WASHINGTON (November 8, 2006)– President George W. Bush today announced that he will award the 2006 National Humanities Medal to nine distinguished Americans and one institution for their contributions to the humanities. At a White House ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 9, the President will present the National Humanities Medal to Fouad Ajami, James M. Buchanan, Nickolas Davatzes, Robert Fagles, Mary Lefkowitz, Bernard Lewis, Mark Noll, Meryle Secrest, Kevin Starr, and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University.
The National Humanities Medal, first awarded in 1989 as the Charles Frankel Prize, honors individuals and organizations whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand America's access to important humanities resources.
The following nine individuals and one organization will receive the National Humanities Medal for 2006:
Fouad Ajami is the Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle East Studies at The Johns Hopkins University's Paul A. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., a position he has held since 1980. He has been teaching and writing on the modern Middle East and Arab political thought and culture for over three decades and is considered to be one of the most politically influential Arab-American intellectuals of his generation. Prior to his appointment at SAIS, he was a member of the faculty of the department of politics at Princeton University and a fellow of the Center of International Studies. He has been a contributing editor and columnist for the magazine U.S. News and World Report for nearly two decades. A naturalized U.S. citizen of Lebanese birth, he is the author of the newly released book, The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq.Other titles include The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation's Odyssey; The Arab Predicament; Beirut: City of Regrets; and The Vanished Imam: Musa al-Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon. Dr. Ajami lives in New York City with his wife, Michelle.
James M. Buchanan, an economist and 1986 Nobel Prize winner in economic science, is best known for developing public choice theory, which changed the way economists analyze economic and political decision-making. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and held teaching positions at the University of Virginia, UCLA, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at George Mason University and also at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Buchanan was named president of the Southern Economic Association in 1963, president of the Western Economic Association in 1983 and 1984, and vice president of the American Economic Association in 1971. He is the author of many publications on economics, and The Calculus of Consent, written with Gordon Tullock, is considered to be one of the classic works that founded the discipline of public choice theory. Buchanan's 30 influential books include an autobiography, Better than Plowing and Other Personal Essays, and most recently, a series called The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan. He is a resident of both Blacksburg and Fairfax, Va.
Nickolas Davatzes is the founder of The History Channel, the A&E Network, the Save Our History program, which is sponsored by The History Channel, the Biography Channel, and past co-chairman of the board of directors for Cable in the Classroom and one of its founders. His additional successful programming includes The History Channel en español and the Military History Channel. The History Channel was honored in 1998 with two George Foster Peabody Awards and received the 1999 Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for Save Our History. Viewed worldwide, The History Channel is available in 145 countries. Davatzes helped establish The History Channel Club and The History Channel Magazine. In 2000 Davatzes and The History Channel were honored by the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation with the "Lone Sailor" Award. Davatzes is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and is the recipient of the Marine Corps Historical Foundation Heritage Award. The son of Greek immigrants, he grew up in New York City, graduated from St. John's University, and received an honorary doctorate from St. John's University. He is married to Dorie, his wife for 38 years, and they have two sons.
Robert Fagles is Arthur W. Marks `19 Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Princeton University, where he taught from 1960 to 2002 and was the founding chair of his department. His translations of Sophocles's Three Theban Plays, Aeschylus's Oresteia, and Homer's Iliad, which was the winner of the 1991 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of The Academy of American Poets, an award from the Translation Center of Columbia University, and the New Jersey Humanities Book Award. His original poetry and translations have appeared in many journals and in his book of poems, I, Vincent: Poems from the Pictures of Van Gogh. He translated Homer's Odyssey for Viking Penguin Books and most recently, Virgil's Aeneid. Fagles has won many distinguished awards, including the 1997 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been elected to the Academy as a member of the Department of Literature and also to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He holds honorary doctorates in letters from Amherst, Bowdoin, and Yale. Princeton honored him with a Howard T. Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities. He has lived for more than 40 years with his wife, Lynne, in Princeton, where they have raised two daughters, Katya and Nina.
Mary Lefkowitz is one of the best-known classical scholars in this country. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, and the New York Review of Books. She is the author of Not Out of Africa and co-editor with Guy MacLean Rogers of Black Athena Revisited, a collection of essays by various scholars. Because they deal with highly controversial theories about the origin of ancient Greek civilization, both books were widely received and generated considerable discussion. Dr. Lefkowitz has appeared on national radio talk shows and on CBS-TV's 60 Minutes and was the subject of interviews in the Boston Globe and the Washington Post. Her most recent book, Greek Gods, Human Lives, is "an attempt to write the gods back into Greek myths," according to the New York Times Book Review. Some of her other titles include Heroines and Hysterics; Women in Greek Myth; Women's Life in Greece and Rome; and The Victory Ode. Dr. Lefkowitz, a graduate of the Brearley School in New York, Wellesley College, and Radcliffe College, where she received her Ph.D. in classical philology, has been awarded fellowships by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Onassis Foundation. Dr. Lefkowitz is professor emerita of classics at Wellesley. She was named the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities in 1979. She lives in Wellesley, Mass., with her husband, Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones, a former Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford.
Bernard Lewis is considered by many to be the greatest living historian of the Muslim world. He has pursued his primary interest, the history of the Ottoman Empire, producing groundbreaking works including The Emergence of Modern Turkey, The Political Language of Islam, The Muslim Discovery of Europe, The Jews of Islam, and Islam and the West. His most recent publication is From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East. Other titles by Lewis: The Crisis of Islam: Holy War & Unholy Terror; What Went Wrong: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East; Western Impact and the Middle Eastern Response; A Middle East Mosaic: Fragments of Life, Letters and History; The Multiple Identities of the Middle East; and The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years. Born in London, England, in 1916, Lewis became attracted to languages and history at an early age. Lewis's interest in history was stirred thanks to his bar mitzvah ceremony, during which he received as a gift a book on Jewish history. He graduated in 1936 from the then School of Oriental Studies (SOAS, now School of Oriental and African Studies) at the University of London with a B.A. in history with special reference to the Near and Middle East, and obtaining his Ph.D. three years later, also from SOAS, specializing in the history of Islam. During the Second World War, Lewis served in the British Army in the Royal Armoured Corps and Intelligence Corps in 1940-41, and was then attached to a department of the Foreign Office. After the war he returned to SOAS, and in 1949 he was appointed to the new chair in Near and Middle Eastern history at the age of 33. In 1974 Lewis accepted a joint position at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study, marking the beginning of the most prolific period in his research career. In addition, it was in the United States that Lewis became a public intellectual. After his retirement from Princeton in 1986 as the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Lewis held many visiting appointments. Lewis has been a naturalized citizen of the United States since 1982.
Mark Noll's main academic concern is the interaction of Christianity and culture in 18th- and 19th-century Anglo-American societies. After many years of teaching at Wheaton College, Noll joined the history department of the University of Notre Dame as the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History. He earned his B.A. in English at Wheaton and a Ph.D. in American religious history at Vanderbilt University. The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded him two year-long fellowships, and in 2004 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in 2004-05. Noll was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. Among his many books, articles, and reviews, Noll's well-known titles include A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada; America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln; The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (just published), and The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. He co-founded The Institute for the Study of American Evangelicalism, and he is the former president of The American Society of Church History. Professor Noll and his wife, Maggie, who is a reference librarian, are the parents of three children.
Meryle Secrest is the author of enthusiastically received biographies of major artists and their collectors—Between Me and Life: A Biography of Romaine Brooks (1974); Being Bernard Berenson (1979); Kenneth Clark (1984); Salvador Dalí (1986); Frank Lloyd Wright (1992); and Duveen (2004)—and of leading figures in American Broadway theater, including Leonard Bernstein (1994); Somewhere for Me: A Biography of Richard Rodgers (2001); and Stephen Sondheim (1998). The daughter of British working class parents in a lean time, Secrest received an education that encompassed a rigorous grammar school experience, but not attendance at a university. At first in England and then in Canada, she found a congenial vocation in journalism. Her marriage to an American political scientist brought her to Washington, D.C., and after free-lancing for the Washington Post, she joined the paper full time in 1964. She was a founding member of the Post's Style section and served as arts reporter, arts columnist, and editor before leaving the staff in 1976. Secrest discovered American artist Romaine Brooks in 1971, writing several articles on her that led to the first of many biographical works about American art and popular culture. Her meticulously researched and gracefully written books on Berenson, Clark, and Duveen show how a few key art experts and dealers, all well known to one another, mediated a historic transfer of European masterworks first into the collections of J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon, and other wealthy American industrialists and then into the great galleries and museums that their philanthropy established. Her books on Bernstein, Rodgers, and Sondheim show how another close knit group came together at a critical moment to create such prodigious phenomena of American culture as Oklahoma, West Side Story, and Sweeney Todd. As do all her biographies, her books on Romaine Brooks, Salvador Dalí, and Frank Lloyd Wright portray a complex personality sometimes jarringly at variance with the public persona. Secrest's newest book, Shoot the Widow: Adventures in Biography, is to be published in May 2007 by Knopf.
Kevin Starr is an American historian best known for his multi-volume series on the social and cultural history of California, collectively called America and the California Dream, which now comprises seven volumes. They are titled Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915 (1973); Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era (1985); Material Dreams: Southern California Through the 1920s (1990); Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in California (1996); The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s (1997); Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, California 1940-1950, and Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2002 (2004). He has also been a daily columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and the director of his own communications consulting firm. Starr was the seventh State Librarian of California in the twentieth century from 1994 to 2004, after which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger named him State Librarian Emeritus. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1962. After serving two years as a lieutenant in a tank battalion in Germany, he took his M.A. in 1965 at Harvard and his Ph.D. in 1969 in American literature. He also holds a master of library science degree from U.C. Berkeley and has done post-doctoral work at the Graduate Theological Union. He currently holds the rank of university professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His writing has won him a Guggenheim Fellowship, membership in the Society of American Historians, and the Gold Medal of the Commonwealth Club of California, the Presidential Medallion of the University of Southern California, and the Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University. Starr was born in San Francisco in 1940 and lives there with his wife, Sheila. They have two daughters and six grandchildren.
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, is a public policy research center devoted to advanced study of politics, economics, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs. Founded in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, who later became the 31st president of the United States, the Hoover Institution originated as a specialized collection of documents on the causes and consequences of World War I. The collection grew rapidly and soon became one of the largest archives and most complete libraries in the world devoted to political, economic, and social change in the twentieth century. By the late 1940s, the richness of the collection had led to the recruitment of scholars to use the documents in their work. Expanding its agenda to include specific research endeavors led to a vast accumulation of knowledge, and the Hoover Institution became one of the first and most distinguished academic centers in the United States dedicated to public policy research. Today, with its world-renowned group of scholars and ongoing programs of policy-oriented research, the Hoover Institution puts its accumulated knowledge to work as a prominent contributor to the world marketplace of ideas defining a free society.
The National Endowment for the Humanities gratefully acknowledges The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities for its generous support of the 2006 National Humanities Medals. Additional information about the NEH and the National Humanities Medal is available on the Internet at www.neh.gov.