In Memorium of Peter Awn
The Middle East Institute joins the Columbia University community in mourning the loss of our dear colleague. Peter Awn is best known and widely admired for his leadership and passionate advocacy role as the Dean of General Studies, which he saw--with its veterans, first-generation and returning students--as representing the “cutting edge of undergraduate education.” Peter’s important work as Professor of Islamic and Comparative Religion ranged from teaching his department’s popular undergraduate lecture course to advising numerous doctoral dissertations.
A former Director of the MEI, Peter also was a stalwart participant in the institute’s annual reviews of student applications for research and language study fellowships, meetings he joined both admirably prepared and with his inimitable personal wit and style, down to his flashy socks.
As for our affiliate, the Center for Palestine Studies, Peter was there at its birth in 2010. His crucial, behind the scenes administrative intervention enabled the launch of an academic center particular to Columbia and unique in the western hemisphere.
We extend our condolences to Peter’s family and to his life-long friends.