Leila Fawaz

Leila Fawaz

(617) 627-6549
160 Packard Avenue
Research/Areas of Interest:

Middle East


  • PhD, History, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, 1979
  • AM, History, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, 1972
  • MA, History, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, 1968
  • BA, History, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, 1967
  • Certificat d'Études Littéraires Générales Modernes with distinction, École Supérieure des Lettres, Universtiy of Lyon, Beirut, Lebanon, 1965


Leila Fawaz is the Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies. Born in the Sudan and raised in Lebanon, Professor Fawaz received a B.A. and M.A. in History from the American University of Beirut and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. She joined the Tufts faculty in 1979 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1994.

She served as Chair of the History Department from 1994 to 1996, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Jackson College, and Associate Dean of the Faculty between 1996 and 2001. She was Founding Director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University between 2001 and 2012. She holds a dual appointment as Professor of Diplomacy at The Fletcher School and Professor of History at Tufts University.

In 2020, Harvard University awarded Professor Fawaz with the Harvard Medal. In 2014 she received the Harvard Alumni Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, Professor Fawaz was named a Chevalier in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor, France's highest award, given by decree of the president of France. She served on the Governing Boards of Harvard University as an Overseer between 1996 and 2012 and was elected to serve as President of the Overseers for 2011-12. A Carnegie Scholar (2008-10), she is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Comité Scientifique of the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme at the Université d'Aix-Marseille in France. She served on several committees for the European Science Foundation in Strasbourg, France as well as on committees of the Social Science Research Council, the Steering Committee of the European Science Foundation, and as a delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies.

Professor Fawaz has been awarded fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and has received the Lillian Leibner Award for Distinguished Teaching and Advising at Tufts University. She has been a Visiting Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Politiques et Sociales, Paris, and at the Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence. In 2000, she received the International Institute of Boston's New Citizen Award, which is given to immigrants who have made significant contributions within their respective communities. In 2006-2007, she was awarded a visiting fellowship at All Souls College (Oxford University).

Professor Fawaz has served as president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America and of the Alumni Association in North America of the American University of Beirut (AANA). As president of the AANA, she also served as ex-officio trustee on the American University of Beirut Board of Trustees. Her editorial posts have included the positions of general editor of the book series "History and Society of the Modern Middle East" at Columbia University Press, editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES), and editorial board positions with the American Historical Review, IJMES, the British Middle East Studies Association Review, Revue du Monde Musulman et de la Méditerranée, among others.

A social historian who specializes in the Eastern Mediterranean region, with specific emphasis on the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Professor Fawaz has published A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War (Harvard University Press, 2014), Transformed Landscapes: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East in Honor of Walid Khalidi (co-editor, the American University in Cairo Press, 2009), Modernity and Culture from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean (co-editor, Columbia University Press, 2002), An Occasion for War: Mount Lebanon and Damascus in 1860 (I. B. Tauris, 1994 and University of California Press, 1995), State and Society in Lebanon (editor, Oxford: Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1991), and Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth Century Beirut (H