The Author and Her Books
May Rihani is the author of nine books and the editor of two.
Her English books address the issues of girls’ education, women’s empowerment, and global human development. One of her books, Learning for the 21st Century: Strategies for Girls’ and Women’s Education in The Middle East and North Africa, was translated into French, Arabic, and Farsi. Her two recent books are: Cultures Without Borders, a memoir; and A New Narrative of Peace, an essay on the conditions of Peace.
Her three Arabic books are a collection of free-verse poetry that deal with love, language, Lebanon, and global common ground.
She also co-edited two books: one on Ameen Rihani, and a more recent one on the relevance of Kahlil Gibran, Ameen Rihani, and Mikhail Naimy in today’s world.
A New Narrative of Peace
This book represents the proceedings of the Inaugural Lecture of May Rihani as the Director of the Gibran Chair at the University of Maryland. It was published in 2017.
Cultures Without Borders: From Beirut to Washington, D.C
Published in 2014. Cultures Without Borders is the story of a Lebanese woman who defies stereotypical notions about Arab women.
It describes the upbringing of a girl growing up in Lebanon during its golden years, i.e., from the 1950s through 1975. It was a time when Lebanon was the only pluralistic democracy in the Middle East.
In Lebanon, newspapers freely criticize the leadership of their country, and people were not jailed for expressing their opinion.
At that time, Lebanon was home to 58 daily and weekly publications—some as diverse as a Maoist paper—and where people of different faiths lived and worked in peace.
This is also a story of the discovery of common ground among cultures. The author, who lived in France and the US, and who traveled and worked in more than 40 countries, discovered that the common ground among cultures is by far more important than the apparent differences and that the more human beings understood, acknowledged, and valued the common ground, the more they became global citizens.
The memoir focuses on May’s work to facilitate the transformative power of girls’ education through innovative human development programs. Presently girls’ education is recognized as boosting all development sectors.
The book draws examples of her work in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Morocco, Mali, Malawi, the Congo, and other countries where the author worked, and where the positive transformation of societies has a chance due to girls’ education.
Cultures Without Borders is the story of a unique woman who has found and embraced the Other within herself.
Keeping the Promise
Keeping the Promise highlights the barriers and challenges that girls face when they decide to enter secondary education, and the five main benefits that accrue to them and their families if and when they enter and complete secondary education. It was published by the Academy for Educational Development in 2006.
Learning for the 21st Century
Learning for the 21st Century analyses the status of education for girls and boys in the Middle East and North Africa and proposes 20 different and complementary strategies to advance girls’ and women’s education in the Middle East and North Africa. UNICEF published it in 1993.
Strategies to Promote Girls’ Education: Policies and Programmes that Work, with Khadija Haq
Strategies to Promote Girls’ Education: Policies and Programmes that Work, with Khadija Haq. Despite significant progress in the state of education worldwide, in 1990 an estimated 948 million adults–about a quarter of the world’s population–were still illiterate, the majority being girls and women. This book was written to highlight effective strategies that advanced girls’ education — published by UNICEF in June 1992.
Yalouffou Khasr al-Ard (Encircling the Waist of the Earth)
Yalouffou Khasr al-Ard (Encircling the Waist of the Earth). This book of poetry is a collection of free-verse poems that reflect May Rihani’s views on love, global society, language, and her beloved Lebanon. Platform International published it in 1992.
Development as if Women Mattered
Development as if Women Mattered is an annotated bibliography that gathers a large number of documents that focus on the important role that women play in advancing the development of their communities. A number of these documents are written by authors and researchers from the developing countries. The Overseas Development Council published it in 1978.
Ismi Siwaya (My Name Is The Other)
Ismi Siwaya (My Name Is The Other) is a free-verse poetry collection in Arabic addressing suffering and the less privileged. Dar Rihani published them in Lebanon in 1974.
Hafrun ’Ala Al-Ayyam (Engraving on Time)
Hafrun ’Ala Al-Ayyam (Engraving on Time) is a collection of essays in Arabic dealing with existential issues, published by Dar Rihani in Lebanon in 1969.
May Rihani also co-edited: