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Board Spotlight: Bill Angrick

August 25, 2011

To provide a better understanding of the “backbone” of IRIS and our programming, we’re featuring a special series of Board Spotlights. If you have additional or follow-up questions, please leave them in the comments!

Bill Angrick has served on the IRIS board since 2010. A Clive, Iowa resident, Angrick was the Citizens’ Aide/Ombudsman for the State of Iowa from April, 1978 until his retirement in June, 2010. Angrick has held the office of President of the United States Ombudsman Association (USOA) of Ombudsman and served as President of the Board of Directors of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) from October, 2004 until June, 2010.  The IOI is an organization headquartered in Vienna, Austria with a membership of ombudsman offices from 92 different countries including the European Union. .


Tell us a little about your background.

I have been interested in government service all my life.  My father and grandfather served in elective political office in Indiana.  I studied political science at Purdue University and taught state and local government at Drake University for five years.  Then I spent 32 years serving the people of Iowa’s as Ombudsman.

How did you become involved with international programs?

I have been interested in international relations since high school.  I won a scholarship in International Relations at Johns Hopkins and met Milton Eisenhower, who was the university president.  He was a great, compassionate man.  While I didn’t finish my studies at Hopkins my international relations interest have remained.  At Drake, I learned a lot from Ellsworth Woods.  As Ombudsman, I offered my staff and myself to international visitors since 1978.

What has been your most enriching travel experience, personally or professionally? 

My IRIS visit to Nigeria [in 2005 with IRIS’ Civil Society program] several years ago opened my mind and heart.

How many countries/continents have you visited? 

I have been to Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, Great Britain, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia and Canada.  I was born in the Canal Zone, Panama.

Tell us a little about what prompted you to become engaged with IRIS.

I respect and believe in the work IRIS does.  I respect Bob and Del very much.  Getting involved was just natural.

What is an international issue that is particularly important to you? 

Human rights, anticorruption, transparency, social, health and environmental conditions all are important to me.

Why is it important to “connect Iowans to communities worldwide,” as IRIS’s mission states?

If the average people of the world–the teachers, journalists, health care workers, small business folks don’t find a way to communicate and relate what happens internationally there will be a lack of real human dimension and involvement.

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