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Stanley Meisler dead; globe-trotting foreign correspondent was 85

Stanley Meisler, a reporter who chronicled foreign affairs from Nairobi to the United Nations for the Los Angeles Times, and who later turned his journalistic curiosity to the history of 20th century art, died June 26 at a hospital in Washington. He was 85.

The cause was cardiac arrest, said his son Joshua.

Meisler crisscrossed the globe during his three-decade career with the Times. He joined the newspaper’s Nairobi bureau in 1967 and traveled widely for his work, covering the bloody Nigerian civil war over the breakaway Biafra region and the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

He was the “doyen of the press corps” in the region, Jim Hoagland, a former Africa correspondent and foreign editor for The Washington Post, said in an interview. “He really understood human nature, and he applied that in covering a continent that too frequently had been reduced to the ‘cannibalism and coup d’etat’ syndrome.”

After Meisler retired, he dedicated himself to a lifelong interest in art. He contributed works of art history and criticism to publications including the Times and Smithsonian Magazine.

Stanley Meisler was born in the Bronx on May 14, 1931. His father, a paper hanger, was a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe.

In 1952, Meisler received a bachelor’s degree in English from the City College of New York. Before joining the Times, he spent a decade with The Associated Press wire service and was a Peace Corps administrator. He was the author of “When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and Its First Fifty Years” (2011).

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