The CCAS community was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Ibrahim M. Oweiss, professor emeritus at the School of Foreign Service and one of the founding members of CCAS. Professor Oweiss joined Georgetown’s faculty in 1967 and taught economics for nearly 40 years at both the Washington and Qatar campuses—counting future president Bill Clinton among his students. Prior to his tenure at Georgetown, he served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota and Western Maryland College and also taught over the years at Harvard University, Oxford University, and Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Oweiss authored more than 50 scholarly publications and during his time at Oxford developed the “Oweiss Demand Curve,” a theoretical framework for predicting changes in oil prices. In addition to his role in helping to establish CCAS in the 1970s, Dr. Oweiss was also one of the founders of the College of Commerce and Economics at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman.
Beyond academia, Dr. Oweiss held a long career as an international economic advisor, working for the governments of Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Panama, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan, and serving as an advisor to U.S. President Jimmy Carter. He also worked for several multinational corporations in the United States and abroad, including Occidental Oil Company, Mobil Oil Company, United Technologies and Mawarid Holding Company. In 1977, Dr. Oweiss was appointed in the Egyptian Cabinet as First Under-Secretary for Economic Affairs and, with rank of Ambassador, held the position of the Chief of the Egyptian Economic Mission to the United States headquartered in New York.
Dr. Oweiss served as President and Honorary Chairman of the Council on Egyptian-American Relations, which he founded in 1999, and was elected for two terms as the President of the Association of Egyptian-American Scholars. In addition to other national and international honors, Dr. Oweiss was awarded Egypt’s first-class Order of Merit by President Sadat and was admitted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as Commander to the order of St. John, a British royal order honoring individuals who strengthen the spirit of mankind and promote humanitarian work. In addition, Dr. Oweiss held the Grand Cordon of the Order of Mohammed Ali Pasha and the Knight of the Order of the Queen of Sheba.
Originally from Egypt, Dr. Oweiss attended Alexandria University as an undergraduate and went on to earn his masters degree and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota. He married Céline Lesuisse Oweiss, who taught French for many years at Georgetown, and together they had a daughter, Yasmeen, and a son, Kareem. In 2021, on the occasion of Professor Oweiss’ 90th birthday, CCAS dedicated a plaque honoring his many achievements and contributions to the Center. Professor Joseph Sassoon, who was CCAS Director at the time, said, “Dr. Oweiss’ life achievements are an excellent reminder for current and future generations of students how one’s vision can lead to something as amazing as CCAS, which for over 45 years continues to teach and train students from all around the globe about the Arab world.”
The CCAS community would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Oweiss family during this difficult time.