Bulletin #43 – Jan 2012
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Churchill Centre and George Washington University Announce New Churchill Library and Center in Washington, D.C.
The Churchill Centre and The George Washington University (GW) have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of a new Churchill Library and Center on the GW campus in the heart of Washington, D.C. The Memorandum was executed at a signing ceremony at The Churchill Centre’s headquarters in Chicago by its Chairman, Laurence S. Geller, and GW’s President, Steven Knapp.
Mr. Geller noted that “undertaking this project with The George Washington University represents a milestone in the development of The Churchill Centre and of Churchill scholarship in America. The unique place that Winston Churchill holds in modern history as an icon of leadership and the respect his memory is accorded throughout the United States have long demanded the creation of a permanent home for Churchill studies, exhibitions and programs in our nation’s capital.” President Knapp added that “GW is delighted to be able to partner with The Churchill Centre in this worthwhile project which will bring an important new element to our campus and expand our already strong programs in modern history.”
The planned $8 million facility, to be known as The National Churchill Library and Center at George Washington University, will encompass four elements: an extensive library of books and other materials by and about Churchill and his times; an endowed Chair in Churchill Studies in GW’s History Department; an endowed Directorship of the Library and Center; and customized exhibition space for permanent and travelling displays about Churchill, his life and times. The Library and Center will be housed in dedicated street level space in GW’s Gelman Library in the heart of the university campus in Washington’s West End and will present a continuing range of lectures, seminars, programs and exhibits for scholars, students and visitors.
Laurence S. Geller, Chairman of the Churchill Centre, was honored as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors List. The award was made in recognition of Mr. Geller’s “service to The Churchill Centre and for charitable and humanitarian work internationally.”
“I am humbled by the honor that Her Majesty the Queen as extended to me as a Commander of this historic order” noted Mr. Geller. “The recognition that this award provides for the important work of The Churchill Centre in preserving the thoughts, words and deeds of Sir Winston Churchill is what is truly important and deeply appreciated. I am sure it will be a ‘call and spur’ for me and the Centre’s Board to work even harder to continue our important mission.” Mr. Geller noted that “In Churchill’s words, I have had ‘the luck to be called upon to give the roar’ to The Churchill Centre’s voice.”
Mr. Geller, a lifelong and passionate Churchillian, became Chairman of The Churchill Centre in January 2007 and led the merger of the Centre and the American Friends of the Churchill Museum the following year. A native of London, he has enjoyed international prominence as a hotel owner, investor and international philanthropist for over forty years.
Following significant leadership roles with Holiday Inns International and Hyatt Development Corporation, Mr. Geller founded Strategic Hotels and Resorts (NYSE: BEE) where he now serves as President and CEO. He has authored over 50 published articles about the lodging industry as well as a novel, Do Not Disturb, and has received numerous awards for his service to the industry and for a wide variety of civic, humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors. A frequent lecturer at universities such as Cornell, NYU, Michigan State and the Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne, Mr. Geller is a graduate of Ealing Technical College and since May 2011 has served as Chancellor of its successor, The University Of West London. He received an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Thames Valley University in 2010.
20 January-31 March, 2011
Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London
- Meetings in Marrakech: the paintings of Hassan El Glaoui and Winston Churchill
- NEW Exhibition at Leighton House Museum, Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ. 20 January – 31 March 2012
- First time the paintings of Winston Churchill have been exhibited with another artist
- Exhibition of 24 paintings unveils the unique and binding relationship of two men from different worlds who shared a common love for Morocco and painting.
A fascinating new exhibition at Leighton House, Holland Park Road, brings together for the first time a unique collection of work by two painters from two radically different cultures: Sir Winston Churchill and Hassan El Glaoui.
Nine of the 24 paintings on display are by Churchill, while many of the 15 El Glaoui paintings in the exhibition have never been on show in the UK before. It will also be the first time the paintings of Churchill have been publically exhibited alongside another artist’s work. The exhibition opens to the public on 20 January 2012 and runs until 31 March 2012.
Churchill and El Glaoui’s bond is unique: it was only through Churchill’s intervention that Hassan El Glaoui, the young Berber tribesman, was permitted to pursue professionally his passion for painting. Hassan El Glaoui, the son of the Pasha of Marrakech, Hadj Thami El Glaoui – also known as the Black Panther – was born into one of the oldest Berber families in Morocco, who for generations were considered the most fearless warriors of the Atlas region. Against his father’s wishes, Hassan chose to follow an artistic path and become a painter – something that was at the time considered highly unsuitable for a Berber tribesman.
During a trip to Marrakech, while visiting the Glaoui Family in 1943, Winston Churchill was shown some paintings by the young Hassan El Glaoui, and seeing the high quality of the work insisted to his father, his old friend the Pasha of Marrakech, that he be allowed to pursue his passion for painting. It was at Churchill’s behest that El Glaoui was allowed to continue to paint, and in doing so set El Glaoui on the path to becoming one of Morocco’s most significant artists, who’s work today is among the most sought after contemporary North African art in the world.
A preview from “Datelines” in the upcoming Finest Hour 153.
LONDON, 31 December 2011— In a well-researched article in the Mail on Sunday, Chris Hastings latches onto current interest in the new Spielberg film “War Horse” with the story of how Churchill intervened to save tens of thousands of stranded war horses in Europe after World War I. The story is characteristic of WSC and his love of animals:
“British military chiefs were heavily dependent on horsepower to carry men, supplies and artillery, and spent more than £36 million during the war to buy up 1.1 million horses from Britain, Canada and the United States. War Office documents found in the National Archives at Kew show that tens of thousands of the animals were at risk of disease, hunger and even death at the hands of French and Belgian butchers because bungling officials couldn’t get them home when hostilities drew to a close.
MODBURY, DEVON, JANUARY 1ST— The Daily Mail reports restoration of a 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost “once used by Sir Winston Churchill” by Devon restorer Charlie Tope: “The vintage motor is said to have served the former British Prime Minister when he used it to give driving lessons to the first female MP, Lady Astor, on a Kent estate.” Really.
Churchill, a notoriously impatient and scary driver, mainly stopped driving himself in the 1920s, when he was last seen navigating London streets in a lowly Wolseley. The idea of Churchill in this big Rolls, teaching technique to Nancy Astor (with whom he barely shared a civil word), strains the imagination, but conjures amusing images.
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a resolution introduced by Speaker John A. Boehner (R- OH) providing for a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to be placed in the U.S. Capitol.
The resolution (H.R. 497) was passed by a voice vote on December 19th 2011 and directs that “the Architect of the Capitol place an appropriate statue or bust of Sir Winston Churchill in the United States Capitol at a location directed by the House Fine Arts Board in consultation with the Speaker.”
The resolution noted that Dec. 26, 2011 was the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s speech to a joint session of Congress in 1941 and that Churchill was made an honorary citizen of the United States in 1963 by then President Kennedy and given the Congressional Gold Medal in 1969. Read More >
Ottawa Citizen Commemorates Iconic Churchill Speech
By Chris Cobb
“When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, ‘In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.’ Some chicken! Some neck!” — Winston Churchill, Ottawa, Dec. 30, 1941
Read the full text of the speech here.
THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, 30 December 2011—Look closely at the Karsh portrait of Winston Churchill and it’s there, peeking from his left hand jacket pocket — a bunch of papers, partially concealed at the request of a photographer.
Some bunch of papers. Some photographer.
Seventy years ago Friday — on Dec. 30, 1941 — Britain’s wartime prime minister delivered his historic speech to a hastily assembled group of Canadian MPs and Senators.
The 22-page speech, captured on a news reel, lasted 37 minutes and was constantly interrupted by cheers and applause.
After a scotch and water in the Speaker’s chambers, Churchill reluctantly agreed to pose for the iconic scowling portrait taken by the talented but then relatively obscure Ottawa society photographer Yousuf Karsh.
“Some chicken, some neck” was a reference to the sneering comment by French Marshal Philippe Pétain, future leader of the collaborationist Vichy French government who was convinced that Germany would successfully invade Britain as it had done France. He told Churchill that in three weeks Britain would “have its neck wrung like a chicken.”
“There is something about the phrase ‘some chicken, some neck’ that is utterly charming,” says Ottawa Churchill scholar Ronald Cohen. “Churchill was a superb orator and his oratory played such a major role in keeping spirits alive and keeping the British confident in the fact that they could withstand whatever it was they had to meet.
“He put a considerable amount of time into writing his speeches and when this was done, he knew he had delivered a speech of historical significance. You could tell that.”
In Finest Hour 94 Yousuf Karsh discusses one of his most famous portraits, that of Winston S. Churchill in on a trip to Ottawa in 1941.
USS Winston S. Churchill, and previous naval ships bearing that name, is not the only namesake to have carried a heroic crew, as revealed by the story of the 15-metre sloop Winston Churchill, which sank during the Sydney to Hobart race in 1998. Her crew survived, and are part of a new film by Graham McNeice on Australians who defied a narrow brush with death. Editor Finest Hour
A new show reveals some incredible stories of survival.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5 January 2012—WERE it not for modesty, filmmaker Graham McNeice could well be a subject in his own documentary series about individuals surviving brushes with death.
McNeice’s close call came when he was driving cabs in his 20s. A passenger in the back seat held a gun to his head and demanded cash.
He remembers precisely when and where it happened and that the fare was 87¢.
”I could see smoke but there was no smoke and I remember seeing my mother looking down at me as if I was in a grave,” McNeice says on the phone from Sydney, recalling the experience.
The man also wanted McNeice’s wallet and became increasingly agitated when he said he didn’t have one (”I don’t carry one ever since having it knocked off at the Dapto dogs when I was 19,” he says).
Bizarrely, as we see in I Survived … Stories of Australians, the intruder who sexually assaulted, abducted and robbed Tammy Potter at knifepoint was similarly put out upon discovering at an ATM the small amount of cash available in her account.
I Survived … Stories of Australians is based on a similar US concept where people who have faced near certain death recount their stories to the camera in sobering, matter-of-fact and often forensic detail.
They are filmed in close-up against a dark background.
There are no re-enactments, no cutaways to a nodding and sympathetic interviewer, nor prodding questions to milk extra drama – not that it’s needed – from the narrative.
The Churchill Centre’s (TCC) John Plumpton has organized the @ChurchillToday Twitter feed that commenced last month. Churchill Today will be a feed for specific events that occurred on each day of Churchill’s life, covering a range of topics from political to personal. Follow along each day for a variety of insights from the daily the life of Winston Spencer Churchill.
To “Follow” this new Twitter feed from your account, click on this link.
This supplements the @ChurchillCentre Twitter feed maintained by the TCC’s Dan Myers that includes quotes for the day and links to Churchill related newsworthy events from around the Internet.
This link will take you to the feed to “Follow” the Churchill Centre feed.
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