Annual Leon Levy Lectures
The Annual Leon Levy Lecture is held in honor of Leon Levy and his passion for expanding knowledge, the power of ideas, and a just and equitable society. This broad humanism also defined his philanthropy. During his early life, Leon Levy’s close relationship to his father, the economic analyst Jerome Levy, was a major influence on his career and his values. As Leon remembered, “Dad did not view economics as a way to make money but as a way to improve society.” This was a fundamental belief Leon shared. Leon spent his professional life on Wall Street, starting as a research analyst right out of the U.S. Army, and within three years he was the youngest partner of Oppenheimer & Co. From the beginning of his career he was a generous patron of the arts and benefactor of a wide range of causes and institutions; philanthropy was not something he turned to once he made money. Leon was guided by his boundless curiosity, optimism, and desire to enable individuals to reach their full potential. “I give funds with few strings attached. I believe that liberal arts education is both important and imperiled, the study of arts, ideas, history, and politics prepares students to enjoy life as well as contribute to society.”
The Leon Levy Lectures are supported by the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation.
Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, will deliver the Eleventh Annual Leon Levy Lecture in the autumn of 2017.
The following lectures have been delivered in this series:
The Horizons of Antiquity
The First Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2007) was given by G.W. Bowersock, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.
The History of the Sahara in Antiquity: Mirage or Scientific Project?
The Second Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2008) was given by Mario Liverani, Professor Emeritus of Ancient Near East History, University of Rome La Sapienza.
The Historian in the Future of the Ancient World: A View from Central Eurasia
The Third Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2009) was given by Nicola di Cosmo, Luce Foundation Professor in East Asian Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.
The Fourth Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2010) was given by Francesca Rochberg, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
The Fifth Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2011) was given by Marianne Bergmann, Director Emeritus, Archaeologisches Institut, Universitaet Goettingen.
The Sixth Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2012) was given by Michael Puett, Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History, Harvard University.
The Seventh Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2013) was given by Piotr Michalowski, George G. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
The Eighth Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2014) was given by Jessica Rawson, Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford.
The Ninth Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2015) was given by Hermann Parzinger, President of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz.
The Tenth Annual Leon Levy Lecture (2016) was given by Theo van den Hout, Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Hittite and Anatolian Languages, The University of Chicago. Video of this lecture is available on the corresponding event page.