On May 18, faculty, staff, students, and board members gathered to honor Dr. Michael Hudson’s past three years of service to CCAS as its director. However, this recent directorial turn is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg in terms of his involvement in the Center. Dr. Hudson helped found CCAS in 1975, and has led it intermittently for 35 years. For his many years of dedicated leadership, we are grateful. In the upcoming year, Dr. Hudson will continue his duties as a director, but at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute.
Several members of the CCAS community spoke at the event, serving up both lighthearted and serious stories. Dr. Barbara Stowasser, who has also been an extraordinary force behind the Center for many years, and who will take on the directorship in 2010-2011, said, “Under Mike, there were years of success, expansion, innovation, high visibility, and internal harmony. He will be sorely missed. But while he is gone, we want him to remember that his roots are here—and dress accordingly.” Dr. Stowasser then presented Dr. Hudson with a baseball cap with the Georgetown University logo and a picture of Jack the GU bulldog. “You should wear this all around Singapore,” she told him.
Dr. Stowasser also read this missive from former Dean of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service Dr. Peter Krogh: “Mike’s signature is indelibly inscribed on the pages of the Center’s long and distinguished history. It is a proud and noble signature which commands the respect of the entire Middle East studies community and which is owed the gratitude of the entire Georgetown University community.” Dr. Clovis Maksoud, Director of the Center for the Global South at American University and a valued board member, wrote in the following: “Professor Hudson will always be an inspiration to the Arab studies students and professionals and to the institution that he has nourished from the start.”
Others have since weighed in about their experience working with Dr. Hudson. Rania Kiblawi, the Center’s associate director, said, “Working for and with Mike has been an incomparable experience. He has guided the Center with vision, honesty, fearlessness, and humor—always keenly focused on the Center’s best interests. He has shaped my view of what an excellent leader can be.” Maggie Daher, CCAS’s public affairs coordinator, said, “I have admired most the way that Mike fiercely probed the tough issues at all of CCAS’s public events. He also always pushed for us to be on top of the news, even if it meant putting together an event in a matter of days. Despite the stress of last minute planning, it always paid off. I feel immensely lucky to have worked under a leader like Mike.”
Some voiced opinions of Mike’s upstanding, yet fun, character. Dr. Samer Shehata, Assistant Professor at CCAS, said, “Mike is a true gentlemen; he is always exceedingly polite, warm, and gracious. And despite the formal wear and impeccable etiquette, he is loads of fun at academic conferences. Of course, he studiously attends the dry academic panels during the day and then can sometimes be seen at the hotel bar in the evening with friends, colleagues, and former students enjoying himself and regaling others with fascinating stories.” Dr. Rochelle Davis, also Assistant Professor at CCAS, added, “Walking the corridors of CCAS, it was sometimes hard to navigate through the waves of people who flocked to Mike, like having a rock star in the building.”
Zeina Azzam Seikaly, Director of Educational Outreach for the Center, who has worked with Dr. Hudson since 1980, summed it up: “Without Mike’s vision and leadership, we would not have had the institutional building blocks at CCAS that we have enjoyed for many years, like the annual symposium, the visiting scholar program, research and publications, and the teacher outreach program. He has always been ahead of the curve in terms of steering the Center toward innovation, growth, and excellence. Mike has also been a friend to all of us, always supporting the work of staff, faculty, and students. We have known him as a serious scholar as well as a warm and fun colleague.”