The christmas party at Robert and Helen Glaser’s house was one of the highlights of the holiday season. The buffet with its mound of fresh shrimp and fine wines, and the well-dressed women and the men in their bright red vests, made the occasion especially festive. When I came to Stanford, Bob Glaser was dean of the Medical School and Helen was a child psychiatrist. However, I didn’t come to know Bob well until some years later, when he was president of the Kaiser Foundation and became my friend and mentor. The guests at the Glaser’s Christmas parties were mostly from Stanford, with a sprinkling of others that included Roger and Esther Heyns. Roger was president of the Hewlett Foundation and had been chancellor at Berkeley. We had a number of common interests and would occasionally meet for lunch. Like other American friends, Roger often questioned me about the Middle East—an area of the world that baffled and worried him. Even though I read the same newspapers he did, I could provide a historical and cultural context to help understand the troublesome region.