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June 26, 2008

William Roger Louis to Discuss United Nations' Role in Creation of Israel at Library of Congress, July 16

The United Nations’ role in the creation of the state of Israel marked the beginning of a critical episode in the changing colonial world order, according to historian William Roger Louis.

Louis will discuss the topic in a lecture titled "The Moral Conscience of the World: The United Nations and Palestine in 1947" at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center and the National History Center, the lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets or reservations are not needed. The event is presented in conjunction with the History Center’s Third International Research Seminar on Decolonization, which will be held in Washington, D.C., from July 6 through August 2.

Louis, a professor at the University of Texas in Austin in both English history and Middle Eastern studies, will focus his talk on the Palestine crisis in 1947 and the creation of the Jewish state in the next year. A U.N. partition plan for Palestine was approved in 1947, terminating the British Mandate for Palestine and creating two states, one Jewish and one Arab in Palestine. According to Louis, the debate on these issues in 1947 had enduring significance. The partition plan tested the principle of self-determination.

Louis is the author or editor of approximately 30 books, including his recent book of collected essays, "Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez and Decolonization." Louis is chairman of the U.S. State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee, a member of the Scholars’ Council of the Library of Congess and a past president of the American Historical Association.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. Please visit

The National History Center promotes research, teaching and learning in all fields of history. Created by the American Historical Association in 2002, the Center is a public trust dedicated to the study and teaching of history, as well as to the advancement of historical knowledge in government, in business and with the public at large. For more information, visit

The National History Center’s seminar on decolonization has been made possible by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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PR 08-121
ISSN 0731-3527

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