Peter Lighte

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January 22, 2008

In those distant days before ping-pongdiplomacy, Peter had the good fortune to teach English and study Chinese at Tunghai University in Taiwan. Sent there primarily to escape Marion Levy's ultimate insult--'you mustn't be a language cripple!'--he found himself preparing for an academic career, having fallen under the thrall of Fritz Mote. Peter happily remains in touch with old pals from his sojourn on the side of Da-Du mountain, as well as his boss from the foreign language department, Ivor Shepherd, who looks like an old testament sage, now retired in Bridlington in the UK.

Although Peter did teach for five years, his banishment to a California posting made him susceptible to an unlikely overture. At a PiA fundraiser during one of many Princeton summers working on his dissertation (as he whined to some grandee about returning to the west coast), he was asked to interview at a bank. Responding that he had no interest in such an opportunity because 'banking is vulgar', the gentleman insisted that he show up in New York for a chat. Chinese speakers were,indeed, still a rarity, though, when he ultimately did join Manufacturers Hanover Trust company, he was told never to expect to use his expertise because the bank was interested in 'renaissance gentleman'. He still got the job and has spent his career split between the far east and London.

Currently in Beijing with JP Morgan, Peter takes particular satisfaction in seeing this stint as a second bookend,having opened MHT's office there--a predecessor institution--25 years ago. Along the way, he and his partner have adopted two daughters from China who are now afforded the opportunity to learn the language more by osmosis than by the nagging of their father.

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