Skip to main content


Commemoration of the National Day of Service and Remembrance

Jim Leach, new chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, made his first visit to Illinois as NEH chair on September 11, 2009 to observe the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Speaking on his newly announced focus "Bridging Cultures," both domestically and internationally, and the connections between the humanities and service, Chairman Leach discussed this dual challenge, celebrating both the distinctive American trait of social organization around voluntary community causes while emphasizing the need to respond to the challenges of globalization and other issues with understanding and respect. “In our society” says Leach, “respect begins with civility, which has unfortunately broken down on important issues of the day.”

Jim Leach is the ninth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Nominated by President Barack Obama on July 9, 2009, and confirmed by the Senate in early August, Leach began his four-year term as NEH Chairman on August 12, 2009. Leach previously served 30 years representing southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus. After leaving Congress in 2007, Leach joined the faculty at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, where he was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs until his confirmation as NEH chairman.


Recorded Friday, September 11, 2009 at The Newberry Library.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.