- My Friend Harry
It is hard to say all the things I want to about my good and dear friend Harold Isaacs in a few pages. Let me try anyway. He and I met by accident, mainly because of the Association of Third World Studies. However, we were interested in so many of the same things like talking sports; particularly college football and how ‘Bama and the ‘Noles might do. We also loved playing golf even though we were not all that good. It gave us an opportunity to kibitz and tell jokes and wonder how our beloved nation and world would get by. By the end of 18 holes we had all the world’s problems solved.
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 [End Page 37] 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, [End Page 38] 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...