H.E. Ambassador Clovis Maksoud: Scholar, Statesman, and Advocate for Palestine (1926-2016)

The Jerusalem Fund’s Board of Directors and staff mourn the passing of H.E. Ambassador Clovis Maksoud, who passed away yesterday, May 15, 2016.

“He was always a friend of The Jerusalem Fund and of Palestine,” said Dr. Subhi Ali, chairman of the Board of Directors, “and admired by all of us.”

Dr. Maksoud served as the Arab League’s ambassador to India and Southeast Asia (1961-66) and as senior editor of Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper then chief editor of Lebanon’s Al-Nahar Weekly (1967-79). He was appointed, in 1979, the Arab League’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, a post he held until resigning in 1990 after the start of the Gulf War. He was known for his principled stands, incisive analyses, and eloquent lectures. He continued in his post as permanent observer of the League of Arab States at the UN until his death.

A graduate of the American University of Beirut, Dr. Maksoud obtained a J.D. from the George Washington University and completed postgraduate studies at Oxford University. His memoir, From the Confines of Memory, My Journey with Arab Nationalism, was published in Beirut in 2014, with an English version in progress.

Along with his late wife Dr. Hala Salaam Maksoud, Clovis Maksoud played a significant role in the founding and growth of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In 1992 he founded American University’s Center for the Study of the Global South, where he served as Professor of International Relations and director; he also taught international law at American University until his retirement in 2013. Dr. Maksoud had an important role in the establishment of Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS), where an endowed chair is named after him and Hala Salaam Maksoud. Former CCAS director Dr. Michael Hudson describes Dr. Maksoud as having “steadfastly advocated for a socially conscious, inclusive, liberal Arab political order… He was a progressive Arab nationalist, unencumbered by slogans, factionalism and parochialism.”

“It is auspicious that Clovis passed away on May 15, the day of the Palestinian Nakba,” said Jerusalem Fund board member and political columnist George Hishmeh. “He cared deeply about the question of Palestine as the centerpiece of his strong belief in Arab nationalism.” Indeed, at a 2002 UN conference titled The Search for Peace in the Middle East, Dr. Maksoud says, “In the final analysis, I think what is desirable for sustained peace is reconciliation whereby Palestinians are treated as equal. Respect for the Palestinians’ right not only to self-determination but also to an independent State without settlements, treatment within Israel by Israelis as equal citizens of Palestinian origin and the recognition of the right of return is a three-pronged position that would lead ultimately to peace….”

The Jerusalem Fund sends heartfelt condolences to Dr. Maksoud’s family and his many friends and supporters throughout the world.