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I must begin by expressing my thanks to the officers and board of Middle East Medievalists for bestowing on me the honor of a Lifetime Achievement Award. It comes from a group of colleagues whose work I greatly admire, and who have been at the heart of the extraordinary progress in studies on the medieval Middle East over the past two decades. No less important, they have also ensured that this field has remained a visible and sometimes even influential presence in an area where contemporary issues threaten to dominate if not obliterate all other perspectives. I have found it deeply rewarding to be part of the common enterprise during such a dynamic and creative period.
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