Syrian poet Omar Abu Risheh in 1932

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Omar Abu Risheh was born in Aleppo in 1911 and studied at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He obtained his graduate studies in the UK and returned to Aleppo in 1932, establishing himself as a ranking poet. He served briefly as director of the National Library in Aleppo and politically associated himself with the leading anti-French nationalist Abdul Rahman Shahbandar. In 1948, he was voted into the prestigious Arab Language Assemblage in Damascus and joined the Foreign Ministry. As a diplomat, he was Syria’s minister to Brazil in 1949-1953, then served at the same rank in Argentina and Chile in 1953-1954. In 1954-1958, he became Ambassador to India, and in 1959, held the same post during the short-lived Syrian-Egyptian Union. In 1959-1961, he became Ambassador of the United Arab Republic in Austria, and in 1961, President Nazem al-Qudsi appointed him as Syria’s Ambassador to the US under John F. Kennedy. Omar Abu Risheh died in Saudi Arabia at the age of 79 in 1990.