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About Sir William Luce

The Fund commemorates the long and distinguished career of Sir William Luce GBE, KCMG, DL (1907-1977) in the Middle East during the era of the transfer of power.

Born in 1907, Sir William was educated at Clifton College and Christ's College Cambridge, where he read History and Modern Languages. Entering the Sudan Political Service in 1930, he served in Berber, Darfur, Blue Nile and Equatoria Provinces and finally as Adviser to the Governor-General on Constitutional and External affairs in the immediate period leading to the Sudan's independence in 1956. He was later able to bring his many talents to other offices. He was Governor of Aden from 1956 to 1960. From 1961 until 1966 and again from 1970 to 1972 he was intimately connected with the Gulf area, first as Political Resident, based in Bahrain, and then recalled from retirement - as the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary's Personal Representative for Gulf Affairs.

Sir William was held in the greatest respect and affection by the peoples of the Middle East, and among the many tributes paid to him by prominent Arab statesmen on his death in 1977 were: 'He served the Arab World with the same zeal and dedication as his own country' and 'He understood our problems and aspirations.'

The object of the Fund is to support the study of those parts of the Arab world to which Sir William devoted his working life, to stimulate research, discussion and publication about them and to encourage collaboration and co-operation between institutions of learning, specialising in all the places which aroused Sir William's own interest.

Form of Commemoration

The commemoration of Sir William Luce through the Fund, and activities generated by it, will take the following form:

  • An annual Sir William Luce Fellowship tenable jointly in the University's Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Trevelyan College, open to scholars, including post-doctoral students, who are active in the fields of study for which the Fund is established. This Fellowship is more fully described above.
  • Acquisition by purchase, or otherwise, of research materials and books relating to the areas of study to add to the Middle East collections in the University Library, including the Middle East Documentation Unit and the Sudan Archive. Acquisitions will be marked by special book plates and a photograph of Sir William will hang alongside others commemorating important Library benefactors.
  • Special financial support for the editing and publication of selected documents held at Durham University within the spheres mentioned above. All such work will acknowledge the assistance of the Sir William Luce Memorial Fund.