A Message from the Dean
Mission Iraq
Dealmakers
A 1L Odyssey, Part 2
Isabelle Johnston Bids Farewell
Gloria Watts, Beloved Registrar, Gets Big Send-Off
The Brief
Graduation / Reunion
The Board of Overseers
Faculty News & Publications
Philanthropy
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam
 
Mission Iraq 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
BY EDWARD N. EISEN

A specially chartered military aircraft nears the runway at Baghdad International Airport. To avoid fire from Iraqi insurgents, the pilot approaches at an altitude beyond the range of Surface-to-Air MIssiles. At about 15,000 feet, the plane takes a sharp downward turn, then descends in a spiraling motion.

“By the time we land, my head is spinning,” says John Groarke L’88, who today plays a key role in the largest U.S. reconstruction effort since the “Marshall Plan” helped rebuild Europe after World War II.

Groarke, who grew up poor in New York City, the son of impoverished Irish immigrants, serves as legal advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Iraq. USAID is the lead U.S. government agency for the civilian reconstruction of post-war Iraq, which established a provisional government two days ahead of schedule on June 28.

At this writing, about $3.8 billion of the funds appropriated by Congress for Iraq reconstruction have gone to USAID, where Groarke serves as a commissioned Foreign Service Officer and First Secretary at the U.S. Embassy. He directs a staff of three attorneys in USAIDís Cairo office.

Once on the ground in Baghdad, he is escorted by a security guard in a fully armored vehicle. The road from the airport is normally filled with U.S. Army vehicles — tanks, jeeps and personnel carriers.

“There are frequent attacks on the airport road, but so far I have avoided them,” Groarke writes in an e-mail, responding to questions from a reporter conducting the interview from Philadelphia.

 
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