Dr. Richard Sawaya is the Vice President of USA*ENGAGE at the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and has directed the organization since January 2009. Previously he was the Executive Director of the United States–Venezuela Business Council. He also served as Washington Representative for Devon Energy from 2009 through 2012. From 2000 through 2008, he was the Vice President for Government, International and Community Relations at the George Washington University.
Dr. Sawaya joined the Washington, D.C. office of Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) in 1985, with responsibility for tax, trade, and employee benefits issues. In that capacity, he founded the Corporate Health Care Coalition. From 1994 until ARCO’s sale to BP in 2000, he represented ARCO’s international operating company on business issues in the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America. During that time, he helped to found USA*ENGAGE at the NFTC, as well as the U.S. Venezuela Business Council.
Sawaya joined ARCO in 1978 as a speechwriter in Los Angeles, his native city, and subsequently held positions in policy development and corporate planning.
He graduated from Boston College in 1968, and he received his Ph.D. in English literature from Harvard University in 1976.
He has authored articles on issues management, and taught university courses on foreign and energy policy, as well as English and American literature. Dr. Sawaya has received the Book of the Month Club’s prize for fiction, authored chapters in several books on issues management and strategic planning, and in 1987 his doctoral dissertation, “The Skepticism and Animal Faith of Wallace Stevens,” was selected for the Outstanding Harvard Dissertations in American and English Literature series and published by Garland Press.
He and his wife Dale live in Vienna, Virginia, where they are about done with perpetual home improvement. They have three grown sons, two grandsons and four granddaughters.