Interview with Gilad Atzmon by Prof. Norton Mezvinsky

Richard Curtiss

Memorial Service to Remember Richard H. Curtiss
(June 13, 1927-Jan. 31, 2013)

You asked us to notify you about the memorial service for Richard H. Curtiss, a retired Foreign Service officer and executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, who died on January 31, 2013.

Donna Curtiss, his wife of 62 years, and the family will hold a memorial service to celebrate his life with friends, colleagues and fellow peace activists at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, at St. Alban’s Parish Church, 3001 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016. Parking is available nearby in the Washington National Cathedral’s underground parking garage.

Thank you for the deeply moving notes we’ve received from community leaders, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, readers, writers and former interns, as well as those from Foreign Service friends and neighbors. Please don’t bring flowers—just your good memories to share.


Education and Experience

Richard H. Curtiss, a retired Foreign Service officer and executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs died on January 31, 2013 in Kensington, MD. Richard Curtiss was born in 1927 and earned a degree in journalism at the University of Southern California. After U.S. Army service in Berlin he worked with United Press International (UPI). He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1951, and served in Indonesia, Germany, Turkey, Lebanon, (on three separate assignments), Iraq, Syria, and Greece. He was deeply proud of his work with Voice of America’s Arabic Service from 1970-1973. He retired in 1980 as the Chief Inspector of the United States Information Agency (USIA). During his U.S. government career he received the USIA’s Superior Honor award for his service as the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer (PAO) in Lebanon during that nation’s civil war and the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy, USIA’s highest professional recognition, in 1974.

Publication and Films

Following his retirement from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1980, Curtiss co-founded the American Arab Affairs Council (now the Middle East Policy Council) in 1981. He joined U.S. Ambassador Andrew Killgore and British Ambassador Edward Henderson to co-found the American Educational Trust (AET), a non-partisan, non-profit foundation aimed at increasing mutual understanding between Middle Easterners and Americans, in 1982. AET publishes the award-winning Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, of which Mr. Curtiss was executive editor. He also helped launch the Council for the National Interest in 1984.

He was the author of A Changing Image: American Perceptions of the Arab-Israeli Dispute, a history of U.S. involvement in that conflict from World War I to the present. The book has been commended by former Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter for its balanced and informative approach to a highly politicized topic. His second book, Stealth PACs: Lobbying Congress for Control of U.S. Middle East Policy, now in its fourth edition, lists donations by all Middle East-related political action committees to all candidates for Congress from 1976 through 1996. He was also co-editor of a third book, Seeing the Light: Personal Encounters with the Middle East and Islam, published in 1997, containing 74 first-person narratives by separate authors. Mr. Curtiss also wrote and directed two one-hour educational films: “Oases of the Sea: The Arab States of the Gulf” and “Sacred Land: The Oasis Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Curtiss wrote extensively for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs on an array of topics, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the role of ethnic and religious lobbies seeking to influence U.S. Middle East policy. He spoke about U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East on many radio and television programs, and wrote a weekly column for the Arab News, published in Saudi Arabia, and other English-language newspapers in the Gulf. Curtiss received awards from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in 1992, from the Council for the National Interest (CNI) and Partners for Peace in 1993, from the United Muslims of America and the Islamic Association for Palestine in North America in 1994 and from the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development and the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in 1995. He was deeply interested in archaeology and donated his extensive collection of antiquities to Emory University.

Here are some of his articles he’s published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, over the years that are still pertinent today:

Dec. 1997, Pages 43-45 The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers: True Lies About U.S. Aid to Israel

Sept. 1998 An Obituary for “the Middle East Peace Process

Sept. 1999, Pages 12-13 Muslim and Arab Americans Start Coordinated Political Action on Secret Evidence, Jerusalem, Elections

Sept. 1999, Pages 21, 119 By Starting Now, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans Can Make Election Year 2000 a Turning Point

Sept. 1999, Page 45 The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers: U.S. Aid to Israel Now Exceeds $90 Billion

June 2003, Pages 24-26 Rupert Murdoch and William Kristol: Using the Press to Advance Israel's Interests

Nov. 2006, Pages 12-13 In Sixth Arab-Israeli War, Hezbollah Survives, Israel Loses, Bush Missing in Action

December 2006, Pages 22-23 Tony Judt and Israel: The Country That Wouldn’t Grow Up

March 2007, Pages 30-31, 33 Requiem for Saddam Hussain

May-June 2007, Pages 28-29 Israel’s Hush-Up Machine in Action: Denying Story Israel Executed Egyptian Prisoners

Additional information