Waddy, Charis 1909-2004
WADDY, Charis 1909-2004
See index for CA sketch: Born September 24, 1909, in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia; died August 29, 2004, in Oxford, England. Scholar, educator, and author. Waddy was a lifelong scholar of the Muslim world, helping to build bridges between Muslims and other religious believers in books such as The Muslim Mind. Although born in Australia, she spent most of her life traveling around the world, beginning when her minister father took the family to Jerusalem after World War I. She studied at the Jerusalem Girls' College, where she became friends with students of Arabic, Jewish, Greek, and other backgrounds. She decided to study Middle Eastern cultures formally, attending Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, for her B.A. in 1931, and becoming the first woman to graduate from the School of Oriental and African Studies with a Ph.D. in 1934. While at Oxford, she joined the Oxford Group, which soon became known as Moral Re-Armament (MRA; now renamed Initiatives of Change), an organization that supports building communities of faith around the world. Waddy assisted with the MRA's annual conferences in Switzerland, and when not in Europe traveled through Africa, Indonesia, and the Middle East, giving lectures, attending conferences, conducting research, and teaching at institutions such as Cairo University. Her first book, Baalbek Caravans (1967), relates her experiences in Lebanon. Though a Christian herself, Waddy believed that people of all faiths should strive to understand one another, and it was her open mindedness that helped her gain the trust of Islamic religious leaders everywhere. Her second book, The Muslim Mind (1976; 3rd edition, 1991) was widely praised as a work that had the power of alleviating misunderstanding and prejudice among those of differing faiths. Waddy similarly received acclaim for her Women in Muslim History (1980).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Guardian (London, England), September 25, 2004, p. 29.
Independent (London, England), September 15, 2004, p. 37.