Ameen Rihani Organization
"Had it not been for Ameen Rihani, today the richest oil fields in the world (the Arabian Peninsula) would be in British rather than American hands."
Leonard Mosley, 1973
.: News & Events

The Centennial of the book Ar-Rihaniyyaat

The year 2010 commemorates the first centennial of Ameen Rihani’s work Ar-Rihaniyyaat (1910-2010). On this occasion, the Archives and Research Office at the Rihani Museum issued the following press release on January 14, 2010:

To date, Ar-Rihaniyyaat, which is considered to be one of the most important works of Rihani's Arabic writings, has been published in 16 editions. The book was translated into several languages such as Russian, Chinese Mandarin, and Bulgarian. The English translation will be published during the centennial in the Spring of 2010. On various occasions, and since the publishing of the first edition, selected chapters of the book were translated into other languages including French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Danish, Czech, Slovakian, Armenian, Ukrainian, and Georgian.

With this work, Rihani asserted his intellectual motto “Say Your Word and Stick to It” and outlined his major philosophic and social beliefs as well as his value system all of which were reflected in some fashion in his future works. These beliefs were addressed in the essays of this work such as Who Am I, Religious Tolerance, From Brooklyn Bridge, The Great City, The Spirit of Our Time, The Spirit of Language, The State of the Future, In the Spring of Despair, The Valley of Freike, On Solitude, Ethics, The Value of Life, Conducts of Life, Optimism, The Scattered Truth, Trilateral Wisdom, and The Most Exalted Prophet.

Ever since the first edition appeared, the Jesuits conducted a very rigorous and harsh campaign against Ar-Rihaniyyaat during the first half of the twentieth century. During the mid sixties Rev. Fr. Michel Allard, the Director of the Oriental Institute at St. Joseph University wrote saying, “If we put Rihani’s writings in the proper context, based on his cultural familiarity of the United States and the religious freedom that he experienced over there, we understand that his attack was not on religion per say, but rather on fanaticism.” Dr. Chibli Chemayel saw in Ar-Rihaniyyaat “New ideas, new style, and beautiful essays in description and criticism” (Cairo, 1910). Ismail Pasha Sabri considered that “Ar-Rihaniyyaat is a distinctive piece of literature of our times” (Cairo, 1910). Antoun Gemayel wrote, “With Ar-Rihaniyyaat you have promoted knowledge and fraternity, thus you lead the caravan to the oasis in the desert” (Al-Ahram newspaper, Cairo, February 21, 1922). Furthermore, the well known Russian writer and Arabist, Ignace Kratchkovki, , declared from Moscow upon the passing of Rihani in 1940, “Rihani is the greatest Arab writer of our times.”

The Centennial festivities of Ar-Rihaniyyaat will be celebrated throughout 2010 and will include the following events:

  • Publishing of the English translation of Ar-Rihaniyyaat that will be issued under the title of The Rihani Essays by Platform International, Washington, D.C. - February 1, 2010.

  • Planting a Cedar tree in the Rihani Museum gardens in Freike, Lebanon - February 20, 2010, in commemoration of the new English edition.

  • Inaugurating the exhibition on “Ar-Rihaniyyaat in a Hundred Years” on March 6, 2010, in the Rihani Museum main Hall. The exhibition will remain open till September 30, 2010.

  • Literary-musical recital "World Genius of Romanticism" (Amin ar Rihani - Poet of Prose), Maria Nikolaeva and Yelena Draginda, Pasternak Library, Moscow - March 26, 2010.

  • Publishing of the book The Politics and Poetics of Ameen Rihani: The Humanist Ideology of an Arab-American Intellectual and Activist, by Professor Nijmeh Hajjar, London, I. B. Tauris Publishers - April 2010.

  • Defending the Ph.D. dissertation presented by Mrs. Mariam Hashimi, under the advisory of Professor Wajih Fanous, by mid April, at the Islamic University, Beirut, Lebanon. The title of the Dissertation is “The Great City in Rihani’s work Ar-Rihaniyyaat”.

  • A lecture by Professor Boris Chukov on Rihani and Ar-Rihaniyyaat at the Russian Education Academy in Moscow - May 21, 2010. This event will include selected readings from Ar-Rihaniyyaat in Arabic and Russian.

  • Publishing of Rihani’s Arabic collection of essays that were printed in the migration newspapers of New York and other North and South American cities and which were the prelude for Ar-Rihaniyyaat. The Book is entitled Kashkoul-lul Khawater (The Patchwork of Ideas). It is edited and introduced by Mr. Jean Dayeh - October 2010.

  • An International Literary Conference about Ar-Rihaniyyaat will be organized at St. Joseph University, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, in Beirut (USJ) - October 22-23, 2010. Scholars from universities in Lebanon and overseas will participate in this event. The program of this conference will be announced at a later date.

  • An International Symposium on Rihani and Ar-Rihaniyyaat will take place at the University of Sydney, Australia, organized by the Faculty of Humanities. The Symposium begins on November 24th, Rihani’s birthday, and ends on November 26, 2010. Scholars from Australia, Lebanon, U.K., Russia, and U.S.A. will participate in the symposium. The program of this symposium will be announced at a later date.

  • A lecture and panel session on Rihani and Ar-Rihaniyyaat will be held at the University of Maryland, College Park, in the United States of America - December 3, 2010. This activity is organized by the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University.

  • “Rihani and Ar-Rihaniyyaat, Facts and Figures”, a statistical Power Point document will be issued in CD format - December 22, 2010. It will include pertinent data for the entire set of events of this centennial commemoration.