Adam Curle

Adam Curle

Adam Curle (July 4 191628 September 2006) was a British academic and Quaker peace activist. His full name was Charles Thomas William Curle; he was known as "Adam" after the town where he was born, L'Isle-Adam, north of Paris.


Curle's father was Richard Curle, a journalist and writer and friend of Joseph Conrad. His mother was Cordelia Fisher. One of her sisters, Adeline, married the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. He was also related to the historian Frederic William Maitland, the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, Virginia Woolf and the artist Vanessa Bell.

Curle attended Charterhouse School and subsequently studied anthropology at New College, Oxford. He married Pamela Hobson in 1939 and the couple had two daughters, Christina and Anna. Curle and Hobson divorced some years later.


After serving in the British army during World War II and rising to the rank of Major, Curle worked at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London. He subsequently became an academic, working as a lecturer in social psychology at the University of Oxford and then, from 1952 onwards, as professor of education and psychology at the then University College of the South-West of England, which shortly thereafter became the University of Exeter. In the later 1950s he travelled extensively, and during this period met his second wife, Anne, with whom he had a third daughter, Deborah. With Anne, Adam joined the Quakers while serving as a professor of education at the University of Ghana. In 1962 he set up the Harvard Center for Studies in Education and Development at Harvard University and in 1973 was chosen as the first professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, England. He helped set up the Centre for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights, an NGO based in Osijek, Croatia during the Croatian War of 1991-1995. He did much to establish peace studies as an academic discipline. In 2000 he was the recipient of the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award.


He died on Thursday 28 September 2006 in London. He had been ill for about a week with a very virulent leukaemia.


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