Reagan-era expert offers Middle East insights


Geoffrey Kemp speaks to a Middle East Studies section. Credit: Sofia Heller/Chronicle

Sofia Heller

Middle East specialist in the Reagan administration and Harvard-Westlake grandparent Geoffrey Kemp (Alexander and Gideon Hyman ’20) lectured Middle East Studies sections today about the reasons for America’s increased involvement in the Middle East over the past century.

Kemp served in the White House during the first Reagan administration as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the National Security Council staff. He is currently Senior Director of Regional Security Programs at the Center for the National Interest and has authored several books on issues in the Middle East.  

In addition to explaining developments in the American-Middle East relationship from before World War I to the present day, Kemp also spoke about his experiences working in the Reagan administration.

He shared anecdotes about former President Ronald Reagan’s preparation for meeting with world leaders, including the former president of Egypt Anwar Sadat, former prime minister of Israel Menachem Begin and former prime minister of India Indira Gandhi.

Drawing on his experiences, he suggested that President Donald Trump learn to build relationships with world leaders as well.

“It was really cool that we could have someone come to our class that experienced firsthand the things that we’re learning,” Blythe Berk ’19 said.