Founding President of the Asia Foundation
Dr. Robert Blum, the Foundation’s first president (1954-1962), was a specialist in Asian affairs and former international relations instructor at Yale University. A veteran diplomat, Dr. Blum was assistant to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal; chief of the U.S. Special Technical and Economic Mission to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam; and assistant deputy for economic affairs to President Eisenhower’s special representative for the Mutual Security Administration in Europe. During World War II, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre and the United States Medal for Freedom. Dr. Blum was educated at the University of California and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.