Press Release

Anera Mourns Death of Former President Peter Gubser

September 3, 2010 l Washington, D.C. – It is with enormous sadness that Anera announces the passing of Peter Gubser, humanitarian, author, educator and devoted friend of Palestinian communities throughout the Middle East. Dr. Gubser committed 29 years of his career to improving lives of Palestinians as president of Anera. Peter Gubser died September 2, after battling cancer. He was 69.

Peter Gubser never stopped seeking a better future for the Middle East even after retiring from Anera in 2007. He was Chairman of the Board of the American Friends of UNRWA from 2008 until his death. Dr. Gubser also lectured on the Middle East at Georgetown University.

“Peter was a unifying figure who energized Anera programs and supporters for 29 years,” said Anera president Bill Corcoran. “His legacy was providing Americans with a positive means of developing the economy of Palestine and thereby changing lives. He has left many friends and admirers who respect him greatly and will miss him.”

During his tenure at Anera, Dr.Gubser’s persistence and enthusiasm helped turn a $1 million organization into $35 million sustainable
non-government organization dedicated to humanitarian development among Palestinians throughout the Middle East.

Peter Gubser was dedicated to providing quality education for Palestinians, starting as early as preschool. Once asked why, he said, “The big picture may be slow to change, but to the person receiving a textbook, the future is immediately better.”

Some of his hallmark achievements included a campaign against malnutrition among Gaza’s children through the Milk for Preschoolers program, which was established in 2003 to distribute fortified milk and biscuits to preschoolers. The program today reaches nearly 20,000 children across the Gaza Strip.

Another success story reflected his passion for education. Under his leadership Anera funded the construction and establishment of IT Centers of Excellence at four universities in the West Bank. The centers offer specialized classes in IT business management and act as incubators for young Palestinian entrepreneurs while also providing services to the local Palestinian business communities.

In an earlier tribute to Peter Gubser, Anera colleagues summed up his impact: “He is the personification of Anera: capable, practical, enthusiastic, supportive of new ideas and willing to make them happen.”

Dr. Gubser was a keen observer of Middle East society and an historian at heart. He published articles and research papers on various aspects of Middle East economic development. His latest book, “Saladin, Empire and Holy War” (Gorgias Press April, 2010), offers a remarkable and highly readable portrait of the complex warrior-king. He also wrote several books on Jordan, including a historical dictionary of the Hashemite Kingdom.

Before joining Anera, Gubser worked for the Ford Foundation in Lebanon and Jordan and as an Associate Research Scientist for the American Institute for Research in Washington, DC. After receiving his BA from Yale, his MA from American University of Beirut and his PhD from St Anthony’s College at Oxford University, he worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester and conducted year-long projects in Zahleh, Lebanon and Karak, Jordan.

Dr Gubser is survived by his mother Mary Gubser, and by his beloved wife Annie Yenilomshian Gubser, whom he met while living in Lebanon, their two daughters Sasha and Christi and their two granddaughters Sky and Sophie.