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Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Member of the Advisory Board of Know Thy Heritage

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi is a distinguished Palestinian leader, legislator, activist and scholar who served as a member of the Leadership Committee and as an official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process, beginning with the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991.  Dr. Ashrawi was appointed as the Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education and Research (1996), but she resigned from the post in protest at the non-implementation of reform plans in governance and peace talks (1998). Prior to that, she was Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Birzeit University, and head of its Legal Aid Committee since the mid-1970s.

Dr. Ashrawi was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Jerusalem (1996), and, she was re-elected for the “Third Way” bloc ticket (2006).  Making history as the first woman to hold a seat in the highest executive body in Palestine, she was elected as member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2009. 

As a civil society activist, she founded MIFTAH, the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (1999) and continues to serve as head of its Board of Directors.  In the same year, Dr. Ashrawi founded the National Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN). Moreover, she is the founder of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and has served as its Commissioner since 1994.

Dr. Ashrawi serves on the advisory and international boards of several organizations, including the World Bank Middle East and North Africa (MENA); the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD);  the International Human Rights Council; US/Middle East Project; TAKREEM  Arab Achievement Awards; International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) – Sweden; the Project on Justice in Times of Transition, USA; the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East; the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD); and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s Know Thy Heritage Program.

Dr. Ashrawi is the recipient of numerous awards from all over the world including the 2005 Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation; the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize; the 2002 Olof Palme Prize; the 1999 International Women of Hope “Bread and Roses”;the Defender of Democracy Award – Parliamentarians for Global Action;the 50 Women of the Century; the 1996 Jane Addams International Women’s Leadership Award; the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Women’s Award; the 1994 Pio Manzu Gold Medal Peace Award; and the 1992 Marissa Bellisario International Peace Award.  

She is the author of many books, articles, poems and short stories on Palestinian politics, culture and literature. Her book This Side of Peace (Simon & Schuster, 1995) earned worldwide recognition. Dr. Ashrawi received both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees from the American University of Beirut and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Medieval and Comparative Literature from the University of Virginia in the United States.  Moreover, she is the recipient of eleven honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Arab world.

She is married to Emile Ashrawi and has two daughters, Amal and Zeina.

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Mr. Hashim Hani Shawa, Chairman of the Board & General Manager, the Bank of Palestine.

Hashim Shawa joined Bank of Palestine as Chairman and General Manager in 2007 and has continued its strategy of growth and expansion.  After obtaining his BSc (Hons) from University College London, Mr. Shawa began his banking career at Citigroup in 1997 where he held various management positions in Corporate and Private Banking working in the UK, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. In 2005 he joined HSBC in Switzerland as a director of the group’s Middle East and North Africa business. His role was to develop the company’s Private Banking business in the Gulf and establish HSBC’s onshore presence in Kuwait.

Shawa is a member of the IIF Emerging Markets Advisory Council (EMAC), a member of the Board of Directors of InvestBank in Jordan and the Palestine Institute for Financial and Banking Studies.  Shawa is also a member of the board of trustees of Bethlehem University.

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Mr. Farouk Shami, Inventor & Founder of Farouk Systems

Born in the Palestinian town of Beit Ur, Mr. Farouk Shami left Palestine after finishing high school at the Ramallah Friends School, in order to study in America. He worked in salons to pay for his college education, and this necessity ultimately set him on the path which today has made him a preeminent hair-care inventor, founder & chairman of the board of Farouk Systems. This Houston, Texas-based company earns roughly $1 billion in revenue and employs more than 2,000 Americans who together make the favorite hair-care products used by celebrities like Madonna, Renee Zellweger, Gwyneth Paltrow, Courtney Cox, and Demi Moore. None of this success has led Farouk to forget his roots and those who remain in Palestine, where as a small child he first helped his mother make dyes from local plants and vegetables. In fact, after cosmetology school, he returned to Palestine to open a salon there, but ultimately returned again to the United States following the 1967 War. Nonetheless his actions prove that he still carries a heart for Palestine. “Because of Israeli occupation, Palestine is dependent on donor countries,” Shami says. “But there are many Palestinians with the means to help, and we need to share our success with our people.” In 1999, Shami opened a science high school for girls in Beit Ur. And in 2009, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), he sponsored an infrastructure project of sidewalk and road electrification projects for Beit Ur’s 5,000 residents and 20,000 people from the surrounding communities who regularly pass through the village. Mr. Shami is unflinching in his dedication to the cause of peace in the Middle East, which he believes can be achieved through the development of the Palestinian economy and the fulfillment of Palestinian human rights and needs. His example serves to inspire other Palestinians in the Diaspora to pursue success through innovative and ethical business endeavors, and always to serve Palestine faithfully through every possible means.

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H.E. Theodosios Atallah Hanna, Archbishop of Sebastia, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Born in 1965 in the Galilean village of Al Rameh, Theodosius (Atallah) Hanna attended local primary and secondary schools before entering the Clerical Patriarchate School in Jerusalem. In 1983 he matriculated at Thessalonica University in Greece in the Faculty of Theology. After graduating with honours, he went on to complete a master’s degree and doctorate. In 1991 he was ordained as a deacon and priest in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The late Patriarch Diodoros invested him as Archimandrite, and thereafter he was appointed Head of the Arabic Department for the Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem in which office he acted as a spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. In addition to these commitments and responsibilities, he also served as preacher in the Patriarchate churches.
 
Impressed by his remarkable performance in these offices, the late Patriarch Diodoros appointed him Secretary General of the Clerical & Lay Joint Council of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem. Thereafter he was appointed professor of Church History and Arab Civilization at the Arab Teachers College in Haifa; and contributed much to the establishment and development of the faculty for seven years. As the founder of the Orthodox Youth Movement in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, he is considered to be the godfather to many of the Christian youth groups in Palestine. As a member of the Composition Committee, he raised the topic of Christian religious education in Arab schools in Israel and participated in the establishment and development of curricula for Palestinian schools. He also supervised the Orthodox religious radio channel known as the Voice of Palestine Radio.
 
Theodosius is a well-known author, and his articles have been periodically published in various newspapers as well as in local and international magazines. (Read Complete Bio Here)

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Mrs. Claudette Habesch, Member of the HCEF Advisory Board,  Former Secretary General of CARITAS Jerusalem, Former President of Caritas Middle East and North Africa, Former Vice President of the Caritas Internationalis Confederation

Mrs. Claudette Habesch, born in Jerusalem, attended the Notre Dame de Sion School completing the London Matriculation.  She studied at the Beirut College for Women receiving a B.A. in Social Work, followed by internship in medical social work at the American University Hospital in Beirut.

Mrs. Habesch has served the Palestinian community in numerous capacities. She was chair of the YMCA Women’s Council (1971-75), a National Board member (1978-84), and its president (1989-93). She was vice president of the Board of Directors of Terra Sancta Club in Jerusalem (1973-80). Today she serves as secretary general of Caritas Jerusalem.  She was elected as president of the MONA region (Middle East and North Africa) for two consecutive terms (1999 -1007) as such she served as vice president of Caritas Internationalis for the MONA region (Middle East and North Africa).   She has been a member of delegations of the Holy See including its delegate to the UN Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. She was a member of Pontificum Consilium-Cor Unum from 1990 to 1999.

Mrs. Habesch has served as a member of the Working Group on Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and is a member of the Central Committee of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees since 1992 (DSPR). Subsequently she held the chairmanship from 2001 to 2004. She is a council member of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) in Geneva since 1995.

Mrs. Habesch is on the Board of Trustees of Bethlehem University since 1997 and serves as vice president of the board since 2007. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Saint Yves Society since 2002.  She was inducted as Lady Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great with star in 1997. In recognition of her numerous humanitarian contributions, she was honored in 2004 by the Catholic University of San Antonio, Murcia, Spain, with the International Voluntary Service Award.

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Fr. Michael McDonagh, International Advisor to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

A native of Sligo, Ireland. Born in 1950. Ordained to the priesthood 1974 at All Hallows Seminary, Dublin for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida. Completed graduate studies in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America in 1978. Worked in the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal as  a Judge. Served as Pastor of St. Michael’s Parish, Clearwater from 1983-87. Moved to EWTN, presented a weekly Bible program and co-hosted Mother Angelica Live for five years. From 1992 till the present helped found a new religious community, the Marian Servants of the Holy Spirit, geared to a restoration of a more robust and frequent celebration the Sacrament of Penance and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament through retreats and parish missions. Hearing the call of the Lord to live and work in Jerusalem, moved in 1999 and was incardinated into the Latin Patriarchate in 2012.

 

 

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Mr. Samer Makhlouf, Executive Director, One Voice Palestine

Samer Makhlouf, from the West Bank town of Jifna, is the Executive Director of OneVoice Palestine (OVP). In this position, Samer oversees the different programs and activities of the movement, maintains the strong network of OVP volunteers and activists, and works towards building a coalition of civil society organizations in support of the two-state solution.

Through OneVoice, Samer has organized grassroots campaigns, training seminars, and discussion panels, throughout the West Bank. He also regularly engages with elected leaders across the political spectrum—both national and local officials—through town hall meetings, which bring together leaders and Palestinian citizens to discuss the issues of the conflict. Under Samer’s leadership, OVP has grown to become the second largest youth movement in Palestine with over 500 core activists in all the governorates of the West Bank. Through OVP’s Youth Leadership Program, these activists are empowered to be young moderate political leaders capable of leading their communities in achieving a comprehensive peace agreement through the two-state solution.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Birzeit University in Palestine. Samer has extensive international training in fundraising and non-profit management, including a cultural exchange mentorship program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. In addition to his work with OneVoice, Samer has 10 years of experience in a broad range of non-profit and business organizations in Palestine. Prior to his post in OVP, Samer served as the head of Ramallah’s Al Kasaba Theater & Cinematheque Programs & Development Department. As a member of the Palestinian Council for Young Political Leaders, he has established a wide network of connection with Palestinian politicians, organizations, and institutes. Samer is also the President of the Jifna Youth Club and the leader/organizer of the Jifna’s Apricot festival, one of the largest, most popular and well known festivals in Palestine. 

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Sir Rateb Y. Rabie, President/CEO of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

Sir Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS is co-founder, President and CEO of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. Sir Rabie was born in Amman, Jordan to Palestinian parents.  He came to the United States in 1976, became a citizen, and obtained a degree in business management.  From 1981 to 1986, Sir Rabie was Director of Operations for Saudi Support Services, Ltd.  In 1988, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he managed and owned several businesses.  He is currently president of Image Printing and Publishing, Inc. and is an international consultant for business development.  Sir Rabie is a past national president and current board member of the Birzeit Society; Vice President and Treasurer and Co-founder of the Institute for Health, Development, and Research in Palestine.  Sir Rabie is committed to ameliorating the living conditions of Holy Land Christians so that they might continue to dwell in the land of Christ’s birth and preserve its Christian heritage. He is a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

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Ms. Christine Hill, Vice President, HCEF Board of Directors; President/Founder, ServiceAlliances; Exec VP/Co-Founder, ServiceElements.

Christine Hill is currently working with entrepreneurs and IT professionals in the West Bank & Gaza for the past year through ServiceAlliances. ServiceAlliances procures internet based assignments and contracts for entrepreneurs, small companies and IT professionals in Palestine focusing on women and young professionals. ServiceAlliances also specializes in organizational development through training in the business environment to empower and connect eager professionals to possibilities and offshore/remote jobs.

Eleven years ago, Christine also co-founded ServiceElements, a corporate training organization that specializes in “core skills” training in the U.S. and abroad. Topics include: organizational development, customer service, communications, teamwork, leadership, diversity, empowerment, coaching, etc. Customers include dozens of U.S. Fortune 50 and Fortune 100 companies in a variety of industries: aviation/aerospace, IT, banking, healthcare, construction, hospitality, real estate, call centers, and OEMs.

Christine has a Masters of Educational/Psychology in Human Relations from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelors Degree in Legal/Business Administration from the University of Evansville. She is very excited about the opportunity to work with HCEF on Outreach to explore opportunities for engagement between the US and Palestine and in particular, opportunities for young professionals and women.

Christine is a member of the Mission Committee and former Deacon at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also an active member in her community having served on a variety of charitable and service boards in Scottsdale & Phoenix, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC) which works with refugees, Open Table and the Grand Canyon Presbytery Committee for Peace & Social Justice. Christine writes articles on service for several publications including TrainingPort and a weekly article for Cygnus Media at www.aviationpros.com.

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Father Drew Christiansen, S.J., Member of the HCEF Board of Directors, Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Global Human Development,  Georgetown University

Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J. is Editor-in-Chief of America Magazine, the U.S. Jesuit weekly. From 1998-2002, he was a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. He is the former director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Catholic Conference (1991-1998). Fr. Christiansen served as advisor to the U.S. bishops on Middle East policy from 1991 to 2004. He served as the first coordinator of an episcopal conference working group on the Holy Land (1998-2002). For his work on behalf of the church in the Holy Land, Patriarch Michael Sabbah invested Fr. Christiansen as canon of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

 

 

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Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Secretary, HCEF Board of Directors; Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, Monmouth University

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, born and raised in Jerusalem, is Associate Vice President for Academic Program Initiatives and Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University. He received his elementary and secondary education at Collège de Frères and St. Joseph’s College in the Old City. He completed a B.A. in political science and history interdisciplinary, with summa cum laude, from Monmouth College in 1978. In 1984, he earned his doctoral degree from Rutgers University in political science, with specialization in international relations and Middle Eastern affairs. Sarsar is a Middle East scholar and commentator on Middle East affairs and the author of several books and articles on this and other subjects. Sarsar received and/or directed several grants, including Fulbright, Kellogg, Dodge, and Peace Development Fund. Among his awards are the Global Visionary Award from Monmouth University in 2007, the Stafford Presidential Award of Excellence from Monmouth University in 2006, and the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice in 2001. In April 2003, Sarsar was featured in The New York Times, “His Mission: Finding Why People Fight-A Witness to Mideast Conflict Turns to Dialogue and Peace.”

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Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and standup comedian. 

Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Chicago Sun-Times for his groundbreaking series on the Palestinian Intifada in 1990, he has won four Chicago Headline Club Lisagor Awards, and was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New America Media in 2006. In 2009, Hanania received the National Sigma Delta Chi award for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Hanania covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. He writes on politics for several mainstream newspapers, and on Middle East issues for Creators Syndicate. He is the Managing Editor of The Arab Daily News online at TheArabDailyNews.com, and host of the radio show “Talk of the Town” on WCEV 1450 AM Radio in Chicago and simulcast on YahalaVoice.com.

As President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania provides media and public affairs consulting to more than a dozen clients in government, politics and the private sector. He has authored several books including the humor book “I’m Glad I look Like a Terrorist: Growing up Arab in America,” and “Arabs of Chicagoland.” After the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001, Hanania launched a standup comedy career to help bridge the growing animosity directed against Arabs, performing in Palestine, Israel, Jerusalem, Beirut, Dubai, London, Dublin and throughout the United States. His comedy combines his Christian Arab heritage and his unique family life: his wife and son are Jewish.

Hanania served as National President of the Palestinian American Congress (1995-1996), and served on the Chicago and national board of ADC (1980 and 2010). Honorably discharged from the US Air Force, Hanania served during the Vietnam War.

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Mark L. Wasef is a Coptic American practicing attorney with Sedgwick LLP. Mark is also a board member with the Egyptian American Community Foundation and an active member of the Coptic Lawyers Association. Mark is the first born of his family in the United States, after his family immigrated to the United States beginning in 1969.  He spent more than half of his childhood in Egypt where he witnessed first hand the hardships of Coptic Christians in Egypt. Over the last four years, Mark has been actively involved with organizing of Coptic Orthodox advocacy and education campaigns which involved numerous members of the US House of Representatives and Senate. The focus and purpose of these campaigns was to raise awareness of the plight of Coptic Orthodox and other Middle-Eastern Christians. Mark also participates in several community service activities within the Coptic Orthodox community for those that have recently immigrated to the United States from Egypt, both in a counseling and legal capacity.  It is through these varying activities in which Mark has gained an appreciation and compassion to advocate for a better standard of life for the Coptic Orthodox population in Egypt. 

After spending eight months serving as a Trial Chamber intern for the Honorable Carmel Agius at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia located in The Hague, Netherlands, he received his Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law, where his studies were focused on International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He also served as an editor to the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion. 

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Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad is Professor of the History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Georgetown University. She has taught Islamic Studies at Vassar College, Colgate University and Hartford Seminary and Modern Middle East History at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has conducted research on twentieth century Islamic thought in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Tunisia and has travelled extensively in the Muslim world. She has served as the past president of the Middle East Studies Association and the American Academy of Religion, New England Region as well as the Vice President of Arab-American University Graduates. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship, a Distinguished Research Fellow from the Helsinki Collegium for Advance Studies, The National Endowment for  the Humanities and a Carnegie Research Fellowship.

She is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Outstanding Achievement and Distinction in Service to the Profession, Boston University, School of Theology (2007) and Scholar of the Year: Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion (2002) as well as the Chancellor’s Medal of Excellence in Research from the University of Massachusetts. Her publications include: Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History and Becoming American: The Forging of Arab and Muslim Identity in Pluralist America;,. She has co-authored Muslim Women in America, Gender, Islam, and Society (with Jane I. Smith and Kathleen Moore), The Islamic Revival since 1989: A Critical Survey and Bibliography 1989-1994 (with J. Esposito); Islamic Values in the United States: A Comparative Study (with A. Lummis) Mission to America: Five Islamic Sectarian Movements in North America (with J. Smith), The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection (with J. Smith) She has edited Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens and The Muslims of America. She has co-edited 13 other books including Educating the Muslims of America (with J. Smith and F. Senzai) Islamic Law and Modernity, (with B. Stowasser), Religion and Immigration: Christian, Jewish and Muslim Experiences in the United States (with J. Smith and J. Esposito), Daughters of Abraham: Feminist Thought in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (with J. Esposito), Muslims on the Americanization Path? (with J. Esposito) Islam, Gender and Social Change (with J. Esposito), Christian-Muslim Encounters (with W. Z. Haddad) and the The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her research interests include Muslims in the West, twentieth century Islamic thought, Islamic revolutionary movements, contemporary Qur’anic interpretation, women in Islam, and Middle Eastern Christians in the modern world.

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Seth Morrison has held leadership posts in various local, regional and national Jewish organizations starting in college as a youth leader in Young Judea.  He is currently active in Jewish Voice for Peace serving on the Congressional Outreach Committee.

In 2011 Mr. Morrison resigned from the Washington DC Board of the Jewish National Fund in protest over repeated evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.  He chaired the Washington DC Metro Chapter of J Street in 2013 before becoming active in the BDS Movement.  His op-eds supporting Palestinian and Bedouin rights have been published in The Forward, The Jerusalem Post and +972 Magazine.

Mr. Morrison is also active in LGBTQ organizations and local politics in Northern Virginia.  Professionally he is a consultant specializing in marketing and strategic planning for both for and non-profit organizations.  Previously he was the SVP & General Manager of CTAM, a trade association serving the cable television industry.  As a marketer, he has been responsible for major local and national marketing, PR and social media campaigns for the cable television industry and non-profit organizations.

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Rafiq Masri is an Information Technology entrepreneur and founder of Network Management, Inc. which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year as a premier IT managed service provider.  Rafiq was born in Nablus, raised in Kuwait and immigrated to the United States in 1979. He is very actively involved, from his corporate headquarters and home in Washington, D.C., with Palestinian/Israeli peace initiatives such as Breaking The Impasse (a World Economic Forum Initiative), and efforts to support the Palestinian economy to reduce unemployment and improve standards of living.  Through his network of associates, international business leaders, the IMF and World Bank, think tanks and government connections, Rafiq is working to support and advocate for political efforts to revitalize the Palestinian economy and to rebuild Gaza. Rafiq is the chairman of the newly founded PALECO (Palestinian Economic Development Foundation) which is focused on promoting the Palestinian private sector via international trade, finance, investment and the creation of a vibrant business environment. Additionally, Rafiq is on the board of a number of organizations and is currently leading a major online project to preserve historic Palestinian manuscripts, art and photography.  In his leisure time Rafiq enjoys playing guitar, hiking and sailing.

 

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Khaled Elgindy is a fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is a founding board member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association. He previously served as an advisor to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on permanent status negotiations with Israel from 2004 to 2009, and was a key participant in the Annapolis negotiations held throughout 2008.

Prior to that, Elgindy spent nine years in various political and policy-related positions in Washington, D.C., both inside and outside the federal government, including as a professional staff member on the House International Relations Committee in 2002 and as a policy analyst for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 2000 to 2002. He served as the political action coordinator for the Arab American Institute from 1998 to 2000 and as Middle East program officer for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs from 1995 to 1997.

Elgindy holds a master’s in Arab studies from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s in political science from Indiana University.

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Dr. Najat Arafat Khelil, Ph.D. is the former National president of the Palestinian American Congress, former president of the Arab Women’s Council Research and Education Fund and co-coordinator of the Dialogue Project between American Jewish and Palestinian Women.

Born in Nablus, Palestine, Dr. Khelil was very much involved in most of the Arab American and Palestinian American Organizations. She was founding member of the Union of Palestinian American Women and served as its first presi­dent, was one of the founding members of the Palestinian American Congress and served as its National president, as well as the Arab Women’s Council. She served on the National Board of Directors of the United Holy Land Fund, was vice president of the Muslim Women Association of Washington, DC, president of ROOTS the Palestine Youth Organization, and member of the Executive Committee of AAI National Policy Council.

Dr. Khelil was also involved in many NGOs that work for peace in the Middle East, she served on the Board of Directors of Partners for Peace, member of the Board of Directors of U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East, member if the executive committee of the U.N. North American Coordinating committee for the Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine.

Dr. Khelil has participated as a speaker in many national and international conferences: she was a member of the Palestinian delegation to the first dialogue conference be­tween Palestinian and Israeli leaders “The Road to Peace”: Co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians, at Columbia University; “Give Peace a Chance”: Women Speak Out, the Jerusalem Link Conference; “Sharing Jerusalem: Two Capitals for Two States,” also was a member of the U.S. Presidential delegation to the Taba I Peace agreement sign­ing in Cairo.

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Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province.  He is currently ministering at St. Camillus church in Silver Spring, MD.  Fr. Jacek has led a numerous HCEF Living Stones pilgrimages to the Holy Land and is a tireless advocate for justice, peace and reconciliation in Palestine.  

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Frank Carroll, was born in Baltimore on December 31, 1939. He grew up in Annapolis during the period of his childhood when he was living in this country. His father was in the Foreign Service so Frank and his family traveled and lived all over the world (Europe, Southeast Asia, North Africa, and Latin America). He spent his undergraduate years at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, and attended American University (D.C.) while working on his Master’s Degree in Latin American History. In 1965 Frank started his Professional career at the Library of Congress as the Library’s Research Specialist in the field of Print Media. In 1966 Frank and Judy Glaser were married in her home parish in Wheeling. They have two grown children: Suzanne and Jeffrey.

Frank retired from the Library in 1996 after 31 years of service. He worked as an information specialist at Barnes and Noble Bookstore for five years. By 2004 he became very much involved in volunteer work at his Parish, Shrine of St. Jude, Rockville, MD, where he is a lector, usher, and very active member of the Knights of Columbus, St. Joseph Manyanet Council 5567. Over the years he has volunteered for numerous programs directed not only by the Church but also for the Sodality, the Holy Name Society, and the St. Jude Parish School. One of his greatest concerns in life centers around the serious problem of the hunger of our elders who are homebound and unable to provide nutritional meals for themselves. For this he volunteers at Meals on Wheels of Wheaton/Kensington many times a month where he works to feed up to 80 people a day-Frank has been doing this work for the last nine years. Under the sponsorship of the Knights, he has also worked at Shepherd’s Table in Silver Spring, an organization that performs a wonderful Outreach Program for the feeding and clothing of the homeless at our community. None of this really covers all the projects Frank works on at HCEF, both at the Bethesda Headquarters and at various Parishes throughout Montgomery County. Frank is 75 and lives in Rockville, MD.