Pillars of His Legacy
Throughout his career in academia and politics, Charles Malik served as a calm and charismatic leader in uncertain times. Confronting seasons of adversity, he turned to his faith for wisdom and courage. He integrated his Christian convictions with his public duties, engaging the political world without succumbing to its vices.
A century later, Malik remains a powerful example for young Christian leaders and political actors.
Human Rights & Religious Freedom
Charles Malik believed in universal values, such as freedom, human dignity, and the value of pluralism, that cut across time and permeated all civilizations and cultures. Malik saw these values manifest most clearly in the Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, and broader Western tradition.
Best known for his work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Malik authored the Declaration’s Preamble with its philosophical underpinnings and the text of Article 18 on religious freedom, freedom of conscience, and the freedom to change one’s religion.
When he offered a friendly critique of America and the West, Malik did so by constantly calling the West, should it stray, to return, and to remain faithful to its bedrock values.
Free Christianity in the Near East & the West
As a Middle Eastern Christian, Malik experienced the sorrows and joys that defined his community and empathized with the challenges facing native-rooted Christians across the Muslim world. Throughout the 20th century, he defended the freedoms of beleaguered Christians in his ancestral home of Lebanon, which meant little to Malik without its free Christian community.
Malik sought to preserve the cultural and spiritual connections between Lebanon’s Christians and the wider Christian world. When the occasion for tangible world Catholic-Orthodox rapprochement presented itself in the 1960s, Malik found himself in a unique position to help mediate and facilitate this ecumenical openness, given his special proximity to the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul.
In addition to his peace-making efforts between Christian traditions, he also believed Christians and Muslims could flourish together in reciprocal appreciation for one another’s differences– celebrating and fortifying their shared values while remaining true to their cherished beliefs.
Charles Malik Quotes
"The supreme need is for vigorous moral leadership. Given such leadership, grounded not in interest but in principle and vision, there will emerge a real atmosphere of expectancy and positive cooperation that will carry along the hesitant, and shame the primitive and formless into action and commitment. Where the call is absolutely clear, nations will not dare stay behind."
"Two lights alone guide us: truth and love. In their company alone we propose to walk, and if we stray from the right path, it cannot be the fault of our lights, but our own."
"Thanks to the Charles Malik Institute, the works of one of the greatest 20th-century thinkers and statesmen are beginning to be more widely known. Malik’s thought, far ahead of its time, is highly relevant to today’s multipolar world. A leading figure in the early UN, he played a crucial role in the framing of the cornerstone of today’s international human rights system, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and was a respected mediator between East and West, North and South."
"Perhaps no time since the 1940s, when Charles Malik was one of the premier Christian intellectual voices in the aftermath of the Second World War, have his insights into human freedom been more important. At a moment of cultural crisis in the West, the need for Christian leaders and statesmen is beyond urgent—and Malik and his legacy point the way forward. This makes the work of the Charles Malik Institute essential: Indeed, it is hard to conceive of intellectual and spiritual renewal along the lines that Malik envisioned without it."
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The Malik Archive
The Charles Malik Institute shapes future scholars, humanitarians, and public servants by teaching the legacy of Lebanese Christian philosopher and statesman Charles Malik.Explore the Archive
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