I first met Ambassador Clovis Maksoud in 1979 at a meeting he held on being appointed the League of Arab States’ Chief Representative to the United States. I had only been with AMEU a short while, and Clovis was probably the first diplomat I had ever met. My recollection of the meeting, however, was not that of his hallmark eloquence of speech; it was that of a young man scurrying around, opening up bridge chairs, making sure everyone was comfortable.
He was the consummate gentleman.
Born in Oklahoma, he grew up in Lebanon, where he studied political science at the American University of Beirut, after which he received his law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He held several diplomatic positions with the League of Arab States —- now known as the Arab League — but resigned from his post as its Chief Representative to the United States in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
One constant throughout his life was his support of the Palestinians. As one friend put it: “Palestine was his foremost cause.” That he supported A.M.E.U.’s efforts on behalf of the Palestinians meant a great deal to all of us, directors and staff.
I last spoke with Clovis earlier this year when he phoned to ask about one of our Link articles. For a book he was writing. Only later did I learn that by then he was nearly blind. But that did not deter him from his pursuit of justice.
John F. Mahoney