Skip to main content

CARE International Project

The CARE International Project at the CWAR Institute uses a combination of monthly online discussions, and in-person research at Cold War archives which will culminate in conferences and publications.

CARE International Project

The CARE International Project at the CWAR Institute uses a combination of monthly online discussions, and in-person research at Cold War archives which will culminate in conferences and publications. Competitively selected early and mid-career scholars will join senior scholars at the institute to explore the history of CARE International through the collaborative cross reading of international archives. The institute will hone critical research skills in historical and archival methodologies, and then develop these skills to meet the new demands of global history through shared and collaborative document analysis. While the CARE archives are English language based, and early publications and discussions will take place in English, the project relies on the language and cultural knowledge of scholars across the over 40 nations in which CARE worked during the Cold War.

Group projects will include conferences, publications, and internet-based networking and data presentations, and the scholars will also use the research to further their own work in Cold War history. As public historians, the scholars will add to the Wilson Center database  of annotated archival documents and primary sources. The long-term goal of the institute is to provide historical context to current-day problems of immediate war and postwar aid, as well as long term rebuilding projects. In this sense, the institute seeks to use historical perspectives to understand the coordination between hard and soft power, private and governmental institutions, and the pitfalls and promise of postwar rebuilding and humanitarian aid.

With the conclusion of the CARE International Project, the CWAR Institute will seek other topics in global Cold War history that can address current-day issues.

CARE International: History and Rationale

The Cooperative for American Relief Europe/Everywhere (CARE) was officially organized in 1945 as a cooperative among 22 not-for-profit organizations including American Friends Service Committee, the International Rescue and Relief Committee, Save the Children Federation, and others, many of which had been founded during World War I. Delivery of the first CARE packages took place in post-World War II France six months after incorporation. These early CARE packages were surplus United States Army food rations parcels, pre-boxed and ready for shipment. By 1946, CARE had designed parcels for families, offering specific foods to meet national tastes in Europe. The government-funded Marshall Plan distributed CARE International packages throughout both Western and Eastern Europe. By the summer of 1948, CARE opened a non-European mission in Japan, followed by India, Pakistan, and Mexico. It began transitioning into the export of other packages, including books for the Free University founded during the Soviet Berlin Blockade of West Germany. CARE continued sending packages to East Germany and other Soviet bloc nations. With the start of hot wars in Asia, CARE moved into Korea and Vietnam. CARE’s success inspired President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Food for Peace” Act in 1954, giving not-for-profit foundations access to domestic food surpluses for global humanitarian relief.

By 1955, only 25% of CARE’s work addressed disaster or refugee crises with food packages. CARE began shipping packages with farming and other tools, self-help materials, books for libraries and universities, and initiated several micro-finance businesses that included a short-lived import-export bank. Vocational kits, sewing machines, and building tools began to replace food packages as the institutional aims transitioned from aid to development projects that included the construction of schools and agricultural systems. In addition, the Medical aid organization MEDICO merged with CARE providing medical supplies and education. In the 1960s, CARE joined with President John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps, and moved into South American and Africa. At the end of the Cold War in 1991, CARE had missions in 39 nations.

The extensive CARE International archives, held at the New York Public Library in New York City, have a plethora of country and institutional files that have been under-utilized even by Western scholars. From the general to the specific, the CARE Records are a vital source of new explorations in the history of the Cold War. Yet in order to fully comprehend the complexities of power relations and humanitarianism, the cause and effect of efforts by victors must be complicated by reception in host nations. Thus, government and private archives in the 40-plus nations in which CARE International operated must be cross-read with the CARE documents that show intention alongside US government, covert, and military documents. The history of international twentieth-century humanitarian aid as a result of world wars engages issues of politics and private aid, private and governmental networks, propaganda and power, gender, race, and empire.

CARE Global Research Team Bios

 Victoria Phillips is co-director of the CWAR Global Research Team. Writer, teacher, and historian, the Women's History Network reviewed her book, Martha Graham’s Cold War: The Dance of American Diplomacy (Oxford University Press, 2020), as “a cracking good read.” At present, she is a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center and Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE), and co-founder of the Global Biography Working Group (Global.Bio). At  the City University of New York program in Biography and Memoir, and the Oxford University Centre for Life Writing she is working on a biography of Eleanor Lansing Dulles (Rowman & Littlefield | Lexington Books, forthcoming). Her articles have appeared in such varied publications as the New York TimesAmerican Communist History, Ballet NewsDance Research Journal, and Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, Diplomatica, and Religions. As a public historian, she has curated public exhibitions in the United States and Europe, has lectured at renowned international universities, colleges, high schools, museums, and institutes, and appeared on radio and television. Her primary research is held at the Library of Congress as the Victoria Phillips Collection.

Margaret Peacock is the co-director of the CWAR Global Research Team and is a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center.  She is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of History at the University of Alabama. She specializes in Cold War transnational history, with a focus on Soviet, U.S., and Middle Eastern semiotics and propaganda. She is the author of Innocent Weapons: The Soviet and American Politics of Childhood in the Cold War (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2014) and A Deeper Sickness: Journal of America in the Pandemic Year (Boston: Beacon Press, 2022). Her current book is entitled, Voices Carry: Radio Propaganda in the Cold War Middle East, 1945-1967. Margaret has published articles in Cold War History, Diplomatic History, Science and Education, and elsewhereon topics ranging from the history of Lysenkoism to the 1957 Moscow Festival of Youth and Students. Margaret was the recipient of the University of Alabama’s highest awards for research and advising. She has been a Kennan Fellow at the Wilson Center, a Fellow at the American Research Council in Egypt,  and a Fulbright-Hays Scholar.

Elizabeth Aldrich is known for her work in historical dance, and has choreographed ballroom scenes for nine feature films, working with directors such as James Ivory, Agnieszka Holland, and Martin Scorsese. She is the author of From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance (Northwestern University Press, 1991) and Casseroles, Can Openers, and Jell-O: American Food and the Cold War, 1947-1959 (State University of New York, 2023). She contributed chapters to numerous books in a wide range of subjects from dance history, documentation, and preservation in the digital age to Chilean wine. As managing editor of the six-volume International Encyclopedia of Dance (Oxford University Press, 1998) she wrote the Introduction and created all headnotes. Named executive director of the Dance Heritage Coalition in 1999, she wrote extensively on fair use in copyright. She served as curator of dance at the Library of Congress (2006-2012), Elizabeth was a visiting professor of dance, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (2013) and was the keynote speaker for the Cold War Archival Research Project, Cultural Initiative, European Institute, Columbia University (2019). Aldrich holds two degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Marek Dąbrowski lives in Warsaw, Poland. He graduated in History from the Catholic University in Lublin (KUL) in 2005, majoring in archival science. Marek also completed postgraduate IT studies at Warsaw University of Life Science (SGGW) in 2018. Skilled in record management systems, on-line archives and historical research. Marek has worked at the Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) since 2007, where now he is engaged in maintenance and development of an electronic records management system as well as on-line documents publication projects. In 2016-2018, he was an assistant researcher to Dr. Victoria Phillips on her book "Martha Graham's Cold War: The Dance of American Diplomacy”.

Natalija Dimić Lompar is a historian specializing in Cold War history. She earned her PhD in history from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad. Her thesis entitled "Divided Germany and Yugoslavia (1945—1966): Political Relations in the Cold War" deals with the competing policies of two German states towards Yugoslavia. She works at the Institute for Recent History of Serbia in Belgrade as a research assistant. Her fields of research include Cold War history, Yugoslav-German relations, history of socialist Yugoslavia and Yugoslavia’s relations with the Third World.

Severyan Dyakonov is a Swiss National Science Foundation PostDoc Mobility Fellow. Currently, Severyan is a Visiting Scholar at Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at New York University working on a project - how Moscow influenced societies of the Red Cross/Red Crescent in decolonized countries through the International League of the Red Cross in Geneva. Severyan earned his Ph.D. in History at the Geneva Graduate Institute with his thesis on Soviet Public Diplomacy in India in the 1950s-1960s. His broader research focuses on Eastern Bloc - Decolonized World relations during the Cold War, and on making left ideas global through international organizations with the intersection of public diplomacy, humanitarianism, health care, and environmental protection.

Kiera Eriksen-McAuliffe is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s MA program in European History, Politics and Society and currently works as a Legislative Analyst for the Texas House of Representatives Research Organization. She completed her undergraduate degree in History and Politics at New York University in 2021. Her master's thesis explored the role of Franco-Algerian Communism in the Algerian War of Independence, and she remains interested in the impact of the Cold War global order on the decolonization struggles of the 1950’s and 60’s. Kiera has also worked as a research assistant to Dr. Victoria Phillips on her political biography of Cold War Diplomat Eleanor Lansing Dulles, and she previously spent two years working for NYU’s Special Collections Library. 

Anastasia Felcher is a historian and a cultural heritage scholar. With a Ph.D. in Cultural Heritage Management and Development from the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca (2016), her research focuses on the cultural history of East European borderlands. She is a research fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (2022-23) as well as a Slavic Archivist at the Blinken Open Society Archives in Budapest. Previously, she received fellowships from Blinken OSA in Budapest (2016), the German Historical Institute in Moscow (2017), the Leibniz Institute for History and Culture of Eastern Europe in Leipzig (2019), and the Center for Advanced Studies in Sofia (2019-20).

Intaek Hong is a Ph.D. student with the Department of History at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA, USA). His research interests concern the themes of cultural and intellectual exchange among the socialist states during the Cold War, with regional focus on the USSR, East Asia (North Korea), and East/Central Europe. His previous project investigated the experiences of a group of 1,000 young North Koreans that lived in Poland from 1953-1959 and their reintegration into postwar North Korean society. Intaek earned his M.A. in history from Sogang University (Seoul, South Korea) and graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College (Northfield, MN, USA). 

Sijie Jiang graduated from the Columbia-LSE MA/MSc dual degree program in International and World History in 2022. His research interest lies in Eurasia studies, Sino-Soviet relations and the history of modern East Asia, with a particular focus on science exchanges and cooperations. His MA dissertation examined the Sino-Soviet science cooperation in the field of paleontology from 1956 to 1960.  With his enthusiasm for the preservation of material culture, Sijie is currently working on a project that examines the backgrounds and significance of historical artifacts. 

János Kemény, PhD (1983) is a researcher at the Center for Strategic and Defence Studies at the National University of Public Service in Budapest, Hungary. He is a former postdoctoral researcher of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, where he researched the Hungarian participation in the Vietnam War. Based partially on this research, he co-authored a book about the Hungarian Mission of the International Commission of Control and Supervision. He also authored a book about the modern history of Vietnam (published in 2021). Also researched parts of the diplomatic history of Hungary in the Vietnam War, focusing on the mediation efforts of the Hungarian People’s Republic from 1965 until 1967 and edited source volumes with the assistance of the Cold War History Research Center (CWHRC) in Budapest, together with Professor Csaba Békés, the Director of the CWHRC, Professor James Hersberg and Zoltán Szőke, PhD. He received his PhD from Corvinus University in Budapest, in 2014. He previously worked as the research coordinator of the Cold War History Research Center between June 2010 and January 2012 and has extensive teaching experience. He is fluent in Hungarian, German, and English

Matin Modarressi is a philatelist and postal historian. His research focuses on the use of stamps as propaganda and as a foreign policy tool, particularly during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in the Journal of Cold War Studies, War on the Rocks, History Ireland, and elsewhere. He has a bachelor’s in political science from Princeton University, a master’s in archaeology from Cambridge University, and a master’s in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University. He works as an anti-corruption investigator in New York.

Brian Tsz Ho Wong is a PhD student in East Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He earned a BA from the University of Hong Kong (2021) and a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2022). He is interested in the economic, financial, and business history of modern East Asia. He has great passion in applying digital tools in his research. His master’s thesis explored the Japanese propaganda and telecommunication networks at the end of World War II. Currently, he is working on the capital and power elites networks in the wartime Japanese Empire; and the life of a sinicized Mongolian female writer Liang Yen (a.k.a. Margaret Yang Briggs, born as Yang Chiao-Chu). For more information, please visit his personal website (

Get Involved

To learn more about this project and to get involved, contact Dr. Victoria Phillips.