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David Taylor
Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Ruth Stone
Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Last modified: Monday, August 30, 2010

Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities to visit IU Bloomington Sept. 21

EDITORS: NEH Chairman James Leach is available for interviews. To schedule an interview or for more information on his visit to Bloomington, contact David Taylor at 812-855-3931.

August 30, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- James Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will visit Indiana University Bloomington on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Leach's visit is part of the American Civility Tour, a 50-state tour he launched in November 2009, shortly after starting his four-year term as NEH chairman.

During his visit, Leach will deliver a public lecture at 4 p.m. in the Frangipani Room titled "Civility in a Fractured Society." The event is free and open to the public.

James Leach

James Leach

James Leach is the ninth chairman of the NEH. He succeeded Bruce Cole, an IU distinguished professor of art history and professor of comparative literature, who served as NEH chairman from December 2001 through January 2009.

Leach previously served 30 years representing southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus.

After leaving Congress in 2007, Leach joined Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, where he was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of public and international affairs. Leach graduated from Princeton University and received a Master of Arts degree in Soviet politics from the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. Leach holds eight honorary degrees and has received numerous awards for his contributions in public service.

Leach is undertaking his tour to call attention to the breakdown of civility in the United States. At a speech in Denver this month, Leach emphasized that "words reflect emotion as well as meaning," saying "inflammatory hate speech too easily impels violence. Healing language, on the other hand, can help reconcile peoples, even in the wake of war ... Seldom has it been more important to pull together and morally rearm, not with intolerance for others, but with faith in traditional American ideals -- honor, dignity, love, or at least respect for neighbors, near and far."

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. Additional information about the NEH and its grant programs is available at