Mahmoud Salim Rabbani (1934-2002) was born in Haifa, Palestine. The eldest of four children, he was orphaned at a young age and subsequently, along with most of his compatriots, forced to leave his native Palestine in 1948.
After completing his secondary education in Lebanon and Syria, Mahmoud Rabbani in 1956 left for the Netherlands, where he had received a scholarship to study at the Technical University of Delft. In 1958 he discontinued his studies, and left Delft for The Hague to establish the Middle East Bureau for the Promotion of Economic Relations (MEPER Export), a private company which mediated the export of agricultural and other products from the Netherlands to the Arab states of the Middle East and North Africa.
In 1966 Mahmoud Rabbani was appointed Honorary Consul of the State of Kuwait to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With his intimate knowledge of the Netherlands, easy command of the Dutch language, and personal commitment to the rights of the Palestinian and Arab peoples, he quickly became the leading spokesperson for the Palestinian and Arab points of view in what would become his homeland in exile. Shortly after leaving the Kuwaiti diplomatic corps in 1985, Mahmoud Rabbani accepted an appointment by the late King Hussain of Jordan to serve as the Hashemite Kingdom’s Honorary Consul-General to the Netherlands, which he remained until 1989. Subsequently, from 1991-1996, he served as a member of the PLO’s Palestine National Council.
Throughout his career, Mahmoud Rabbani sought to promote the values of dialogue, cooperation, and exchange between cultures and countries as a constructive alternative to conflict and dispossession. Mahmoud Rabbani passed away on May 30, 2002.