David W. Lesch is the Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of History in the Department of History at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in Middle East History from Harvard University.
He is the author or editor of 14 books and overall over 115 publications. Among his books are the following: Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad (Yale University Press, 2012, re-released in paperback and updated in 2013 and in 2016); The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Assad and Modern Syria (Yale University Press, 2005); The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History (Oxford University Press, 2009); 1979: The Year That Shaped the Modern Middle East (Westview Press, 2001); his popular edited volume, now in its 5th edition, The Middle East and the United States: History, Politics and Ideologies (Westview Press, 2013); and his co-edited volume (with Mark Haas), The Arab Spring: Change and Resistance in the Middle East (Westview Press, 2012, 2016).
He has also published numerous articles in leading journals, chapters in books, and essays in such noted publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, Foreign Policy, and CNN.com, and he was quoted extensively in Time Magazine (September 16, 2013 issue).
Lesch has consistently met with and advised high level officials in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and the United Nations on diplomatic issues. He has frequently testified in front of Senate and House committees. Lesch has been quoted in over 500 newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has appeared frequently on national and international television and radio programs such as CNN, ABC, NBC, PBS Newshour, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, Al-Jazeera, NPR, and the BBC, and he has appeared on documentaries for The History Channel, the BBC, and a Frontline production on PBS.
He is on the board of a number of organizations involved in Middle East affairs. As a Senior Adviser to the Abraham Path Initiative (API), Lesch has spearheaded attempts to establish the API in Syria and Lebanon. The API is an ambitious multinational project sponsored by Harvard University to construct a touristic walking trail throughout the Middle East in order to enhance cross-cultural dialogue and understanding and economic development.
He also developed, organized and was the Project Director for the Harvard University-NUPI-Trinity University Syria Research Project, funded by the governments of Norway and Switzerland. Lesch led a team of researchers in 2012-13 to meet with most of the leading players to the Syrian conflict internally, regionally and internationally. The data provided necessary insights into the dynamics of the conflict in order to formulate possible pathways toward conflict resolution. He completed in the Fall 2013 an 850-page Final Report for the project and presented and discussed his findings at the highest levels in Europe, the US, at the UN, and elsewhere. He is currently engaged in Phase 2 of the project, Harvard-Trinity partnering in this phase with Conflict Dynamics International and partially funded by the government of Denmark. He met regularly with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad between 2004 and 2009, in part in an attempt to improve US-Syrians relations.
Lesch was also the number one draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club in 1980, playing a couple of years in the minor leagues before a rotator cuff injury ended his pitching career.
He lives in San Antonio with his wife, Judy Dunlap, and he has one son, Michael, who is 25.
Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University
M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University