Shafeeq Ghabra, a Kuwaiti scholar and academic of Palestinian descent, died on Saturday at the age of 68 after battling cancer for the past year and a half.
A professor of political science at Kuwait University and founder and first president of the American University of Kuwait, Ghabra was lauded for his tireless work for the Palestinian cause.
Ghabra witnessed major transformations that affected his 40-year academic career. His Palestinian family fled to Egypt after the 1948 war, and later moved to Kuwait. After graduating from Georgetown University in the US in the early 1970s, Ghabra fought for the Palestinian Fatah movement’s 'Student Battalion', also known as Al Jarmaq brigade.
“My experience in the military struggle for about six years contributed to the development of my academic experience, as it taught me to delve deeper into reading events and to have a broader understanding of political movements of different ideological backgrounds and ways of interacting with reality,” Ghabra told Al Fanar media.
He earned a doctorate in political science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987, and served as the director of the Kuwait Information Office in Washington from 1998 to 2002.
Owing to his Palestinian family’s experience of exile, Ghabra dedicated most of his research to the Palestinian cause and diaspora.
Ghabra also studied the politics and society of Kuwait, where he spent most of his life, and directed the Centre for Strategic and Future Studies at Kuwait University from September 2002 to January 2003.
He is the author of Kuwait: A Study of the Dynamics of State, Authority and Society, and Israel and the Arabs: From the Conflict of Issues to the Peace of Interests.