Gregory J. Newell

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Gregory J. Newell is a former diplomat and served on presidential staffs under United States presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. He serves as the president of International Commerce Development Corporation.

Newell was born on August 30, 1949, in Geneseo, Illinois, and raised in Illinois, Iowa, and California. While living with his family in Iowa, they were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; he was ten years old at the time. He later served a full-time mission in France and Belgium. He presided over the Stockholm Sweden mission from 2011 to 2014.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Brigham Young University. He completed the Senior Managers in Government program at Harvard University.

Newell began his political career by working from 1972 to 1973 for President Richard Nixon. He also worked for U.S. Senator Bob Dole and Pennsylvania’s governor Richard Thornburgh. He was staff assistant to the president under Gerald Ford and special assistant to the president and director of presidential appointments under Ronald Reagan (1981–1982). He was appointed assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs (1982–1985). He served as U.S. ambassador to Sweden from 1985 to 1989.

According to Wikipedia, “In 1983 through 1985, Newell criticized UNESCO for inefficient managing of funds and becoming unduly politicized, backing liberation groups such as the Palestine Liberation Organization and attacking press freedoms. Newell would argue that US withdrawal would do more to speed up reforms than staying and cites the 1977 US exit from the International Labor Organization in Geneva. ‘Change seemed to be possible after we left,’ he said. After being out of the ILO for three years, the U.S. took up membership again in 1980. Newell said the US would rejoin UNESCO ‘if it returns to its original purpose.’ President Reagan agreed and the U.S. pulled out of UNESCO in 1985 (to return later under George W. Bush).”

Newell and his wife, Candilyn, are the parents of six children.