About The Fund
The Abdullatif Chakaki Fund was established in 2020 to support students in higher education that embody Abdullatif Chakaki’s values of educational excellence, integrity, generosity, pluralism, a love of learning and the natural world.
The Fund was established by Abdullatif’s wife Salma Nassar, his children Nawara, Rama, Mohamad and Omar Chakaki and grandchildren Tala and Abdullrazak Odeh, with the support of extended family and close friends.
Abdullatif believed in education and the opportunity it provides. He encouraged his children to study science and engineering. But he also believed in a well-rounded education and continued learning and growing – through reading, travel, and friendships – throughout his life. During his lifetime, he supported the education of many friends, family and others in need.
Abdullatif was open-minded and pluralistic, with friends and colleagues from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. When he questioned sending his children to a religious school in the United States, Abdullatif’s wife Salma reminded him that his values were in fact shaped by the piety and religious character of his upbringing. So he came to balance a secular outlook with a respect for religion as a source of morality and ethics – a compass for how to interact with and treat other humans. He was of impeccable character, and embodied the values of honesty, respect, and simplicity.
When Abdullatif passed away, his family members were overwhelmed by the number of mourners who expressed condolences and told stories of how much he had given to his community.
The Abdullatif Chakaki Fund supports students in higher education that embody Abdullatif Chakaki’s core values of
- Pluralism, Openness & Respect
- Work Ethic, Excellence & Commitment
- Generosity of Spirit to Family & Community
- Character, Integrity & Honesty
- Love of Learning & the Natural World
Born in 1941 in Hama, Syria, he spent his early childhood in a two-story home with a central courtyard. Abdullatif lived with his parents, 7 siblings, 2 uncles and their families.
At age 13, Abdullatif lost his mother, an event that shaped his personality; he grew up to be quiet, thoughtful, and kept his feelings to himself. Yet with his family and closest friends Abdullatif was good-natured, funny, and loved a good practical joke.
Abdullatif’s dad was an educator, so he instilled the value of education in his own children. Abdullatif excelled in his studies and went abroad to Cairo, Egypt where he earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering at Ain Shams University. He was then awarded a scholarship to specialize in irrigation engineering and to study existing irrigation projects in Hungary.
Abdullatif was passionate about the environment. He spent much of his free time in nature on long walks, birdwatching excursions and gardening. He enjoyed camping and fishing with his children, and dreamed of retiring on a ranch.