Constantine Zreek. President of the Syrian University

By: Prof. Dr Moustafa El-Abdallah Al Kafry

Constantine Zreek. President of the Syrian University

By: Prof. Dr Moustafa El-Abdallah Al Kafry

Dr. Constantine Zureik, a Syrian Arab thinker and historian and one of the most prominent advocates of  Arab nationalism, was born in al-Qamriya neighborhood in Damascus on April 5, 1909, received a bachelor’s degree in literature from the American University of Beirut, received a professorship of arts at the University of Chicago, and then received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton University.  He served as Syria’s minister commissioner in Washington in 1946, and was later appointed president of the Syrian University in Damascus in 1949 until he resigned in 1952, [1]

Constantine Zureik was awarded the Syrian Order of Merit in 1956, after his resignation, went to Beirut to work as a professor at the American University and served as vice president of the American University and president in charge from 1955 to 1957, Dr. Constantine Zureik died at the American University hospital in Beirut at the age of about 91 on August 12, 2000.

Constantine Zureik was preoccupied with the national issue in his daily, professional and academic life (he looked at it, wrote in its horizon, charted the policies of unifying Arab countries, renewing Arab awareness , resurrecting the forces of the nation from the gate of science and technology and directly engaging in their space, visions and innovation.  His books are successively in this context. [2]

(Constantine spent his childhood and youth in Damascus, and his family moved into a house surrounding the cathedral and Orthodox schools, adjacent to Islamic neighborhoods.

Zureik completed primary and secondary school in Orthodox schools. Despite their sectarian association with these schools, they included a good number of Muslim students and were known for their high level, especially in Arab sciences. [3]

Because of his scientific excellence, he received a scholarship at the American University of Beirut, which was awarded to him by Dr. Philip, even a professor of history at that university. [4]

Constantine Zureik mastered Arabic and English and wrote books in both languages, and he mastered French and pain in German. (This is one of the advantages of the thinker Constantine Zureik, although he spent all stages of his university studies in foreign institutions, and during most of his years of work was associated with foreign educational institutions, he chose to constantly address the Arab reader and go on his writings  The topics he chooses to write should be directly related to the situation in the Arab world and its future. [5]

Constantine Zureik is a senior adviser to the Syrian Commission in Washington:

(In March 1945, he was summoned to Damascus to meet with President Shukri al-Quwatli, who appointed Constantine Zureik as first adviser to the Syrian Commission in Washington and a member of the  Founding Syrian Delegation  of the United Nations, headed by Prime Minister Fares al-Khoury, and when Ambassador Nazim al-Qudsi was summoned to Damascus, Constantine Zarek became minister delegate to the government of U.S. President Harry Truman, who presented his credentials to him on 13  February 1946. Dr. Zarek spent a great deal of effort defending Syria’s independence and the  Palestinian cause  he  believed in and worked so much for throughout his life.  [6]

Constantine Zarek distinguished himself from his contemporaries of political leaders, as the founder of an idea, not the founder of a party entity, but he went through a fleeting partisan experience in his early youth, where he founded with some of his colleagues in 1932 the “League of National Action”, for which he established a charter and Plans to reach the leadership of the Arab party movements called it the “Red Book” because of the color of its cover not because of its content, and does not know during the life of Dr. Constantine Zreek an organized party work other than this transient experience, except his embrace of the “Association of The Trusted Lug” During his time as a professor at the American University of Beirut, she was encouraged to build a national consciousness against colonial influence in the region, such as the Baghdad Alliance or western influence hostile to the Arab nationalist movement during the Nasserist nationalist tide in the 1950s and early 1960s.[7]

Link to download the entire study in PDF format:  Constantine Zreek. President of the Syrian University

* The Arab Thought Foundation published an article by Ahmed Farhat entitled: Constantine Zureik … Arab League Reference, Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

[1]  – Constantine Zureik resigned from the presidency of Damascus University on March 8, 1952, when there was a confrontation between him and the military, when he prevented them from entering the campus in search of a student who refused to receive his university degree from the then head of state Colonel Adeeb Al-Shishkli.  The soldier slapped him in the face and forcibly entered Damascus University, in a painful incident that Constantine Zarek remained avoiding until his death.

[2]  – Ahmed Farhat, Constantine Zureik. Arab League Reference, Arab Thought Foundation, Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

[3]  – Constantine Zreek,

[4]  – Aziz al-Azma, Constantine Zureik: 20th Century Arab, Center for Palestinian Studies, Beirut, 2004, p. 18.

[5]  Previous source.

[6]  – Constantine Zreek,

[7]  – Salah Zaki Ahmed, Constantine Zureik. Arab thinker who lived and died on National Hope, Ars 24, 2020

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