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Document Details :
Title: Charles Malik and the Meaning of Lebanon
Subtitle: In Medias Res
Author(s): CRAGG, Kenneth
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 63 Issue: 1-2 Date: 2011
If by consequence of its geographical location, the country of Lebanon can be fairly described as ‘in medias res’, the same term can equally be applied to the Lebanese philosopher and diplomat Charles Malik (1906-1987). His time as an undergraduate at the American University of Beirut would be crucial to his intellectual development and breadth of vision. He went on to teach Philosophy there before embarking on a remarkable diplomatic career which would include both his appointment as his country’s first ambassador to Washington, and as President of the General Assembly of the UN, where he played a major role in the drafting and promulgation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. He would also serve as Foreign Minister and Minister for National Education and the Fine Arts in the government of his homeland. A Greek Orthodox Christian, he criticised the West for forsaking its Christian heritage and for its moral and political decadence. He brought knowledge of Lebanon and Arab Christianity to the world, and as an official representative of Lebanon it may reasonably be said that Malik personified its significance as a state which was both Christian and composite, a place of mediation between East and West.