IT WAS A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE KNOWN SUCH A FINE AND HONORABLE MAN.
Hisham Ahmed Ph.D. 1963-2019
by Vivian Zelaya
In 2006 Dr. Ahmed arrived at St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga, where he was professor of politics. At St. Mary’s he also chaired the Politics Department and the Academic Senate. Always generous with his knowledge, experience, and time, Professor Ahmed authored many studies and articles, frequently granting local and international interviews and analyses focusing on the Middle East and Palestine. Hisham was active in professional organizations, and served as Vice-President of Arab-American University Graduates AAUG. He also served on the board of the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center. Locally, he honored Ecumenical Peace Institute (EPI-CALC) and Friends of Sabeel North America with illuminating lectures focusing on Palestine and advocating for human rights for Palestinians.
One example of
Hisham’s character and joyous creativity was the way
he celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. While the
other inhabitants of the camp were out celebrating,
he persuaded the driver of a bulldozer to take down
the wall surrounding Deheisheh Refugee Camp. Hisham
rode shot-gun on the bulldozer during the
demolition. When everyone returned to the camp, they
were amazed to see that Hisham had provided another
cause for celebration!
At Hisham’s July
9th memorial at the Islamic Society of the East Bay,
Professor Suzi Weissman, Hisham’s good friend and
colleague, shared a brief story which gives an
insight into his unique and charming sense of humor.
When she received Hisham’s initial recommendation
from UC Santa Barbara their was a note of caution,
saying Prof. Ahmed was sometimes a bit reckless
riding his bicycle to class. A blind man riding his
bike to class! When Professor Weissman asked Dr.
Ahmed how he managed to ride his bike to class,
Hisham responded, “Would you like me to drive you to
the airport?” Always welcoming life’s many
challenges, a man of superlative courage and wisdom,
Hisham leaves behind his cherished wife, Amna, and
his two beloved children, Noor and Ahmed, and many,
many friends and admirers who have been privileged
to know and love him.
Vivian Zelaya is a life-long dedicated worker for peace and social justice. Active with Friends of
Sabeel, Women in Black, and on the Board of EPI, Vivian lives in Berkeley.