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Dr. Peter Anton Gubser (1941-2010) InMemoriam

By Andrew I. Killgore

Gubser was a genuinely great man worthy of respect and for whom they felt great affection. When Palestinian owners of olive tree nurseries were charging excessive prices for their seedlines, Peter established a West Bank nursery for seedlings that brought the prices down to more affordable levels. The writer had the honor of visiting this site with Peter. Among other successful Gubser initiatives was a program to provide thousands of the Gaza Strip’s preschool children with milk. He also funded the construction of educational centers at West Bank colleges for training business managers. Dr. Gubser’s life was sadly foreshortened when he died at only 69 years of age. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Annie Yenikemshian of Somerset, Maryland; two daughters, Sasha Gubser of Denver and Christi Gubser of Boulder, Colorado; his mother, Mary Gubser of Tulsa; two brothers; and two granddaughters. �

eter Gubser, scholar,

Pexecutive and great-

PHOTO COURTESY ANERA

ly admired humanitarian in Washington, DC and the Middle East, died of prostate cancer Sept. 2 in Bethesda, Maryland. Begun in 1968 as a tiny nonprofit group to help the Palestinians after the 1967 Six-Day War, the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) grew into a multimilliondollar arm of American economic, educational and nutritional aid to Palestinian and Arab refugees in the West Bank, Jordan and other parts of the Middle East. Peter Gubser, who served as president of ANERA from 1977 to 1997, was the major reason for the organization’s great success. Peter was able to persuade donors to give in- Dr. Peter Gubser. creasing amounts as the years went by. Gradually the U.S. gov- can Institute of Research before going ernment started contributing as to ANERA. Dr. Gubser wrote several books Gubser’s deeply honest and persuasive powers grew. In fact, practically about the Middle East. But his status everybody came to believe in Peter as as a scholar was solidly fixed by his a stalwart advocate for the cause of deeply learned book Saladin, about the 12th century Islamic leader who helping the Palestinians. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Peter fought against the Christian (Advertisement) Gubser graduated from Yale Univer- crusaders from Europe and sity in 1964. He then earned a master’s who defeated Richard the degree from the American University Lionhearted. It is important to keep in of Beirut in 1966 in Middle East studies and the Arabic language. This was mind that Dr. Gubser followed by a doctorate in social an- worked for 20 years at the thropology from England’s Oxford very heart of the ArabIsrael dispute in the West University in 1969. After earning his doctorate at Bank and Gaza Strip. Deep 4HERESALOTMOREYOUMIGHT Oxford, Peter was an adjunct profes- suspicions abounded. This NOTKNOWABOUTYOUR sor at the University of Manchester in put an especially high preMUSLIMNEIGHBORS England. He worked for the Ford mium on Peter’s tact, diplo6JG/WUNKO.KPMVJGNCTIGUVPGYURCRGTHQTCPFCDQWV Foundation in Lebanon and Jordan macy, determination and VJG/WUNKO%QOOWPKV[KP&%/&CPF8##XCKNCDNGCV before moving to Washington in the courage—qualities he disOQUV/QUSWGU#TCD+PFQ2CMCPF2GTUKCPTGUVCWTCPVUCPF 1970s. Here he worked for the Ameri- played in the Middle East ITQEGTKGUKPVJGITGCVGT9CUJKPIVQP$CNVKOQTG as well as in Washington. OGVTQRQNKVCPCTGC#XCKNCDNG(TGG Andrew I. Killgore is publisher of the His friends in both places 0HONE  &AX   Washington Report on Middle East came to realize that the Affairs. WWW-USLIMLINKPAPERCOM always friendly Peter

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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

DECEMBER 2010

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  

Published to help provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.