Simon Frederick Peter Halliday FBA (22 February 1946 – 26 April 2010) was an Irish writer and academic specialising in International Relations and the Middle East, with particular reference to the Cold War, Iran, and the Arabian peninsula.
Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1946 to an English father, businessman Arthur Halliday, and an Irish mother, Rita (née Finigan), Halliday attended (in 1950–1953) the Marist School, Dundalk (at that time the primary school for St Mary's College, Dundalk), and Ampleforth College (1953–1963) before going up to Queen's College, Oxford, in 1964 to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), graduating in 1967, and then on to the School of Oriental and African Studies (1969–1969) where he studied his MSc in Middle East politics. His doctorate at the London School of Economics (LSE), on the foreign relations of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, titled Aspects of South Yemen's foreign policy, 1967-1982, was awarded in 1985, 17 years after beginning it (Sale 2002). From 1973 to 1985, he was a fellow of the Transnational Institute Amsterdam and Washington. From 1969 to 1983, he served as a member of editorial board of the New Left Review, and worked partially in publishing, in what now is Verso Books. In this capacity, he was one of the editors of Against Method, a major text in philosophy of science by Paul Feyerabend.
In 1983, he took up a teaching position at the LSE, and from 1985 to 2008 was Professor of International Relations there. After recovering from illness in 2002–2003, he was made Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the LSE in 2005, but in 2008 he retired and became an ICREA research professor at IBEI, the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals, in Barcelona where he collaborated intensely with the LSE Alumni Association Spain.
Halliday was also a columnist for openDemocracy and La Vanguardia. In 2002, he was elected Fellow of the British Academy. A memoir assessing his life, work and intellectual achievements appeared in the Proceedings of the British Academy in 2011.
Halliday was a proficient linguist and advocate of the centrality of language to understanding contemporary globalization. Other than English, he was competent in a further eleven languages: Latin, Greek, Catalan, Persian, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese and Arabic. From 1965, he travelled widely in the Middle East, visiting every country from Afghanistan to Morocco, and giving lectures in most. He met and interviewed several key Islamic fighters, rebels, and religious leaders and politicians over the years.
Fred Halliday was highly skeptical of the cooperative projects planned between LSE and the Gaddafi Foundation, the charitable foundation led by Saif al-Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi. Halliday's views were expressed in a "Note of Dissent" addressed to the LSE Council on 4 October 2009.
Halliday was formerly married to Maxine Molyneux and they have one son, Alex. His brother is the historian Jon Halliday.
On his concept of 'home': "when he was asked which of his many homes and journeys was his favourite, his reply was unfailingly 'the next one'."
Halliday died in Barcelona on 26 April 2010, aged 64, after a year-long battle with cancer.
The Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals in Barcelona has named its seminar room after Halliday.