MacArthur Fellows Program
Frederick Cuny was an engineer and disaster relief specialist who was widely known and highly respected for his ability to restore order in situations of grave chaos and crisis.
Cuny was chairman of the INTERTECT Relief and Reconstruction Corporation, a professional firm providing specialized services and technical assistance in all aspects of natural disaster and refugee emergency management, mitigation, preparedness, relief, reconstruction, and resettlement. Among his major contributions were the redesign of food distribution systems in disaster-ravaged areas and the mobilization of engineers to aid relief efforts by improving drainage systems, roads, and dwellings. With heroic ingenuity and leadership, he was instrumental in organizing relief logistics for postwar Kuwait and southern Iraq; in managing aid missions to Kenya and Somalia; in restoring water service to Sarajevo; and in rebuilding school systems in Tirana. He is the author of Disasters and Development (1983), a set of guidelines for planning and providing disaster relief that emphasizes careful study of local conditions.
During his efforts to relieve suffering and bring peace to war-torn Chechnya, Cuny was captured and held prisoner. It is believed that he lost his life at the hands of warring parties.
Cuny received a B.S. (1967) from the Inter-University African Studies Center at the University of Houston and Rice University.