Anis Sayegh


Born in Tiberius, the son of a Presbyterian minister, Sayegh fled Palestine with his family in 1948. He lived for most of his life in Lebanon, where he attended the Sidon School and graduated from the American University of Beirut with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history. He later obtained a doctorate in philosophy in the same field from Cambridge University in Britain.

Upon returning to Lebanon, Sayegh headed the Palestinian Research Center which at the time had the largest library of books about Palestine outside that country. The PRC financed researchers and writers, publishing hundreds of books in Arabic as well as other languages, including one book that was translated to Esperanto. The Israelis targeted the PRC four times, including a letter bomb sent to Sayegh in 1974 that resulted in his losing much of his eyesight, hearing and three fingers.

He worked his entire life for the cause of Palestine and Arab unity. An outspoken writer, he believed in Arab nationalism, the liberation of Palestine, and resistance to Israel as a Jewish state, and believed that Jews and Arabs, Christian and Muslim, can live together in a unified democratic state.
He was twice elected to the number two position in the Palestinian National Council.

In addition to writing, Sayegh was a prolific editor: he edited the 11 volume Palestinian Encyclopedia, which took around 20 years to complete and is the only encyclopedia in Arabic devoted to one topic. In the 70s and 80s he served as editor of Palestinian Affairs, Arab Future, and editor-in-chief of Arab Affairs.

His autobiography, published in 2005, is titled “The Memoirs of Anis al-Sayegh”.

Sayegh died of heart failure in Amman, Jordan, at the age of 78.