November 7, 2013
With profound sadness, The Washington Institute announces the passing of Michael Stein, cofounder and chairman emeritus of our organization. He passed away on the eve of his eighty-eighth birthday.
Along with Institute founder Barbi Weinberg, Mike was a true visionary, who conceived of the idea of a research-based, expertise-focused institution that would make its mark on U.S. Middle East policy through the power of scholarship and the cogency of ideas. And like a loving parent, Mike shepherded the Institute through its early years and helped it grow into the mature organization that it is today.
In all aspects of his life -- as father, husband, businessman, community leader, and generous, selfless philanthropist -- Mike was an inspiration to those around him. He served eight years as president of the Institute and six more as chairman, in the 1990s and early 2000s, guiding the organization's growth, development, and expansion. Since then, he held the title of chairman emeritus and has remained, over the years, a constant voice of reason and commitment to the ideals for which the Institute was founded. In recognition of his role in the creation and nurturing of the organization, the Institute named its flagship program on counterterrorism and intelligence in his honor. In addition, the annual lecture by a senior administration policymaker that headlines the Institute's spring conference is titled, in his honor, the Michael Stein Address on U.S. Middle East Policy.
"Mike spent decades trying to prevent the sort of tense face-off like the one in which Israel and the United States find themselves today..." Read Robert Satloff's tribute in the Times of Israel.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mike Stein," said Chairman Howard Berkowitz and President Martin Gross. "Mike was a giant -- a man of great ideas, boundless energy, and profound devotion to principle. His passing is a grievous loss to us all."
Mike was highly involved in many civic and charitable organizations in New York, Florida, and Israel, including The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the Palm Beach Country Club, and the Civic Association of Palm Beach. He was medical care commissioner for the town of Palm Beach and served as treasurer of the Village of Kings Point, New York. Mike was a graduate of the Valley Forge Military Academy and Harvard University.
"It's the trustees, the scholars, and the staff, all bound together by a shared commitment. They do it with passion, and I've always believed that passion is the secret ingredient to success." - Mike Stein
"It was my great privilege to work closely with Mike throughout my twenty-eight years with this organization; he was mentor, advisor, confidant, and friend," said Executive Director Robert Satloff. "No one lived the battle of ideas about U.S. Middle East policy more passionately than he did."
Mike's passing comes just months after that of his loving wife and life partner of sixty-four years, Louise. The entire Washington Institute family -- directors, trustees, fellows and staff -- sends its deepest condolences to Mike's children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, and friends.