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OBITUARY: SAMIH FARSOUN
A Palestinian scholar and activist

June 17, 2005 | Page 4

SAMIH FARSOUN, an author and activist, died suddenly on June 9. His writings, his speeches and his participation in numerous organizations were an important part of keeping alive the struggle to win justice for Palestine. Here, Samih's friend and colleague NASEER ARURI remembers his life.

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DR. SAMIH FARSOUN, who was born in Haifa, Palestine, in 1937, died unexpectedly at the age of 68 on June 9.

He was professor emeritus of Sociology at American University (AU) in Washington, D.C., where he taught for 30 years until his retirement in 2003. During his long career at AU, he served as chair of the department of Sociology for 11 years, as well as chair and member of numerous university-wide committees.

He was named founding dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the newly established American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in 1997-1999. In 2004, he was named founding dean of academic affairs at the College of Arts and Sciences at the newly established American University of Kuwait and served there until February 2005.

Dr. Farsoun was a scholar and activist. He was a founding member, and then president, of the Association of Arab-American University Graduates; founding member of the Arab Sociological Association; editor of Arab Studies Quarterly; member of the International Advisory Board of the London-based Holy Land Studies journal; founding fellow of the Middle East Studies Association; board member of Partners For Peace, formerly the American Alliance for Palestinian Human Rights; and board member of the Middle East Children's Alliance.

Dr. Farsoun was also a member of the board of directors of the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development; of the executive committee of the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington, D.C.; and of the Trans-Arab Research Institute in Boston.

He has published six books about the sociology and politics of the Middle East, including Palestine and the Palestinians. A new revised and updated edition was scheduled to appear in 2005, and an updated Arabic edition was published in Beirut, Lebanon in 2003. He also recently authored Culture and Customs of Palestine. Samih also contributed an essay to the recent Haymarket Books publication Civil Rights in Peril, edited by Elaine Hagopian.

In addition, he published over 75 papers, book chapters and articles. His articles and books have been translated into several languages, including Arabic, Farsi, French, Italian and German. Dr. Farsoun also published numerous columns in Arabic and English journals and newspapers; lectured at numerous conferences; and provided commentary on various radio and television news reports regarding the Middle East.

Dr. Farsoun is survived by his wife, Katha Kissman; a daughter, Rouwayda, of Northampton, Mass.; a brother, David of Beirut, Lebanon; sisters Regina, Despina and Samia of Vancouver, British Columbia; and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins, and his adopted family of the Kissmans.

In addition to the funeral in Michigan this week, memorial services will also be held in Vancouver, B.C., and in Washington, D.C., at later dates. Contributions in his memory may be sent to the Trans-Arab Research Institute, P.O. Box 1514, Onset, MA 02558 or the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development, 2425-35 Virginia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037.

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