the Edward Rawson Global Citizen Award, which "recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution … to education and advocacy for a world in which nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone." In his acceptance speech, he recalled his role in the founding conference and remarked if he knew then that he would be the first to receive such an award, "I would never have believed it." Ed then stated, "I am today privileged to accept this award on behalf of thousands who have labored with me since the founding of our movement for a peaceful and just world governed by law."
Watch Ed's Global Citizen Award speech
Ed was my dear friend and role model. I will always be thankful for his generosity, which laid the foundation for so much that our organization has accomplished. Our lunch conversations covered the world. His emails always grabbed my attention. Anyone who lives as full a life as he did, and remains as sharp and passionate as he was, is truly blessed.
There has been an outpouring of sentiments for Ed worth sharing. The following is an excerpt from a longer memorial written by Ira Straus:
“Born to a family that goes back to the Mayflower, Edward Rawson made his entry into the world in the fateful year of 1914 -- together with the first of the series of global wars and conflicts that were to rock the world for the better part of the next century, until 1989. He bore a propitious ancestry for this difficult era: an earlier Edward Rawson, 1615-1693, had been Colonial Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The political experience of his youth was a tormenting one -- world war, failed peace, trade wars, currency wars, great depression, rising totalitarianisms of Left and Right, a helpless slide toward a new world war... The experience of the generation was summed up for him, and for many others, in a book, Union Now, by [Clarence Streit] the New York Times correspondent at the League of Nations. It proposed a federation of the world's leading democracies as a solution both to these urgent specific problems and to the general problem of how to form a nucleus for a governed world, one that would naturally tend to evolve into a full-fledged, yet free and democratic, world government. He read the book when it came out in 1939, and immediately joined the movement it inspired -- the Inter-Democracy Federalist Unionists (a name simplified in 1940 to Federal Union, in 1984 changed to Association to Unite the Democracies, AUD).
It was the beginning of the main public commitment of his life.
In 1947 he made the hard trek, through rough weather and roads to the Asheville, NC conference where UWF, the United World Federalists, was founded (a name later simplified to WFA, World Federalist Association, changed in 2003 to CGS, Citizens for Global Solutions).…
World federalism was central to Ed's identity. So central that he put it into the one name he truly chose for himself -- his email address: WorldFedEd (he later changed it to WorldGovernance, avoiding any conflict with WFA's name change). He was a supporter from the moment of the initial meeting that founded Federal Union in New York in 1939. He served as Treasurer-Administrative Director of the World Federalist Association from 1976 to 1997. He remained active in both organizations to the end on December 30, 2013, 74 years later.
Ed also had a government career, which he chronicled as follows: He joined the State Department as Director for the Yugoslavia Relief Program in 1949 and subsequently served as Economic Attaché in the Embassy in Belgrade. During the mid-1950s, he was Program Operations Officer for Korea and Philippines with the International Cooperation Administration (ICA), the predecessor to the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In 1958, he returned to Washington as Special Assistant to the Deputy of Administration of the ICA, and in accordance with a presidential request, served as the liaison officer between the US government and Project Hope. Following a tour with ICA's office for International Relations, he was administrative coordinator for AID's program outsourced to other government agencies until his retirement in 1976.
Ed also had a tenure as President of the Capital Investment Association, a club that mischievously bore the acronym of the Federal security agency a mile from his home. And was President of the Rawson Family Enterprises.”
Many others have also voice their love, respect and admiration for Ed. (You can add your thoughts in the comments below.):
“An intellectual giant and an inspiration for World Federalists until the end. He will certainly be missed. He was very lovable. He was really something, right up until the end. A wonderful world citizen. I corresponded with Ed up until about a month ago. He was always interested in what was going on in the world and eager to offer thoughts to fix things. He was totally interested and involved with life. I'm glad he went peacefully, with loved ones around him all through last week. It sounds like his staff adored him.” - Deb Metke
“It was Ed's generosity in funding the Rawson fellowship that gave me my start at CGS. What a great man and an amazing life he lived.” - Melissa Kaplan
“What a great encouragement he was to us all.” - Elisabeth Garrett
“Ed was a friend and mentor for me since I became involved with the international affairs work which has been my entire professional life. He was always a kind and patient guide, always encouraging and always happy to learn what we younger members of the staff and board were working on to make this a better world. He will be missed by so many people, so many generations whom he inspired.” - Tony Fleming
“Ed was my mentor. He will be missed.” - Matt McDonough
“My friend Ed was always full of stories, always up on the latest world news, and always excited to talk about a hopeful future over some good food with friends. I'm sorry he passed before his 100th birthday in a little over a month...he was very much looking forward to a big centennial party. So tonight I toast a new year and the passing of a beautiful friend. Cheers, Ed!” Valerie Schrock
“Oh, Ed, what an amazing human being. May his beautiful intelligence and passion live on.” - Jessica Brown
“Ed was one Good Dude. Unassuming, tremendously helpful, approachable, just a very fine person who will be missed.” - James T. Ranney
“Ed was a wonderful guy, a class act, and perhaps most importantly, a real imp. I will miss him.” - Charlie Brown
“Ed was the best! I loved that man.” - Kathleen Umrein
“He was a very generous and kind soul I will miss his sunny disposition.” - Keith Stabler
“I had the opportunity of meeting him at one of the council meetings, I think it was Geneva in 2007 when he spoke at length on WFMs growth and progress. May his soul rest in peace.” - Vijayam Raghu
“He was a sweet, dedicated, and thoughtful man. A true Gentleman.” - Adam Ortiz
“I have had the opportunity to meet with him periodically over a long period, and admire immensely his conviction and his spirit in support of a governed world. Ed was a one of a kind and irreplaceable leader of our movement, a leader whom we shall remember for a very long time.” - Felix Rosenthal
“Ed was a great and exceptionally devoted World Federalist. Age did not deter his activism. He will be greatly missed.” - Joe Schwartzburg
“I'm saddened by this news. I have fond memories of Ed, what a wonderful guy.” - Meredith Dixon
“He was a very generous person and was a great leader in the world federalist movement.” - Robert Lincoln Barnett
“He will be sorely missed. He was a wonderful man.” - Staci Alziebler
"Beloved, excellent Edward Rawson peacefully became a real angel today. He was by far the finest man I've ever known. I will miss him until the day I die. I was blessed to be witness to his incredible humanity. What a massive loss. RIP and well done sir." - Blonnie Thomas
Edward Rawson is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Rick and Marshall Rawson and four grand-daughters. Click here for informaton about his memorial service. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, a contribution in his memory may be made to GlobalSolutions.org in support of the Edward Rawson Fellowship Program to allow recent college graduates an opportunity to promote active citizen engagement in global institutions and governance while developing leadership skills in government relations, communications, and grassroots outreach.