Visionary Hala Maksoud Commemorated

Article excerpt

On Sunday, April 22, Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) and Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, along with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), held a commemorative evening to honor the late Dr. Hala Salaam Maksoud.

Current ADC president Warren David called his Lebanese-American predecessor, who died in 2002, an "advocate for peace, justice and understanding" and a "tireless defender of Arabs and the Arab-American image in the United States....In every generation," David said, "there comes a leader who exemplifies vision, courage, and integrity. The Arab-American community experienced such a leader in Dr. Hala Salaam Maksoud."

Maksoud, one of the most influential Arab-American leaders of her era, co-founded several organizations, including the American Committee on Jerusalem, the Association of Arab-American University Graduates, and the Arab Women's Council. She served as ADC president from 1996 to 2001.

Ambassador of Lebanon to the U.S. Antoine Chedid called Hala Maksoud "a daughter of Lebanon and the Arab world" who "spoke for the speechless" and "represented the best of Arab women." He and other speakers, including ADC chairman Dr. Safa Rifka and Hala's husband, Ambassador Clovis Maksoud, recalled "Dr. Hala's" strong will and selflessness as she put the needs of the community before hers. Enraged by Israel's invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, and to protest U.S. support for Israeli actions, she organized a hunger strike in Lafayette Park with a group of Arab ambassadors' wives, and conducted candlelight vigils by Arab Americans and others in front of the White House. …