On December 1, 2009, Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, embarked on a unique endeavor. Citing the importance of "an ethos of thoughtfulness and decency of expression in the public square," Mr. Leach will visit all fifty states over the next eighteen months as part of a "civility tour" intended to promote respectful political and social discourse. During his distinguished congressional career, Mr. Leach gained an unshakable reputation for integrity, even-handedness, and an independent and thoughtful approach to issues. President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Leach to lead the NEH in June 2009.

Mr. Leach appeared on The Diane Rehm Show on December 7 to discuss his aims for the tour and his fervent belief that "civilization requires civility." To listen to the interview, click here.

James Leach, chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities. Oil on canvas, Michael D. Roberts, 2002, Collection of U.S. House of Representatives.