My friend Harry.
Of course, ATWS dominated our discussions, particularly how the next meeting or next issue of the Journal might work out. Those were important to both of us since both of us had put so much into birthing and nurturing ATWS and JTWS. Harry began ATWS in 1983 as an outgrowth of his Third World in Perspective series at Georgia Southwestern University. I came on board in 1984 when I saw an advertisement for the first ATWS meeting. I sent him a heartfelt letter assuming he was the great China specialist Harold Isaacs. He called me back to let me know he was not that person, rather a Latin American specialist at Georgia Southwestern. After we had a good laugh and spoke for a long while, he invited me to present at the conference. I did and as they say, the rest is history. I was hooked and from that time on we and other new members like our mutual friend and colleague Zia Hashmi from Georgia Southern University began planning more conferences at other places such as Armstrong State University, University of Florida, etc. We also put together dozens of Third World in Perspective meetings at GSW. Some even made it to TV.
At one point Harry and I went to another conference at Jekyll Island. I can't really remember who sponsored it. We roomed together and were on the same panel. As we drove home we began to discuss the formalization of the Association. From that talk, I drafted a constitution and bylaws. Harold did a significant edit and we talked Zia into becoming the first Vice-President/President elect. In later years, Harold would compare it to me being Jefferson, him being Franklin, and Zia being Washington. I am not sure about me being as smart as the red headed genius from Virginia, but Harry was definitely our founding father.
Over the intervening years, the Association, the Journal, and the Third World in Perspective programs grew and expanded. I spent several years as the Asian editor and Chair of the Election Committee and finally President, guided by Harold's loving hand. New generations of members and leaders joined, important people like Gary Kline, Paul Rodell, Paul Magnarella, Shafic Hashmi, John Mbaku, Abdul Karim Bangura, Dorothea Martin, Sun Yi, Philip Aka, Tom Leonard, Robert Curry, Cecil Currey, Lily Mendoza, David Schwam-Baird, Assefaw Bariagaber, Lauren Eastwood, Mike Hall, Toyin Falola, Bill Pederson, Bhim Sandhu, A.B. Assensoh, Lauren Eastwood, Chaitram Singh, Patrice McSherry, Doyin Coker-Solo, Mike Bishku, Phil Szmedra, Rolin Mainuddin, and so many others, too numerous to mention. We took bold steps by moving meetings away from GSW, then to other states, then to other regions, and finally overseas. Famous speakers like Oscar Arias presented important words to our membership. New organizations were organized, in places like India, to be part of the larger Association. And, new regional editors and Association officers took over important roles and responsibilities from the founding members marching Harry's important vision forward.
We had problems and bumps along the way. Like any family, its members did not always agree, but somehow we eventually worked the problems out with the wise council of our founder Harold Isaacs. Indeed, we always knew that whatever happened we could count on Harry to save the day. Even when the conference organizer died prior to our meeting at William & Mary, Harry came to the rescue. Even when we were stuck in a hurricane at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, Harry marshalled his resources (including me) and concluded a successful conference. When we went to Costa Rica through the good offices of our dear friend and longtime member Tom Leonard, potential concerns were deferred because of Hairy's kind and caring personality. In the end, it was the beginning of many overseas successes all of which Harry enjoyed. He reveled in the excellent work of so many like Michael Hall, our friends in India, and Gary Kline's dear wife Shu who did the local work and set up the panels which provided robust discussion and meaningful dialogue dedicated to solving the problems of 75 percent of the world's people.
Finally, Harry led us into a time of prosperity when members like my good friend Cecil Cuirey, first donated a major monetary contribution and then bequeath after his death to fund the ATWS Curry Book Award. In addition, the African Studies wing of ATWS also provided funding for the Reddick award which honored excellent articles and publications in the vital area of African history, culture, politics, and economics. All of this made ATWS the most diverse and inclusive organization of its kind and fulfilled Harry's initial vision of what the Association and Journal should be.
On July 10, 2015, Harry passed over the river and lay down his heavy burdens. When he did we were left to become orphans or to grow and perpetuate his vital Association. He left it to us to decide if we truly believed in the work he began. We must honor his memory by stepping up and recruiting new members, publishing articles in JTWS, organizing new conferences, becoming ATWS elected officers, and placing ATWS before our own individual interests.
I have spent 31 years of my professional and personal life side-by-side with Hairy and many others seeking to perpetuate an organization dedicated to ending poverty and hate as well as spreading peace and justice. At times it seems like an impossible goal and yet, Harry never thought so and that is why he dedicated his life to ATWS.
Before one of our many rounds of golf, this time with my younger son along, we went into the pro shop to pay. Not surprisingly, Harry paid for all of us before I could stop him. He always did that kind of thing. Indeed, he did that for so many of us. After he walked out of the door to get the cart, the head pro turned to me and said, "You know Dr. Isaacs is a really good person!" My son said. "Yes, yes, he really is!" That man's comment is the best thing anyone could say about any of us!
The last time I saw Harry was a couple of weeks before he died. Yes, we were on the golf course! On the last hole his approach shot was really bad and like most golfers he was grumbling. Like most golfers I said, "Chip it in!" He did! Later I thought maybe that was God's way of rewarding Harry for being a "Good Person!"
Dr. William Head, Chief Historian, Air Logistics Center, Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Tributes From 2015 Conference; Harold Isaacs|
|Publication:||Journal of Third World Studies|
|Article Type:||In memoriam|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2015|
|Previous Article:||Zia Hashmi interview October 7, 2015.|
|Next Article:||Words in remembrance of our late founder, Harold Isaacs.|