The Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace at the University of Maryland is an endowed academic program that strengthens understanding between Eastern and Western cultures in general, and the Arab ethos and American values in particular.
The famous Lebanese poet and scholar Kahlil Gibran dedicated his life and works to demonstrating the importance of universal values, the interconnectedness of religions, common ground among cultures, the importance of dialogue, and the goodness of humanity as a whole. He believed the more we explore our interconnectedness as humans, the more we understand and respect the universal values that underpin different cultures. Gibran wrote about and advocated for social justice, freedoms, equality, unity and peace.
Director May Rihani joined the Gibran Chair in May 2016, and works to expand upon the legacy and foundation created by the Chair's inaugural incumbent, Professor Suheil Bushrui.
The Gibran Chair’s active program addresses major global topics such as:
- Studying the Pursuit of Peace;
- Exploring Paths toward Peace;
- Examining Common Ground;
- Understanding Cultural Pluralism;
- Highlighting the Contributions of Women toward Peace;
- Deepening Cross-Cultural Understanding;
- Transcending the Barriers of East and West;
- Revisiting Poetry, Literature, and Art as Connectors within the Global Village; and
- Celebrating Universal Values
This program will be implemented through research, lectures, seminars, workshops, symposia, conferences and academic publications.
In addition, Director May Rihani will teach courses that resonate with the vision and spirit of the Gibran Chair.
The Gibran Chair is one of the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences' three endowed Peace Chairs. These chairs and their incumbents are each dedicated to the innovative pursuit of global peace and understanding. Through their research, programming, and the inspiring and globally renowned speakers they bring to our campus, BSOS's Peace Chairs work to be the solution to the world's great challenges.
In the three years of 2017, 2018, and 2019 the visibility of the Gibran Chair on the world stage has increased immensely.
In these three years, the Gibran Chair has held events in:
- The University of Maryland, College Park MD, USA (home of the Gibran Chair)
- Embassy of Lebanon, Washington DC, US (Lebanon is Gibran's home country)
- New York City, NY, USA (where Gibran lived and produced some of his most famous works)
- Dearborn, Michigan: US (which historically and today hosts one of the largest Arab American populations in the US)
- Beirut: Lebanon (where Gibran lived and studied at Al-Hikma School)
- Bshari: Lebanon (where Gibran was born)
- Rabat: Morocco (where there is a school named after Gibran
- Amman: Jordan (where the Gibran Chair held a Symposium)
- City of Kuwait: Kuwait (where the Gibran Chair held a Symposium)
- London: United Kingdom (where he visited)
- Dead Sea: Jordan (where the Gibran Chair held an Arab regional Conference)
- Paris: France (upcoming (where Gibran lived for two years and studied art at the Academie Julian).