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Refugee and human rights advocates lost a tireless leader this past Sunday when Shep Lowman passed away at his home in Northern Virginia. Funeral services will held Friday morning at the National Funeral Home in Falls Church, Virginia.
Shep came to Refugees International (RI) after a long career at the U.S. Department of State, where he served as Director of the then Office for Refugees and Deputy Chief of Mission in Honduras. His efforts led to the establishment of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, which allows tens of thousands of refugees to pursue new lives in America every year.
Shep served as RI’s Executive Director through the mid-1980s, and he fought fiercely against the “compassion fatigue” of that era. Among his many accomplishments at RI, Shep rallied American and international support for Vietnamese boat people throughout Southeast Asia and led efforts to combat pirate attacks on those refugees.
Shep was a passionate advocate and skilled writer who used his powers of persuasion to improve protection for persecuted refugees – particularly vulnerable women and children. He succeeded in strengthening RI’s reputation for sounding the alarm on refugee crises, building support for humanitarian aid, and developing durable solutions. His leadership, quiet good humor, and skilled mentorship of his fellow advocates, friends, and RI colleagues will be greatly missed.