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Abdul Aziz Said: A Pioneer in Peace, Intercultural Dialogue, and Cooperative Global Politics

With a Foreword by Mohammed Abu-Nimer and Prefaces by Nathan C. Funk and Meena Sharify-Funk

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  • © 2022


  • Examines the life and works of Abdul Aziz Said, an innovator in the field of international relations and peace studies
  • Charts a scholar’s journey towards global peace, and in particular Islam and peace
  • Presents essays written by famous scholars commenting on the significance of Abdul Aziz Said’s academic works

Part of the book series: Pioneers in Arts, Humanities, Science, Engineering, Practice (PAHSEP, volume 26)

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Table of contents (11 chapters)

  1. Abdul Aziz Said’s Pioneering Life and Works

  2. Selections from Abdul Aziz Said’s Writings

  3. Abdul Aziz Said’s Impact, Influence, and Legacy


About this book

Known to many as American University’s “peace legend,” Abdul Aziz Said (1930–2021)
led an academic career spanning nearly sixty years. Always a forward-looking thinker,
Said consistently sought to be among the first to grapple with the leading-edge issues of
his day, from decolonization and turbulent social change in developing countries to the
influence of multinational corporations, the normative priority of human rights, cultural
aspects of conflict resolution, and the promotion of Islamic-Western understanding.
Taken together, his extensive writings, innovative pedagogy, and practical pursuits offer
a model for engaged scholarship, characterized by dynamic use of the platform provided
by a university career to advance international peace, intercultural dialogue, and social
justice as well as a spiritual ethic emphasizing unity and connectedness among people
from diverse cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds.

• Abdul Aziz Said has been an innovator in international relations and peace
• Born in Syria, he completed his higher education in the United States and went
on to teach multiple generations of international affairs students;
• He was a leading scholar focusing on global peace as well as Islam and peace;
• His writings address salient global issues from the 1950s to the first decades of
the twenty-first century.

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

    Nathan C. Funk

  • Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada

    Meena Sharify-Funk

About the editors

Nathan C. Funk (Ph.D., American University, 2000) is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel University College, the University of Waterloo. A frequent collaborator with Abdul Aziz Said, his publications include Islam and Peacemaking in the Middle East (2009), Ameen Rihani: Bridging East and West (2004), Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam (2001), “Localizing Peace: An Agenda for Sustainable Peacebuilding (Peace and Conflict Studies, 2010), “Constructing Civic Space: Civil Resistance, Sustainable Citizen Empowerment, and Transitional Justice as Pathways of Change in Contemporary Arab Politics” (in Arab Spring: Modernity, Identity and Change, 2019), “Religion and Peaceful Relations: Negotiating the Sacred” (in The Routledge Companion to the Handbook of Peace and Conflict Studies, 2019), and the “Conclusion” to Middle Power in the Middle East (2022). He has served on the boards of several Canadian peace organizations, and including the Peace andConflict Studies Association of Canada. 

Meena Sharify-Funk (Ph.D., American University, 2005) is Associate Professor of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research and writing address topics related to women and Islam, Islamic and Sufi hermeneutics, and the role of cultural and religious factors in peacemaking. She is author of Muslim Women in Contemporary North America: Controversies, Clichés, and Conversations (forthcoming) and Encountering the Transnational: Women, Islam and the Politics of Interpretation (2008). Her co-authored and co-edited books include Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture (2018), Unveiling Sufism: From Manhattan to Mecca (2017), Contemporary Islam: Dynamic, Not Static (2006), and Cultural Diversity and Islam (2003) and . She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters, and was guest editor of a special issue of the journal Religions on “Contemporary Muslim Thought and Identity” (April 2022).



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