Ibrahim Ibrahim, 75, a scholar of Middle Eastern history and public policy who was director of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, died Nov. 30 of cancer at his home in Washington.
Dr. Ibrahim, who was born in Palestine, divided his career between scholarly pursuits and work as a government official in the United Arab Emirates. After having briefly been a visiting scholar at Georgetown, he joined the university as a research professor in 1979.
He taught courses on politics and society in the Arab world and was an authority on Egypt. He published dozens of scholarly articles and reviews in English, German and Arabic and edited several books.
From 1990 to 1993, he was director of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, which is part of Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. He retired in 1994.
"Dr. Ibrahim was one of the pioneers in institutionalizing the study of diplomacy in the Arab world, starting as one of the founders of the center for diplomacy of the United Arab Emirates," said diplomat and scholar Clovis Maksoud, director of the Center of the Global South at American University.
He helped make Georgetown's Arab studies center one of the finest of its kind in the world, Maksoud said.
"He made very great contributions for a man who was so humble," Maksoud added. "He was modest, authentic and committed to the people of Palestine."
Ibrahim Iskandar Ibrahim was born Dec. 16, 1932, and grew up in the village of Zeita in northern Palestine, when the region was under British control. He studied in Jerusalem and taught Palestinian refugee children for a U.N. humanitarian effort during and after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
From 1950 to 1959, he was a teacher and later an education official in Kuwait. He studied at the University of Tubingen in Germany before completing a master's degree in political science and Islamic studies at Germany's University of Heidelberg in 1964.
He received a doctorate in Middle Eastern history and political science from Oxford University in 1967. He wrote his dissertation on 20th-century intellectual trends in Egypt.
After teaching in England for a year, Dr. Ibrahim moved to Lebanon in 1968 as an assistant professor at the American University of Beirut.
He then left his academic post in 1972 to become a top adviser to the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, which were formed in 1971. He conducted an international seminar for the new government's diplomats with leading experts from the United States, Europe and other parts of the world.
After a two-year stint as a business executive in the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Ibrahim came to Georgetown. He was often quoted in news reports about Palestine and the Islamic world in general.
He was fluent in English, German and Arabic and had a broad interest in music, literature and culture.
An early marriage ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Mary C. McDavid of Washington; two brothers; and two sisters.