It is with enormous sadness that ANERA announces the passing of Peter Gubser, humanitarian, author and devoted friend of Palestinian communities throughout the Middle East. Dr. Gubser committed 29 years of his career to improving lives of Palestinians as president of ANERA. Peter Gubser, 69, died September 2nd, 2010 after battling cancer.
He never stopped seeking a better future for the Middle East even after retiring from ANERA in 2007. He was Chairman of the Board of the American Friends of UNRWA from 2008 until his death. Dr. Gubser also lectured on the Middle East at Georgetown University.
Peter was dedicated to providing quality education for Palestinians, starting as early as preschool. He said, "The big picture may be slow to change, but to the person receiving a textbook, the future is immediately better."
Some of his hallmark achievements include a campaign against malnutrition among Gaza’s children through the Milk for Preschoolers program, which was established in 2003 to distribute fortified milk and biscuits to preschoolers. The program today reaches nearly 20,000 children across the Gaza Strip.
Under his leadership ANERA funded the construction and establishment of IT Centers of Excellence at four universities in the West Bank. The centers offer specialized classes in IT business management and act as incubators for young Palestinian entrepreneurs while also providing services to the local Palestinian business communities.
In an earlier tribute to Peter's colleagues summed up his impact this way, "You are the personification of ANERA: capable, practical, enthusiastic, supportive of new ideas and willing to make them happen."
He was a keen observer of Middle East society and an historian. He published articles and research papers on various aspects of Middle East economic development. His latest book, “Saladin, Empire and Holy War” (Gorgias Press April, 2010) offers a remarkable and highly readable portrait of the complex warrior-king. He also wrote several books on Jordan, including a historical dictionary of the Hashemite Kingdom.
Before joining ANERA, Peter worked for the Ford Foundation in Lebanon and Jordan and as an Associate Research Scientist for the American Institute for Research in Washington, DC. After receiving his BA from Yale, his MA from American University of Beirut and his PhD from St Anthony’s College at Oxford University, he worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester and conducted year-long projects in Zahleh, Lebanon and Karak, Jordan.
Peter Gubser is survived by his mother Mary Gubser, his beloved wife Annie Yenikomshian Gubser, whom he met while living in Lebanon, their two daughters Sasha and Christi and their two granddaughters, Sky and Sophie.
Our thoughts are with Peter's family. We are grateful for his life and work.
To send condolences to the Gubser family, please click here.
For those wishing to give a gift in Peter's memory, we have established the Peter Gubser Education Fund.