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Mary Lefkowitz

The 2006 National Humanities Medal was presented by American president, George W. Bush, to Hellenist, Mary Lefkowitz, in a special ceremony held at the White House on November 9.

National Humanities Medals were awarded to another eight prominent American scientists and one institute for their significant contribution to the area of Humanities. This distinction was established in 1989 and awards people and organisations that deepen the understanding, broaden the spectrum of activity, and contribute to the maintenance and expansion of the American public’s access to important sources of information related to Human Sciences.

Mary Lefkowitz is one of the most renowned Hellenists in the United States, author of the book Not Out of Africa, and editor of Black Athena Revisited, both of which deal with the origin of ancient Greek culture and have sparked an important debate in the United States. We presented her most recent book, Greek Gods, Human Lives: What We Can Learn from Myths, in the three hundred and first edition of Alexander Onassis. She is also a professor at Wellesley College.

The other award winners were Fouad Ajami, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at John Hopkins University, James Buchanan, economist and 1986 Nobel Prize winner, Nickolas Davatzes, expatriate and founder of the well-known History and Biography Channels, Robert Fagles, professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University and translator of ancient Greek writings, Bernard Lewis, historian specialising in matters related to the Muslim world, Meryle Secrest, biographer of prominent artists and collectors, Kevin Starr, historian, Mark Noll, expert in religious history, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.