It is with a heavy heart that I write to you about the passing on April 18, 2020 of Paul O’Neill, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary and CEO of ALCOA. Paul was my friend, next-door neighbor for 28 years (!), and Honorary Founding Chair of the American Middle East Institute.
Paul was one of Pittsburgh’s shining lights – wise, accomplished, generous with his time and resources, and always seeking to solve problems no matter how intractable or controversial.
He agreed without hesitation to serve as Founding Chair of our institute back in late 2007 because he supported our commitment to commercial, educational, and cultural diplomacy and to the building of stronger, more productive relationships with the countries of the Middle East.
Paul was a great mentor and opened the door for us to many influential individuals. He inaugurated our first annual conference in 2008 at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, introducing his friend, the noted columnist and author Thomas Friedman, as our first speaker.
On behalf of the American Middle East Institute, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Paul’s dear wife Nancy and his large, loving family.
Simin Yazdgerdi Curtis
President, CEO, and Founder
American Middle East Institute