Announcing the 20th Annual Mikhail Memorial Lecture

We are delighted to announce that acclaimed author Laila Lalami will deliver this year’s Mikhail Memorial Lecture. The 20th annual lecture will be held virtually with the support of the University of Toledo College of Arts and Letters on December 8, 2020.

We sincerely hope you will be able to join us online on the evening of Tuesday, December 8th from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. for this exciting milestone event in the lecture series. Click here to access the Zoom link for the event:

Laila Lalami was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain, and the United States. She is the author of four novels, including The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Her most recent novel, The Other Americans, was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award in Fiction. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington PostThe NationHarper’s, the Guardian, and the New York Times. She has received fellowships from the British Council, the Fulbright Program, and the Guggenheim Foundation and is currently a full professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside. She lives in Los Angeles. Her new book, a work of nonfiction called Conditional Citizens, was published by Pantheon in September 2020.

About the Lecture Series

The Mikhail Endowment Fund was originally established through a donation from the Mikhail family to honor the work and contributions of Maryse Mikhail and her involvement in educational, philanthropic and interfaith organizations. The main purpose of the fund is to support an annual lecture dealing with Arab culture, history, politics, economics, and other aspects of life in the Middle East including issues of peace and justice.  

Click here for a full list of previous lectures.

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the fund to help ensure the continuation of the lecture series for years to come. Any amount is welcome, and checks should be made payable to the UT Foundation with a notation of the Maryse and Ramzy Mikhail Endowment Fund (#1301-005). Gifts may be sent to The University of Toledo Foundation, P.O. Box 586, Toledo, OH, 43607-0586. Secure online gifts may be made at Please be sure to designate Fund #1301-005.

Use the sign-up form in the sidebar to receive notices of future lectures. All inquiries may be sent to

Thoughts from Maryse

“Maa feesh hadd ahsan min hadd.”    “No one is better than anyone else.”

I often heard this saying growing up in Egypt with eight siblings.  It taught me that favoritism and discrimination were not to be tolerated.

According to Banous Dunham, “The moment comes for anyone capable of rational decisions, when, for the first time, he grows aware that people are important the same way he is important.  If he decides that they are so, he freely embraces ethics.”

I believe in the value of every individual, regardless of race, creed, gender, mental or physical health, or country of origin.  I believe we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers here and all over the world.  None of us can be free when others suffer from injustice, prejudice and stereotyping.

I agree with Walt Whitman’s remark about the United States as “not merely a nation, but a teeming nation of nations.”  As we assimilate, we do not forget our ethnic heritage and identity.  It is indeed our responsibility to our ancestors as well as to our descendants to promote our cultural heritage and to correct inaccurate representations of our history and reality.

There can be no peace without justice, nor justice without truth.

Maryse Doss Mikhail