Appreciating Bernard Lewis


Last week, in Washington, I had the privilege of participating in a panel devoted to the late Bernard Lewis (it was titled “Appreciating a Scholar of Consequence”). Hats off to The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and its director, Robert Satloff, for organizing the first event in the United States to revisit the work of Lewis.

All of the panelists first met Lewis while studying in Princeton. The others were Katherine Nouri Hughes, whom Lewis inspired to write a marvelous historical novel set in the sixteenth-century court of Süleyman the Magnificent; and Michael Doran, who’s gone on to great things in Washington, in and out of government. (Also in attendance were son Michael Lewis and his wife Jessica; Buntzie Ellis Churchill, Lewis’s companion and sometimes co-author; Harold Rhode, a devoted friend; and many more.)

You can watch the whole thing here. (An hour and a half, comprised of a clip of Lewis with George Shultz when both received the Scholar-Statesman Award of The Washington Institute; three short presentations; and a discussion.) For those with less time, I’ve pulled out my own talk (fifteen minutes) and put it here. In my remarks, I asked what made Lewis so determined to keep on plugging, even into his nineties. Clue to the answer: 1940.

(And if you know Hebrew, I also spoke at a Tel Aviv University event in Lewis’s memory. A video my remarks is here. That address closely tracked my article on Lewis for the website of Foreign Affairs.)

I know of other planned events, and will report them as they occur.

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