Professor Edward Wadie Said was born on 1st November 1935 in Jerusalem (then in the British Mandate of Palestine) and died on 25th September 2003 at the age of 67 years in New York City, USA. His father was a wealthy Protestant Palestinian businessman and an American citizen who had served under General Pershing in World War I, while his mother was born in Nazareth also of Christian Palestinian descent. His sister was the historian and writer Rosemarie Said Zahlan. He referred to himself as a "Christian wrapped in a Muslim culture". In his formative years, he lived in both Cairo and Jerusalem before his family moved to the USA. He attended the Anglican St. Georges Academy in Jerusalem in 1947. In 1948, his entire family became refugees in Egypt during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
In the USA, he attended different schools and in 1957 he earned an A.B. (Artium Baccaleureus/Bachelor of Arts) from Princeton University, an MA in 1960 from Harvard University where he won the Bowdoin Prize. He joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1963 and served as Professor of English and Comparative Literature for several decades. In 1977 Said became the Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and subsequently became the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities. In 1992 he attained the rank of University Professor, Columbia's most prestigious academic position. Professor Said also taught at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Yale universities. He was fluent in English, French, and Arabic.
Said was bestowed with numerous honorary doctorates from universities around the world and twice received Columbia's Trilling Award and the Wellek Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association. The Institute of Social Studies awarded its honorary doctorate to Said in 2002.His autobiographical memoir, Out of Place, won the 1999 New Yorker Prize for non-fiction. He was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Royal Society of Literature, and the American Philosophical Society. Said's writing regularly appeared in The Nation, The Guardian, the London Review of Books, Le Monde Diplomatique, Counterpunch, Al Ahram, and the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat. Alongside his good friend, fellow political activist and colleague Noam Chomsky, he gave interviews on US foreign policy to various independent radio programs.
Honorary Degree at ISS: Orientalism once more (2003) / Edward W. Said / The Hague: ISS, 2003. Lecture delivered on the occasion of the awarding of the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa on the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands, 21st May 2003.