Peter Gubser, a former professor in the Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program, died on September 2 at the age of 69 after battling cancer.
Gubser specialized in economic development in the Arab world, serving as the president of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) for 29 years. In a post on theANERA website, the non-profit group, which offers aid to Palestinian refugees, remembered Gubser as a man who "never stopped seeking a better future for the Middle East."
During his time with ANERA, he helped launch several development and humanitarian projects in the Middle East, including a program that provided educational opportunities to Palestinians and another that fought childhood malnutrition in Gaza by providing milk to toddlers. (As a fervent supporter of early education programs, he once remarked, "The big picture may be slow to change, but to the person receiving a textbook, the future is immediately better.")
Gubser, who was an adjunct faculty member from 1995 to 2003, also served as the chairman of the Board of American Friends of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, as the president of the Palestinian American Research Center, and co-founded the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.
After graduating from Yale in 1963, Gubser studied Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at the American University of Beirut, and then earned his doctorate from Oxford University. An author of many scholarly texts about the Middle East, Grubser latest book,"Saladin, Empire and Holy War," was published earlier this year.