Now retired, Peck was a senior program officer at Meridian International Center in Washington, DC, where he designed and implemented professional study programs for participants in the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, from 1984 to 2015. Most of those programs were conducted for visitors from the Arab world, exploring such subjects as the role of religion, the rule of law, education at the secondary and post-secondary levels, and local and state government. Previously, he served as the Arabian Peninsula analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, 1981-83, and was director of programs at the Middle East Institute, 1970-81.
He is the author of The United Arab Emirates: A Venture in Unity (1986) and of The Historical Dictionary of the Gulf Arab States (1997 and 2007), with a co-authored third edition of the Dictionary scheduled for publication in 2018. Additionally, he has contributed chapters on Arab world issues to ten books and published over 150 articles and encyclopedia entries on Middle East subjects.
He served as the president of the National Committee to Honor the Fourteenth Centennial of Islam, which exhibited art expressive of Islamic culture in Houston, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC in 1982.
Peck was born in Boston in 1939. Although he has lived and worked in the Washington, DC area for nearly 50 years, he remains a proud Bostonian. He received an AB in European History (honors) and an AM in Middle East Studies from Harvard University, and holds MA and PhD degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.
He was married to Aida Ravelo Peck, a nurse originally from the Visayan region of the Philippines, who specialized in assisting open heart surgery. Son John is an architect working in Portland, Oregon.