In Memoriam Lecture: "Ludwig W. Adamec and the Architecture of Afghanistan Studies: Building a National History on Transnational Realities"

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In Memoriam Lecture: "Ludwig W. Adamec and the Architecture of Afghanistan Studies: Building a National History on Transnational Realities"

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
February 4, 2020

In Memoriam Lecture: "Ludwig W. Adamec and the Architecture of Afghanistan Studies: Building a National History on Transnational Realities"

Center for Middle Eastern Studies

February 2020

Ludwig W. Adamec remains to this day one of the most prominent Afghan studies scholars worldwide. The founding director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at the University of Arizona, Adamec passed away on January 1, 2019, leaving 50 years of rich legacy in Middle Eastern studies.

Marking the one-year anniversary of his death, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, in collaboration with friends and kind donors, is hosting a special event to honor his life and work.

On Wednesday February 12, 2020, at 5:30 p.m., Professor Shah Mahmoud Hanifi from James Madison University (JMU), Virginia will give an In Memoriam lecture titled "Ludwig W. Adamec and the Architecture of Afghanistan Studies: Building a National History on Transnational Realities." Hanifi, a Professor at the Department of History and Coordinator of the Middle Eastern Communities and Migrations Program at JMU, is an Afghan studies expert and a knowledgeable source about Dr. Adamec's accomplishments in the field.

Adamec was born in 1924 in Vienna, Austria. A survivor of Nazi Germany, he lived his early youth between orphanages, prisons and labor camps. In 1950, Adamec left his home country for good and made it to Kabul, Afghanistan in 1952. This first visit made a life-long impact on him.

He moved to America and earned a Ph.D. at UCLA, reconstructing the diplomatic history of Afghanistan through exhaustive archival research and a sharp look into the country's independence. The outcome of his dissertation —and probably the most iconic piece of his work— was published by UC Berkeley Press in 1967. That same year, he arrived at the University of Arizona.

From then on, Dr. Adamec became a key figure in the field of Middle Eastern Studies and a pillar for the growth of the field at the University of Arizona. In 1975, he won an initial U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant that allowed the establishment of the UA Center for Near Eastern Studies (now UA CMES), ensuring the growth and establishment of expert faculty and successful programs.

Dr. Ludwig Adamec is regarded as a pioneer of Afghanistan diplomatic research. Through detailed archival studies, and an early exposure to the Middle East, he made exceptional advances in the analysis and understanding of Afghan diplomacy. Publications such as Afghanistan, 1900–1923: A Diplomatic History, the biographical dictionary of Who's Who of Afghanistan and the six-volume Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan, made a profound impact on his field.

Dr. Adamec's academic contributions make him an unmatched reference in Afghanistan studies, but also a remarkable figure in Middle East international relations. From 1986 to 1987, he headed the Afghanistan Branch of Voice of America, staying ahead of the politics of the time with professionalism and tactfulness. His legacy lives not only in the solid foundation of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; it endures in the relations he built with scholars, diplomats and Afghan nationals. The outpouring of kind remarks in social media from multiple sectors after Adamec’s passing exemplifies the profound impact of his work.

In addition to Dr. Adamec's scholarly research in the field of Middle Eastern Studies, you can also take an interesting look into his early life in his own words. We at CMES continued to be inspired by his example as a scholar and an exceptional colleague.

The In Memoriam lecture will be held at The Manuel Pacheco Integrated Learning Center, Room 130. UA History Professor Richard Eaton, will introduce Prof. Hanifi's lecture and talk about his long-time friendship with Dr. Adamec, shedding light on personal and less known aspects of his extraordinary life. We hope you will join us on this very special occasion.

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