The Mohamed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace is the first endowed university Chair in the United States to be devoted to the study of Islam and peace. The inaugural Chair was established in 1996 – five years prior to 9/11 – with Professor Emeritus Abdul Aziz Said, who founded the university-wide Center for Global Peace and inspired thousands of students and alumni during his tenure. In fall 2017, Elizabeth Thompson, one of the country’s preeminent historians of the modern Middle East, became the new Chair.
The Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation Scholarship began in 2011 – after the Arab Spring – as a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative; the aim was to improve understanding and cross-cultural interaction between young leaders of emerging Middle East democracies and those in the United States. With this scholarship, a total of twelve students (six scholars from Tunisia and six from Egypt) have participated in the American University School of Professional and Extended Studies’ Washington Semester Program. Since 2011, MSFF support has expanded beyond the 12 scholarship recipients to give a wide range of students opportunities to interact with individuals they would not have otherwise had the chance to meet, and to foster a better global understanding.
Finally, the MSFF has created the Abdul Aziz Said Peace and Conflict Resolution Fund, named after Professor Said, upon his retirement. In its first year, the Fund helped support the Peace, Justice & Inclusion pilot, which created bonds between 19 AU staff, graduate, and undergraduate students and 48 Washington DC middle and high school students through a series of workshop activities promoting educational and emotional enrichment on themes of peace and nonviolence.