Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies and erstwhile Director of the Middle East Institute. He is also a professor in the History Department, and teaches popular courses such as History of the Modern Middle East. Khalidi has been on the faculty since 2003, when he was lured from the University of Chicago.
Khalidi frequently comes under fire from conservative commentators and media outlets for his perceived politics. This was especially true with regard to his participation in a program in the New York City public school system, from which he has withdrawn, under related pressure from NYC Education Chancellor Joel Klein, among others. Professor Khalidi attempted several times to leave for a similar position at Princeton, although he was stymied by protests, again concerning his alleged political views. During the 2008 US presidential campaign, similar concerns flared about Khalidi's politics when it was revealed that he once had a relationship with Democratic candidate (and current President-elect) Barack Obama.
Many of these stem from what is seen as Khalidi's erstwhile support for the PLO, ostensibly offered while Khalidi was in Beirut in the 1970s and 80s and when he served in an advisory role during the Madrid Conference of 1991. Khalidi denies that this marked any affirmation of the PLO's actions or politics.
Yet despite attempts to portray him otherwise, Khalidi is a soft-spoken moderate. His opposition to the war in Iraq stemmed from the view that it reenacted historical fallacies stemming from European imperialism, but welcomes American participation in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He is often as sharply critical of Arab states and Palestinian politicians as he is supportive of Israel's right to exist.
In 2007, Khalidi announced to his students that he would be retiring from teaching, although news of his departure has not been officially confirmed. Khalidi did step down from his position heading the Middle East Institute.
His wife, Mona, works in the administration of SIPA.
- - Khalidi MEI Bio Page