04.28 Druze


Event Details:

“The Druze Minority and Challenge of Survival in Modern Times”
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
3:00 - 4:30 pm
Carr Center Conference Room (Rubenstein Building, Floor 2, Room 219) Harvard Kennedy School of Government


The Druze Minority
Challenge of Survival in Modern Times


Dr. Anis Obeid
author of The Druze and their Faith in Tawhid,
and founding member and past chairman of the
American Druze Foundation

moderated by

Rima Merhi
Carr Center Gebran G. Tueni Fellow

a Druze Sheikh

“The Druze have no idea how to deal with the rapid changes of the present and have no plan for the future. Our generation managed to ring the bell for a wakeup call. It is the new young generation that has to carry the ball and embark on the road to reform.” says Dr. Anis Obeid.

Like many minorities in the Middle East, the Druze face discrimination, limited opportunities, and challenges to develop their communities.

The Druze are mainly found in Lebanon, Syria and Israel/Palestine. At a time when the Druze faith is unique in its openness to other religions and based on reason that is enshrined in Greek philosophy, the faith remains closed to outsiders and many members of the Druze community. Although the traditional religion has offshoots in Islam, the Druze consider their faith as a reform movement in Islam.

The miracle is that the Druze managed to survive for over a thousand years as a result of strong community ties and an ethical upbringing. The Druze religious class is based more on piety and simplicity of life than scholarship and learning. Join us for a discussion with Dr. Anis Obeid on the future of the Druze.

Speaker Biography

Anis Obeid Anis Obeid was born and raised in Lebanon. He is a layperson coming from a religious Druze family who educated himself about the Druze faith. Since he moved to America, Dr. Obeid became a founding member of the American Druze Foundation and served as the past chairman. Dr. Obeid is also a life-long member of the American Druze Society. In July 2006, he published a book called: The Druze and their Faith in Tawheed.

By profession, Dr. Obeid is a clinical professor of medicine at the Upstate Medical University and director of echocardiography at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, New York. Dr. Obeid is involved in many social and cultural organizations, including the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the AUB Alumni Association, Arab American Medical Association, the Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee and the Syracuse area Middle East Dialogue (SAMED).

Dr. Obeid is the recipient of many awards, including Teacher of the year (1973); community service award by the ADC (1993); American University of Beirut Alumni service award (1993); Arab American Medical Association award (1999); distinguished service award by Crouse Hospital auxiliary (2003); distinguished service award by the Onondaga County Medical Society (2003); Man of the year award, American Druze Society (2008); and Lifetime achievement Award Crouse Hospital (2009). In 1999, Dr. Obeid published a book of poetry in Arabic titled Sada al-Sinin (Dar Sader, Lebanon).

Moderator Biography

Rima Merhi, is a Druze from Mount Lebanon and first recipient of Gebran G. Tueni Fellowship at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard.

More on Carr Fellow Rima Merhi >