The French state has named Michael Barry as a Knight (Chevalier) of the Légion d’honneur. Michael, a PICT faculty member, received his medal on March 26 from David Martinon, the French Ambassador to Afghanistan, at a ceremony in Paris hosted by Diane de Selliers, Michael’s publisher in France. The title recognizes Michael’s work as a scholar as well as his humanitarian work in Afghanistan.
A scholar of Islamic art and history, Michael has published extensively in English and French, with his works translated into Persian and half a dozen European languages. In 2011, Michael played a central role in reorganizing the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s galleries of Islamic art. Michael’s work in Afghanistan spans 35 years and has ranged from anthropological research to humanitarian assistance. Since 2017, he holds the title of University Professor at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.
An early supporter of PICT, Michael delivered the inaugural PICT Honorary Lecture on Matisse and Islamic Art in 2018, spoke on episode 19 of PICT Voices on Islam: Caricature or Civilization? and contributed to The Faculty Lounge with his piece, Our Own Endemic Madness. Michael is also on the editorial advisory board of dePICTions, PICT’s critical journal.
The first secular order of merit, the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur was established in 1802 by the French state to recognize merit or bravery in individuals of all walks of life, military and civil alike. The rank of Knight (Chevalier) honors at least 20 years in public service or 25 years of professional activity with “eminent merits.”