UAlbany Mourns the Loss of Abdo Baaklini
Heidi Weber (518) 437-4980
N.Y. (November 12, 2003) - Abdo I. Baaklini, Ph.D., longtime director of the University at Albany’s Center for Legislative Development renowned for his work in building and strengthening legislative institutions around the world, passed away Nov. 11 at Glens Falls Hospital in Glens Falls, N.Y. Baaklini, who was also a professor of public administration and policy at the University, was 65.
Baaklini began his career at UAlbany in 1972 as associate director of the Comparative Development Studies Center, the predecessor of the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy-based Center for Legislative Development. He joined the University’s Department of Public Administration and Policy as an assistant professor, attaining the rank of full professor in 1994 and serving as department chair from 1989 to 1990.
An expert on international issues affecting the United States, particularly with regard to the Middle East, Baaklini was named acting director of UAlbany’s Comparative Development Studies Center (CDSC) in 1977 and director a year later. He directed the University’s International Development Program from 1982 to 1990, and the Center for Legislative Development from 1990 until the time of his death.
Born in Lebanon and fluent in Arabic, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, Baaklini was recognized for his expertise in such fields as organizational theory, public management, comparative politics and administration, development and international administration and legislative administration. His work attracted grants and contracts from various federal agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Information Agency (USIA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). That support enabled Baaklini to research, design and implement projects to strengthen and promote viable democratic systems and good governance in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
In addition to consulting for USAID, USIS, NSF and other agencies, he worked with the governments of Brazil, Costa Rica, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Yemen, Korea, Morocco, Haiti, Nicaragua, Egypt and several West African states regarding legislative development and other developmental issues. Baaklini created and implemented more than 75 seminars and workshops for legislators, and presented more than 40 papers at professional conferences. He also wrote and edited numerous books, book chapters and journal articles. Baaklini’s latest publications included Legislative Politics in the Arab World: The Resurgence of Democratic Institutions; CLD: Global Report on the Lebanon Relief and Redevelopment Project; The Brazilian Legislature and Political System and The Politics of Legislation in New York State: How a Bill Becomes a Law.
Recently, Rockefeller College presented Baaklini its first Lifetime Achievement Award, created to honor members of the college community who have demonstrated sustained and extraordinary excellence in serving its mission. In presenting the award, Dean Frank J. Thompson noted that Baaklini “has creatively, skillfully, and diligently worked to assure that Rockefeller College stays relevant to an increasingly interwoven global society. The excellence he has achieved serves as an inspiration to us all.”
Baaklini earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in public administration at the American University of Beirut, and a master’s and a doctorate in political science at UAlbany. He is survived by his wife, Rehab Karami Baaklini; their daughter, Sadah, and son, George, all of Lake George, N.Y.; his former wife, Soumaya Baaklini, and their sons, Farid and Iskandar Baaklini, of Albany, N.Y. and a stepdaughter, Sarah, and stepson, Jade Belhumeur, of Lake George. Three brothers, three sisters, and their children also survive.