Palestinian educationist who pioneered social development in the Arab world.
Ali Othman reached USA for his postgraduate studies in 1947 while his fate was sealed by events at home - the state of Israel was created in 1948, Palestine disappeared from the map, leaving him stateless on American soil.
He lived in the US for 10 years, wrote his doctoral thesis on al-Ghazali and found employment with the UN in New York. Ali returned to the Arab world in 1957 as deputy director of a Unesco community development centre in the Egyptian delta, training officials from across the region in social and educational development.
Ali Othman was Unesco chief of school education and teacher training for UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestinian refugees), from 1965 to 1972, based in Beirut. He moved to Unicef, where he was regional representative of the Gulf states and Yemen (1972 - 1975) and established the first UN offices in the Gulf, and moved to Kuwait as director of social development (1977 - 1980) and as senior advisor for UN development programme (1980 - 1982).
He established a Palestine Open University funded by Unesco. In addition to many lectures and papers, Ali published numerous books in Arabic and English.
Ali Othman was born north of Bethlehem, Palestine, who never lost his identification with his rural values and bounds of kinship or his village dialect. He died in London, where he had lived since 1993.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan