Dec. 9, 1955 – Jan. 23, 2021
This has been a sad week for us in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures. Our beloved colleague and friend, Dr. Zaineb Istrabadi, passed away on Saturday, January 23, 2021. Dr. Istrabadi was born on December 9, 1955 in London, and moved to the US with her family when she was a teenager. Dr. Istrabadi received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees at Indiana University, and started her career as an Arabic Lecturer at IU in 2001. Prior to coming to IU, Dr. Istrabadi worked for many years with the renowned literary critic Prof. Edward Said as his Research and Administrative Coordinator at Columbia University (1986-2001).
As a Senior Lecturer at IU, Dr. Istrabadi proved herself to be one of the best Arabic instructors that ever taught at IU, and the most popular among all students. She taught different levels of Arabic, both Modern Standard Arabic and dialects; she also taught several content courses including Quranic Arabic, Survey of Islamic Civilization, Classical Prose Literature, Arab Cultures and Societies, and others. She contributed to MELC in many ways over the years as she served on numerous committees, both departmental and academic, and she actively participated in all the academic and co-curricular activities of the Arabic Program. She published a number of academic articles and gave numerous presentations, lectures, and media interviews over the course of her career. She was also very active in the community, supporting many different groups and organizations, especially religious and interfaith organizations. On the personal level, she was very kind-hearted, generous, courteous, sympathetic, with a wonderful sense of humor. Most especially, she loved her students and was, in turn, beloved by them. She will be dearly missed.
Dr. Istrabadi is survived by her brother, Prof. Feisal Istrabadi, who is former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, and director of the Indiana University Center for the Study of the Middle East; her sister-in-law, Juliet Graver Istrabadi, who is Curator of Ancient Art at the Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art; and two nieces.