William Luers, president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to speak a
Luers, a 1951 graduate of Hamilton College, will discuss how the role of the arts in America has changed over the last 12 years, and the difficulty arts institutions have in getting government funding. He will also discuss how the role of the individual in art has changed in a culture fascinated by celebrity: what does it mean when so much attention is lavished on super-star celebrity artists instead of on ideas/concepts?
Luers joined the Met in 1986 after spending 31 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. He served as U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1983 to 1986 and ambassador to Venezuela from 1978 to 1982. During his diplomatic career, which began in 1957, he also held posts in Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union, and in the U.S. Department of State in Washington, including posts as deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe and deputy assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs.
He has published widely on foreign policy issues in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and other journals, as well as in books of collected essays. Luers has written extensively on museum management, most recently contributing a chapter to the 1990 book, The Economics of Art Museums, edited by Martin Feldstein.
Luers has served as a visiting lecturer at George Washington University, the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and as a director's visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. A founding chairman of the Open Forum in the state department, Luers speaks on the arts and diplomacy to audiences around the nation and the world.
Among honors he has received are the Orden Simon Bolivar, awarded by the president of Venezuela in 1982; the Orden Andres Bello, awarded by the president of Venezuela in 1990; the Foreign Service Cup awarded by the Foreign Service and the Department of State in 1991; the Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca, awarded by the president of Mexico in 1992; and honorary degrees from Hamilton College and Marlboro College.
Luers is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and other public policy organizations. He also serves on a number of corporate boards of directors. Active in the non-profit sector as well, his affiliations include memberships of the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the board of trustees of the Eurasia Foundation; board of directors of the Institute for East-West Studies; and the board of directors of Fulbright International. He also is chairman of the "St. Petersburg 2003 Committee" of the Citizens Exchange Council. An acknowledged leader in the field of tourism in New York City, Luers is a partner and a member of the executive committee of the New York City Partnership, a member of the board of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, and chairman of the board of Americans United to Save the Arts and Humanities.