After working through his way through Princeton, RICHARD ARNDT studied French-US literary relations at the University of Dijon, in the first year of the French program (1949 – 1950). He taught French literature at Columbia University (PhD, 1959), focused on Diderot and the 18th Century.
In 1961 he joined USIA and began 24 years in US cultural diplomacy, first in Beirut, then Sri Lanka and Tehran. After mid-career study at Princeton's Wilson School, he joined the State Department's office of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), for work in Latin America, then as head of Youth Affairs and US Specialists. In 1974 he was cultural attaché in Rome then Paris, returning to Washington to serve as Director of Policy and Plans for ECA. Retiring in 1985, he taught at the University of Virginia and George Washington University.
He has been President of the US Fulbright Association (ed. Fulbright Difference, 1993), chaired boards of the National Peace Foundation and Americans for UNESCO. His book The First Resort of Kings: US Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century (2005) has been adapted for university teaching in the US and abroad. In 1986 he founded and still chairs the Lois Roth Endowment, managing 14 country-projects in international exchanges and literary translation (4 countries) with 20 cooperating partners, including EKF.