CCAS Mourns the Loss of Dr. George Atiyeh, Dr. Andrew Vincent, Dr. Louis Cantori, and Ambassador Lucius Battle - Center for Contemporary Arab Studies | Georgetown University
CCAS Logo

Dr. George Atiyeh, a respected member of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies’ Advisory Board from the early 1980s until 1997, passed away in April after a long illness. Dr. Atiyeh was born in Amioun, Lebanon, and received a B.A. and an M.A. from the American University of Beirut. In 1951, he moved to the U.S. to attend the University of Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. in Oriental languages and literature. After teaching at the University of Puerto Rico for 13 years, Dr. Atiyeh was offered the eminent position of head of the Library of Congress’s Near East Section. He occupied the position for nearly thirty years, until his retirement in 1996.

During his tenure at the Library, Dr. Atiyeh expanded the Near East collection from 15,000 to more than 250,000 volumes and worked tirelessly to promote greater understanding of the Arab world in the West. His efforts to do so earned him the National Order of the Cedar, one of the highest honors given by the Lebanese government. Dr. Atiyeh also published a number of books and edited volumes, including Al-Kindi: Philosopher of the Arabs (Oxford University Press, 1968) and The Book in the Islamic World: The Written Word and Communication in the Middle East (The Library of Congress and the State University of New York Press, 1995).

CCAS Director Dr. Michael C. Hudson commented on Dr. Atiyeh’s valued relationship with the Center: “Through his strong connections with scholars and academic institutions, he enriched our educational relationships in the region. He was also a close friend of several of the Center’s faculty members, including Hisham Sharabi, Hanna Batatu, Halim Barakat, Ibrahim Oweiss, and myself, among others. We are deeply saddened at his passing.”

Dr. Atiyeh is survived by his wife, Daisy, and their three children, Nicholas, Rose Marie, and Lancelot.

Friend of the Center Dr. Andrew Vincent, Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and a former Australian diplomat in Lebanon and Syria, passed away in April after a long battle with cancer. He and his wife, Petra Canard, were living in Beirut at the time, where Dr. Vincent was teaching at the American University there.

Dr. Vincent had a long and fruitful relationship with the Center. In 1992, he invited CCAS Director Dr. Michael Hudson to join him and Dr. Clement Henry Moore of the University of Texas at Austin in organizing a Middle East politics simulation “game” over the Internet in which students from Georgetown, Macquarie, and Texas would play the roles of Middle Eastern and global actors facing a series of regional conflicts occurring in a fictitious scenario set a few years in the future. Later, students from the American University in Cairo were also included.

This project was one of the first of its kind to utilize the Internet and email to bring students form around the globe into a common educational exercise. It proved very successful and has been refined and repeated over the years.

“Andrew Vincent brought both his experience from the Australian diplomatic service and his Ph.D. studies at Penn to become a genuine Middle East expert,” said Dr. Hudson. “He was a fine colleague and a wonderful friend, and was much beloved by his students at Macquarie and those from Georgetown who knew him through the simulation exercises. We will certainly miss him.”

Our sincere condolences go out to Petra and other surviving members of Dr. Vincent’s family.

Dr. Louis Cantori, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and a valued adjunct professor at CCAS, passed away in May after a lengthy illness.

Dr. Cantori earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago in 1966 and continued his education at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, where he studied Islamic philosophy for a year. Dr. Cantori then taught at UCLA until 1972, at which time he joined the political science department at UMBC. He served as the department’s chair from 1979 to 1985. Dr. Cantori also acted as a consultant to USAID and was a visiting lecturer at the State Department. He authored several books and over 40 articles on the Middle East and comparative politics, and was a founding member of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies as well as the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy.

CCAS Director Dr. Michael Hudson commented on his friend and colleague: “Lou Cantori and I went back a long way—we first met studying Arabic together at Princeton one hot summer in the early 1960s. We had many friendly debates over my “liberal” as opposed to his “conservative corporate” approach to Middle East politics. Over the years he taught at the Center in fields ranging from development planning to local government and comparative politics. We will indeed miss him.”

Dr. Cantori is survived by Barbara, his wife of 54 years, three children, and nine grandchildren.

Esteemed CCAS Advisory Board member Ambassador Lucius Battle passed away in May from Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Battle was born in Dawson, Georgia, and received a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Florida. He also served in the Navy in the Pacific during WWII. Mr. Battle joined the State Department in 1946, and enjoyed an illustrious diplomatic and administrative career, with highlights including a post as ambassador to Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser’s rule and an appointment as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs in 1967 and 1968. After leaving the government, he served as the president of the Middle East Institute and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies’ Foreign Policy Institute. He also became advisory board chairman of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in 1995.

“All of us at CCAS mourn the passing of Ambassador Lucius Battle,” said CCAS Director Dr. Michael Hudson. “Luke was a devoted member of our Advisory Board from the Center’s inception in 1975 until 1988, and we benefited greatly from his wisdom, support, and good humor. He was one of the great bridge-builders between the United States and the Arab world, and he will be remembered as one of America’s outstanding diplomats.

Mr. Battle is survived by four children and eight grandchildren. His wife, Betty Davis Battle, passed away in 2004. Our sincere condolences go out to the Ambassador’s family.