Obituary: Christoph Schumann (1969-2013)

By Thomas Scheffler

The OIB is saddened to learn of the sudden and untimely death of Dr. Christoph Schumann, Professor of Politics and Contemporary History of the Near East at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg on September 1, 2013.  Christoph Schumann has been a dear friend of our institute since 1995 when he came to Beirut to work as a student intern in the OIB’s library. In the following years he returned time and again to the OIB to search for material for his later PhD thesis on Radical Nationalism in Syria and Lebanon: Political Socialization and Elite Formation, 1930-1958 (2001). He was a contributor to the OIB’s Almanac, Beiruter Blätter (Nr. 4, 1996) and edited, together with Thomas Philipp, a volume of the OIB’s publication series Beiruter Texte und Studien (From the Syrian Land to the States of Syria and Lebanon, BTS 96, 2004). After becoming professor in Erlangen in 2009, he was the supervisor and mentor of numerous BA, MA, and PhD students who spent longer or shorter periods at the OIB and other research institutions in Beirut. In 2010, when he came to Beirut as a member of our international summer school “Official Religion in the Middle East: Political Opportunities and Constraints”, he impressed students of many countries by his outstanding talents as a creative, easy-going, highly interactive and helpful PhD advisor, well versed in the art of careful listening and devoted to helping students realize their own potential in cooperation with others.

Christoph Schumann is survived by his wife and two children. He will be mourned by everyone who had the chance to work with him and experience his deep humanity, thought-inspiring creativity and vast knowledge that is documented in his numerous publications.