Michael Barry is an associate research scholar at LISD, specializing in the greater Middle East and Islamic world. Previousy, he has taught as Lecturer in Islamic Culture in Princeton's Department of Near Eastern Studies, in addition to serving as consultative chairman of the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2005-2009) and special consultant to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture since 2009. An established authority on Islamic art and the history and culture of Afghanistan, on which subjects he has written extensively in both French and English, Barry's works include a standard French-language history of Afghanistan (Le Royaume de l'insolence), a biography of the late commander of the Afghan Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Massoud (Massoud: de l’islamisme à la liberté), which won France's Prix Femina in 2002, and an interpretive history of medieval Islamic figurative painting from the 15th to the 16th centuries (Figurative Art in Medieval Islam and the Riddle of Bihzâd of Herât (1465-1535)).
Prior to coming to Princeton, Barry spent many years in Afghanistan with the International Federation for Human Rights, Médecins du Monde and the United Nations, working in often perilous conditions to provide and coordinate humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people from 1979 to 2001. He holds an A.B. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, post-graduate degree in anthropology from Cambridge University, M.A. from McGill University and Ph.D. from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.