On May 31, Alex de Waal, Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a leading authority on Africa and the history of modern famine, delivered a talk at the Hoover Institution titled "The Humanitarian Crisis in Sudan and the Looming Threat of Famine." Following the talk, Milbank Family Senior Fellow Niall Ferguson joined de Waal on stage in conversation and then moderated the audience Q&A. The event was held in Hauck Auditorium and via Zoom. De Waal's talk analyzed recent developments in Sudan—"the crisis before the crisis," he calls it—and the humanitarian disaster it portends, including the possibility of mass starvation.

De Waal has a family connection to the Hoover Institution Library & Archives. His grandmother, Elisabeth de Waal, was a lawyer and a poet born in Vienna in 1899. Between 1938 and 1976, she corresponded with German-American philosopher and political scientist Eric Voegelin. Her letters to Voegelin are in the Voegelin papers held at the Library & Archives. The letters cover such topics as economics, education, law, and more. Alex's brother Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss (2010), enhanced the collection several years ago with a gift of twelve letters from Voegelin to Elisabeth de Waal. Alex de Waal used the opportunity of his visit to Hoover to read his grandmother's letters in the Library & Archives Reading Room.


2 men sitting in the reading room looking over a document
Alex de Waal and son Adan in the Reading Room looking through the letters of Alex's grandmother in the Eric Voegelin papers.
overlay image
overlay image