Ameen Rihani Organization
"The real contribution of Rihani consists in having given us, in both Arabic and English, what may be considered the most vivid and interesting account of common-day life as it is lived at present in the hitherto little known Arabia."
Philip K. Hitti, 1931
N.Y. Herald Tribune
.: News & Events

Nine University Presidents in the Middle East Celebrate
the Unveiling of Rihani’s Statue in the United States

Left to right: Mr. Suheil Mattar (NDU Public Relations); Prof. Ameen A. Rihani (NDU Vice President); Prof. Boulos Sarru' (NDU Dean of Humanities); Fr. Boutros Tarabay (President of NDU); H.E. Prof. Marwan Kamal (Secretary General of the Association of Arab Universities); and Prof. Mustafa Hasan Mustafa (President of the Association of Arab Universities, and President of Beirut Arab University).
On the occasion of the celebrations organized for the unveiling of the statue of the Lebanese author and philosopher, Ameen Rihani, at Tufts University in Boston, USA, nine University Presidents from the Middle East gathered at Notre Dame University, Lebanon, and commemorated Ameen Rihani’s Day, on Thursday, December 16, 2004, in the presence of the President of the Association of Arab Universities, Dr. Moustafa Hassan Moustafa, and the Secretary General of the Association, Dr. Marwan Rassem Kamal, in addition to the deans of faculties, administrators and students. The university Presidents participating in this ceremony came from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt; Beirut Arab University in Beirut, Lebanon; Hashemite University in Amman, Jordan; Khartoum University in Khartoum, Sudan; Nayef Arab University, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Notre Dame University in Beirut, Lebanon; Qatar University in Doha, Qatar; Sultan Qabous University in Muscat, Oman; and the University of Science and Technology in Sana’, Yemen.

The ceremony was opened with an address by the Dean of Humanities, Professor Boulos Sarru’, in which he stated “Today, we are celebrating one of the great immortals who stood at the threshold of the 20th century looking behind his shoulders at a myriad of repertoires of human achievements and realizations. In front of him, he watched convoys of nations fluctuating between guidance and failure, progress and regress, accord and discord, and East and West. He never forgot, not even for an instant, that these reconciling oppositions, these “dualisms”, are one in him. Like Christ, Rihani never distinguished between human colors and classes. Like Mohamed, he never differentiated between an Arab and a foreigner. He rather exalted them to where their Creator intended them to be: humanity.”

Right to Left: Prof. Hamid A. Al-Madfa' (President of Qatar University); Prof. Dawoud A. Haddabi (President of The University of Science and Technology, San'a, Yemen); Prof. Moh. Abu Qiddis (President of the Hashimite University, Amman, Jordan); Prof. Elie Yashoui (Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, NDU); and Prof. Saleh Hashem (President of Ain Shams University, Cairo).

After the viewing of a documentary on Ameen Rihani, the Vice-President for Sponsored Research and Development, Professor Ameen Albert Rihani, pointed out that this event is the outcome of the efforts of one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, Tufts University, who decided to break the acuity of the Arab-American conflict by setting up a statue of Ameen Rihani on its campus on December 1, 2004 as a step towards consolidating American-Arab relations. Further, Prof. Rihani pointed that Ameen Rihani was the founder of Arab-American literature, since he was the first Lebanese and Arab writer to write and publish in English. Then, he presented some of the precepts that formed the headlines of Rihani’s thought:
  • Ameen Rihani was a man of vision, and through this vision, he launched a number of intellectual stances. These may be summed up in what he called The Great City, where the oppressor and the oppressed, the judge and the judged, the rich and the poor, stand on an equal footing.
  • Ameen Rihani called for an exalted human being, The Superman, that is different from the one advocated by Nietzsche. To him the exalted human is the one capable of uniting between the spiritual and the material values and between the spirituality of the East, the arts of Europe, and the sciences of America.
  • The movement towards globalization emerged in the writings of Rihani. He was one of the first authors who wrote on the subject, and he tried, through his writings, to build a bridge between the East and the West, particularly between the Arab World and the United States of America.
  • Through his pen and efforts, he worked for freedom, democracy, Arab Renaissance and Arab democratic and secular solidarity.
  • He was a pioneer of modernization, a forerunner of contemporary modern Arab literature, and of progressive prose and poetry; and he called for the rejection of literary tradition.
A documentary on Ameen Rihani was presented which included his recorded voice and a live movie of him. This documentary was the first of its kind since this is the first time Rihani's voice and a video clip have been heard and seen by the public. Selections from his writings along with writings on the Lebanese founding father of Arab-American literature were also presented.

Part of the NDU Choir performing Rihani's Al-Najwa [Supplication] Concerto. Left to right: Dr. Rania Younes (Solo); Fr. Paul Ziade (Nai/Oriental Flute); Mr. Gilbert Yammine (Qanun); and Fr. Prof. Elie Kesrawani (Oud and composer of the Rihani Concerto)
Ameen Rihani’s day at NDU ended with a lecture presented by Professor Boulos Sarru’ entitled, “The Dialectics of the Nature/Man/God Trilogy of Acceptance and Tolerance in the Works of Ameen F. Rihani”. Prof. Sarru’ presented a thorough analytical paper on the metaphysical thought of Rihani and its social implications, as revealed in his major works, namely, Ar-Rihaniyat, The Book of Khalid, The Path of Vision, A Chant of Mystics, and The White Way and the Desert. The celebrations of the day were distinguished by a musical presentation by Dr. Rania Younes who sang a poem written by Ameen Rihani entitled “An-Najwa”. The music was composed by Father Dr. Elias Keserwani, who accompanied her on the oud along with Father Paul Ziadeh on the nay and Gilbert Yammeen on the qanoon (dulcimer).

At the close of the ceremonies each university President received a copy of Rihani’s The Book of Khalid and The White Way and the Desert as a gift from the President of Notre Dame University, Lebanon, together with a printed list of 22 MA theses and Ph.D. dissertations on Rihani which were completed at different universities around the world.

Other universities and institutions of higher education in Lebanon had organized similar celebrations, commemorating the historic event of unveiling Rihani’s statue at Tufts University in Boston. These celebrations included lectures, panel discussions, and audio-visual documentaries on Rihani and his works. Among these institutions are The American University of Beirut, The Lebanese American University, The German Cultural Institute, and The Lebanese University.

Rihani's Bust at Tufts University, MA, USA