Ameen Rihani Organization
"I state the threefold purpose of my travels in Arabia: to see the country, to write about it and to be of some service to its people and their cause – that is what brought me from beyond the seas, from America."
Ameen Rihani, 1930
.: News & Events

Ameen Rihani’s Statue in the United States of America


In an attempt to enhance Arab-American intellectual and cultural relations, Tufts University, in Boston, USA, decided to erect the bust of the well-known Arab-American writer, Ameen Rihani, on its campus. Rihani is the Founding Father of Arab-American Literature. He is the forerunner of other Lebanese and Arab authors who wrote and published in the English language, in the United States of America, during the first half of the twentieth century. His famous Book of Khalid was the first novel written in English by a Lebanese (or Arab) author. It was published in New York in 1911. Rihani is considered to be the first writer, in Arabic and English, among Arab emigrants to the United States. He left 29 books in English and 26 in Arabic. A major theme of his works is the dialogue between East and West, particularly between the people of the Arab World and the people of America.

Founded in 1852, Tufts University is recognized among the premier universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A number of its faculty members are Nobel Prize winners. Tufts employs 3,500 people and has 8,500 students from across the U.S. and more than 100 countries attending classes on the university's three campuses in Massachusetts (Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton) and in Talloires, France. Tufts values a diverse community of women and men of different races, religions, geographic origins, socioeconomic backgrounds, personal characteristics, and interests, where differences are understood and respected. The university cultivates in the students an understanding of the citizens and cultures of the world, realizing this goal through the curriculum, study abroad, and students who come to Tufts from abroad. Tufts strives to contribute to the global intellectual capital, harmony, and the well-being of people.

The Rihani bust is the work of the Lebanese sculptor Pierre Karam. Mr. Karam was inspired by Rihani's artistic portraits done by American and Lebanese artists during the first half of the 20th century. The artist Karam is a graduate of Fine Arts from the Ukraine Academy, Kiev, 1992. He participated in sculpture exhibitions and symposiums in the Ukraine, Lebanon, and other Arab countries. Among his works are the sculptures of several Presidents of Lebanon, Pope John Paul II, and other well known Lebanese men of letters, including Rihani and Gibran.

H.E. former Minister George Frem of Lebanon was behind the idea of commissioning the Rihani bust to a Lebanese sculptor and to present it to a distinguished university in the United States. Mr. Frem is a member of the Lebanese Parliament and a founding member of the Ameen Rihani Institute in Washington, DC. He is also a prominent industrialist in Lebanon, other Arab countries and the United States.

The Rihani Institute was established in 2000. Its International Advisory Board consists of ten members of five nationalities, and its Academic Council is comprised of forty members of nine nationalities from around the world. The Institute, in collaboration with the American University of Washington DC, organized the Rihani International Symposium in April 2000 in Washington, DC.

The ceremony of unveiling Rihani’s bust at Tufts University took place on December 1, 2004. The bust was placed at the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies. Dr. Leila Fawaz, Director of the Center, was the Dean of Humanities for several years. This Center attracts the intellectual interest of Americans and International students on Middle Eastern affairs. In recent years, it has proved to be a corner stone in the dynamism of the Tufts campus.

The Rihani ceremony was conducted at the Hall of Flags at Cabot Intercultural Center on the Tufts campus on Wednesday, December 1, 2004, at 6:30 p.m. The Provost of the university, Dr. Jamshed Bharucha, welcomed the attendees and spoke of Rihani's relevance and importance in bridging East and West. Other speakers were Dr. Leila Fawaz, Director of the Fares Center, Dr. Amira El-Zein, Associate Professor in the Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages, Dr. Mohammad ‘Alwan, Lecturer of Comparative Literature, and Mr. Ramzi Rihani representing the Family. The following invitation was announced by the university:

The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies
cordially invites you for the unveiling of the
Ameen Rihani Bust at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Ameen Rihani, considered the founding father of Arab-American Literature, poet, novelist, and essayist was a pioneer in modern Arabic literature. Sculpted by Pierre Karam, one of the leading sculptors in Lebanon, and commissioned by Georges Frem, one of the founding members of the Ameen Rihani Institute, the bust will be unveiled on Wednesday, December 1, 2004.

Please join us for this commemorative event.
Unveiling begins promptly at 6:30 P.M.
Hall of Flags, Cabot Intercultural Center
The Fletcher School
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155