|Biographical detail : ||Academic, activist, traveller and adventurer, the unquiet American was a lifelong advocate of cultural diversity and pluralism.
Leaving her home country, America, after her studies – her father paid for a single ticket and told her that she would have to find her own way back. She never did! She left for the East: to Egypt, Lebanon, Burma, and to her impressive performance at the 1956 Asian Socialist Conference in Bombay. She met eminent personalities during her travel.
Alijah helped set up the Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, in 1959, then based in Singapore, aiming at producing world-class academic scholarship. The institute’s journal ‘Intisari’ was regarded as the most progressive publication of ideas in Malaysia then.
Alijah left Singapore, in 1973, to re-settle in Kuala Lumpur – between 1973 and 1982 she found herself in exile in Beirut until she was invited back in Malaysia where she began to campaign for the rights of Palestinians and Palestine.
Alijah a firm believer in reason and the power of truth and known to many simply as Ibu Alijah wrote her autobiography, ‘On Becoming Alijah’.
She was born as Shirley Gordon in New Jersey, the USA.