Born in Los Angeles, California, Bill Quandt received his BA from Stanford University and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Quandt’s outstanding achievements as a scholar, diplomat, and teacher are too numerous to detail here. More directly relevant and perhaps less well known are the life-changing experiences of his first trips abroad. As a high school student he was part of the first group of American youth sent to Japan. He mastered the Japanese script and made lifelong friends there. More basically, he learned to listen and to observe. Convinced that his future was in foreign affairs, his next field trip was to France in 1960-61, when extrication from Algeria was the hottest topic. Interested, he researched Algeria, but found that to be serious he would have to learn Arabic and to go there. In 1966-7 he was finally able to go to North Africa and to conduct fifty interviews with people involved in the Algerian revolution. The rest is history — the emergence of a great Middle East expert.
Without the cumulative effects of Japan, France, and Algeria, and without their humbling yet exciting lessons in the reality of the world beyond books and numbers, history would have been different.