Save the Date! 22nd Mikhail Memorial Lecture: Oct. 18, 2022

We are delighted to announce that Melissa Chimera and Adele Ne James, an artist-poet mother-daughter creative duo, will deliver this year’s Mikhail Memorial Lecture. The 22nd annual lecture will be held in a hybrid format with the support of the University of Toledo College of Arts and Letters on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern at the McQuade Law Auditorium on the University of Toledo’s Main Campus. The title of their presentation is, “The Lebanese Diaspora, Loss and Recovery: A Personal Retrospective.”

Event parking is available in Area 12. A visitor parking permit is required to park on campus at all times. Visit parkutoledo.com to purchase a parking permit. If you require accessibility information or accommodations related to this event, please contact the UToledo College of Arts and Letters Dean’s Office at 419-530-2164.

For those who are unable to attend this event in-person, the lecture will also be live-streamed and archived on the University’s YouTube channel. Click this link to watch the live-stream.

We sincerely hope you will be able to join us.

Adele Ne James, left, and Melissa Chimera, right

Melissa Chimera is a Honolulu native of Lebanese and Filipino ancestry. She studied natural resources management at the University of Hawai‘i, a world epicenter for plant and animal extinction and worked for two decades as a conservationist. Chimera’s mixed media paintings and installations are research-based investigations into species extinction, globalization and human migration. Her work has been widely exhibited throughout the U.S., Asia and the Middle East, published in anthologies and reviewed by the Washington Post and Hyperallergic art review. She was among a dozen invited artists to join and exhibit in a China-Tibet art collaboration called “Moving Cultures,” and is the 2022 artist in residence at Anchorage Museum. Her solo exhibitions, curatorial projects and collaborations with her mother Adele Ne Jame include “Remittance” (2022), “Migrant” (2019), “The Far Shore” (2018) and “Inheritance: Land and Spirit” for the Sharjah Binniale 9. Chimera is the recipient of theCatherine E. B. Cox Award and finalist for the Duke University Lange-Taylor Prize in documentary studies. Her work resides in the collections of the Arab American National Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Hawai‘i State Foundation of Culture and the Arts.

Adele Ne Jame, Lebanese American, has taught poetry in Hawai’i since 1990 and currently serves as Professor Emeritus at Hawai’i Pacific University. Previously, she served as the Poet-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has published several books of poems, including Field Work and The South Wind. Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts in Poetry, Eliot Cades Award for Literature, a Pablo Neruda poetry prize and a Robinson Jeffers Poetry Prize. As broadsides, her poems were exhibited along with her daughter’s paintings in the Sharjah, United Arab Emirates International Biennial in 2009, and most recently her work, with her daughter’s, was displayed at the Arab American National Museum, Dearborn Michigan.

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 give2UT.utoledo.edu. 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 mikhaillecture@gmail.com.

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: https://www.utoledo.edu/al/mikhail.html

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 give2UT.utoledo.edu. 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 mikhaillecture@gmail.com.


2021- Noura Erakat, “We Broke a Dam: The Palestinian Intifada of Unity”

The 21st annual Maryse & Ramzy Mikhail Memorial Lecture was held Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 3:00 p.m., featuring human rights attorney and scholar Noura Erakat.  The event, which was free and open to the public, was held at the University of Toledo, at the law school’s McQuade Law Auditorium. The lecture, titled, “We Broke a Dam: The Palestinian Intifada of Unity,” also is available to view online at this link.

Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and an Associate Professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick in the Department of Africana Studies and the Program in Criminal Justice. Her research interests include humanitarian law, refugee law, national security law, and critical race theory. Noura is the author of Justice for Some: Law As Politics in the Question of Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2019), winner of the 2019 Palestine Book Awards sponsored by the Middle East Monitor and winner of the Independent Publishers Book Award’s  Bronze Medal in Current Events/Foreign Affairs. She is a Co-Founding Editor of Jadaliyya e-zine and an Editorial Committee member of the Journal of Palestine Studies. 

She has served as Legal Counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, as a Legal Advocate for the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights, and as the national grassroots organizer and legal advocate at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Noura is the co-editor of Aborted State? The UN Initiative and New Palestinian Junctures, an anthology related to the 2011and 2012 Palestine bids for statehood at the UN. More recently, Noura released a pedagogical project on the Gaza Strip and Palestine, which includes a short multimedia documentary, “Gaza In Context,” that rehabilitates Israel’s wars on Gaza within a settler-colonial framework. She is also the producer of the short video, “Black Palestinian Solidarity.” She is a frequent commentator, with recent appearances on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others, and her writings have been widely published in the national media and academic journals. She is currently a Non-Resident Visiting Fellow in the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at the Religious Literacy Project at the Harvard Divinity School. ​

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. The Mikhail Lecture is the longest running endowed lecture series at the University of Toledo.

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