Arthur Lev

How History Can Change the Future

Arthur Lev believes if young people can experience history directly rather than just reading about it in a book, they can change the world. That’s why he endowed an internship program at USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education.

“There’s a Jewish phrase, tikkum olam — to repair the world — that I view as an ongoing obligation,” he says. Exposing students to USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive and giving them the opportunity conduct research related to the Institute’s work is one way he hopes to meet that obligation.

The Institute’s potential to engage students not just in history but also in current events is important to Lev. “Genocides are still occurring today. I really hope the IWitness tool developed by the Shoah Foundation becomes a catalyzing force for students to get involved.”

Lev, a cum laude graduate of USC who went on to Harvard Law School, is now managing director of Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners in New York. Even with his busy schedule, he serves on the Board of Councilors for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and makes regular visits to campus.

On one such visit, Lev plans to expose his three children to the Institute’s vital work, which he wants to help spread around the world.

“The IWitness tool is something that should be available on a global basis,” he says. “The hub is at USC, but the spokes are all over the world — whether at the elementary, high school, or university levels. You have kids looking at a testimony and saying ‘That could have been me. I could have been in those shoes.’ It’s a very powerful way to create empathy and teach.”