University celebrates the life of Rifaat Nimer, the ‘Sheikh of Arab Bankers,’ in public lecture

The Deanship of Student Affairs at Birzeit University held a public lecture to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Rifaat Nimer, a successful banker also known as “Palestinian Rebel,” on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

This lecture constitutes part of the deanship’s efforts to celebrate Palestinian culture and heritage by organizing public lectures, symposia, theatrical plays and film screenings.

This lecture, chaired by Mohammad Al-Haj Ahmad, coordinator of student activities at the Deanship of Student Affairs, featured Fathi Srouji, professor of economics, and Salah Hussein, director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate.

Al-Haj Ahmad briefly recounted the main milestones of Nimer’s life. Nimer was born in Nablus in 1918 and attended Cairo University, majoring in Arabic literature. He was involved in the 1936 Arab Revolt and subsequently arrested in Sarafand where he met a number of intellectuals and businesspeople, including Abdul Hameed Shoman, the founder of Arab Bank. Shoman offered Nimer the opportunity to work at Arab Bank, and after proving his capabilities, Nimer was appointed assistant to the manager of the Arab Bank’s branch in Baghdad. 

Al-Haj Ahmad mentioned the legacy Nimer left behind as he authored (in Arabic) three books, titled “On Banking and Economy,” “On Banking and Economy II: Words, Letters, and Revisions,” and “Pages of my Life in Politics, Culture, and Among People.”

Srouji then discussed the relationship between culture, heritage and the economy, pointing to a number of idioms that reflect the state of the economy. 

Hussein, in his speech, focused on the role of culture in facilitating economic development and advancement.