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A nation must think before it acts.
Alan Luxenberg (Lux to me) is an amazing person. It has been my pleasure to have known him over these decades.
From the start of his involvement with the Foreign Policy Research Institute in 1976, Lux took on an early indispensable role for all who made the Institute a noteworthy place. He was smart, hard-working, and knowledgeable beyond his years. I noted the myriad ways the Institute’s leadership engaged Lux as a problem solver for the crises that are natural if the President is a nationally known leader with multiple calls on his time.
My professional life over these many years has evolved over a variety of roles at FPRI. I was admitted to the graduate program in International Relations by FPRI Founder Robert Strausz-Hupé. I became a Junior Fellow following my MA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. When I subsequently became a doctoral student, the Institute remained a focus for professional interaction. Harvey Sicherman, my friend and fellow graduate student at Penn, was already a rising star at FPRI thus helping keep my interaction with the Institute alive.
Upon his joining FPRI, Lux became the thoroughly nice, kind and capable younger brother we all turned to. Over time, through changes in leadership, Alan Luxenberg offered the quiet, steady hand that helped give FPRI greater heft as a think tank of note.
After a stint in the U.S. government at the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State and at the White House National Security Council, I returned to Philadelphia in 1993. I was at Princeton working on a report on U.S. relations with South Asia for the Council on Foreign Relations. I consulted with close colleagues on follow-on efforts from my NSC days working to get a productive relationship between India and Pakistan. Towards that end, I felt I could use my connections with India and Pakistan, along with my then-recent experience as Director for South Asia at the NSC, where I was in charge of the concerted effort by the White House to bring the two countries closer.
Harvey was excited at the idea of a small, Track II effort and encouraged me to house it at FPRI. I was delighted. Funding came from W. Alton Jones, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the United Nations Development Programme, and others. Organizing the small group of senior Indian and Pakistani members of the group we named BALUSA required a great deal of care and special handling. While I had gone directly to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, respectively, to get their blessings before undertaking the effort, each of the members was new to the idea of working with the other side in a close private exercise aimed at securing a better relationship.
Lux was part of the small group of advisors helping with the decade-long BALUSA effort. No issue was too small for me to ask for his advice and help. As all of us who know him recognize, Alan Luxenberg is a colleague who is generous in giving his time to all projects the FPRI undertakes.
BALUSA meetings in the initial five years took place outside the subcontinent as neither side wanted to go to the other country for sensitive discussions. Venues were carefully chosen and hosted by notables, such as the National Security Advisor of Oman or the Crown Prince of Jordan. Substantive areas of discussion included economic relations, political contacts, and military confidence building. As I traveled to these venues, FPRI was the backstop for problems that arose at times in the field. Lux helped Harvey deal with the issues. Years later, it was Lux who advised me to write up the work of the unique BALUSA effort. The only detailed existing record of its work is now on the FPRI website along with photographs recording special moments in various locations.
In his typical quiet and effective fashion, Lux saw the Institute through the shock of Harvey’s loss. His steady hand helped in the transition involving a saddened group of colleagues. The Board made a wise choice in naming Alan Luxenberg as President.
As President, Lux took FPRI in new directions. He reached out beyond Philadelphia and helped expand its on-line presence. New sources of funding were needed and found. He steadily increased the number of stakeholders and made them part of the Institute’s family.
When I wrote my own story last year, I spent several productive sessions with Lux talking through the best process of writing memoirs. The need to sift through my life to find a connecting thread for topics worth recounting was an exhaustive process. I will always be grateful for the help that Lux offered toward that goal. The final readiness of the manuscript required Lux again to offer his patient expertise. The final product would not have been published by a major publisher in 2018 without the assistance I received from Alan Luxenberg.
I will miss my friend as FPRI President. But I join the ranks of so many others in wishing Lux a wonderful new chapter in his future. He leaves behind a great legacy—which after all is the best testament to his service.