Charles Malik

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Charles Malik (right) together with Dag Hammarskjöld (1958)

Charles Habib Malik ( Arabic شارل حبيب مالك Scharl Habib Malik , DMG Šārl Ḥabīb Mālik ; * 1906 in Bitirran , Lebanon ; †  December 28, 1987 in Beirut ) was a Lebanese politician and the President of the 13th  UN General Assembly in 1958.


Malik attended the American Mission School for Boys in Tripoli , then graduated from the American University of Beirut. He finished this in 1927 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics. From 1927 to 1929 he taught mathematics and physics there.

The following year he went to the publishing house Al-Hilal Cairo , and he worked from 1930 to 1932 for the Department of schistosomiasis of the Rockefeller Foundation, in a study of the destructive effects of this disease, which is transmitted by snails to humans.

In 1932 Malik studied in Freiburg im Breisgau , where he began a doctoral thesis with Martin Heidegger , which he broke off at the beginning of 1933 under the impression of the transfer of power to Hitler. He then left Germany for the United States , where he completed his studies at Harvard University in 1934 with a doctorate in philosophy .

Together with Eleanor Roosevelt , with whom he was personally friends, Malik was one of the defining figures of the San Francisco Conference . He was the author of essential parts of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , its co-author and rapporteur before the UN Commission on Human Rights together with Mrs. Roosevelt.

From 1945 to 1953, Malik was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister General for Lebanon in the United States . He held the same position in Cuba from 1946 to 1953 . In 1951 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1958 to the American Philosophical Society . From 1953 to 1955 he was ambassador to the USA. From November 18, 1956 he was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Education in Lebanon.

Malik was Lebanon's representative in the UN Economic and Social Council , from its second to eighth session, and was its president in the seventh and eighth session. He also represented his country on the Human Rights Commission . From 1951 to 1952 he was its chairman.

Malik was fluent in English, French, German and Arabic and was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for International Law . Often referred to as an "Arab philosopher," he wrote numerous articles on scientific, social, and philosophical subjects in both US and Arab magazines.

In the last years of his life, Malik witnessed the Lebanese civil war . As the only Greek Orthodox politician, at the beginning of the war he was a co-founder of the Lebanese Front , an alliance of bourgeois-conservative and right-wing forces against the left-wing and pro-Palestinian Lebanese national movement of Kamal Jumblat . Malik was a member of the anti-communist Prayer Breakfast Movement, an evangelical network now mainly known as The Family .

In April 1982 Malik visited Germany again, where he had studied with Heidegger half a century earlier, in order to give a lecture in German to the German Society for Foreign Policy in Bonn .

Hannah Arendt paid tribute to Malik in the late 1940s as a philosopher and as one of the few Arab politicians willing to approach Israel .


  • Charles Habib Malik: The state of the spirit and will of the West: its impact upon the question of the Middle East. Lecture, held in Bonn on 28 April 1982 at the German Council on Foreign Relations eV

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Member History; Charles H. Malik. American Philosophical Society, accessed January 6, 2019 .
  2. ^ Jeff Sharlet: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Harper-Collins, New York 2008, pp. 224-226, ISBN 978-0-06-055979-3 .