His Excellency Bishop Knestout
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington
His Excellency Bishop Knestout
Bishop Barry C. Knestout was born and raised in Maryland. One of nine children, he lived with his family in Ankara, Turkey for four years as a child, then grew up in Bowie, Maryland, where he attended both Catholic and public schools. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Maryland in December 1984. He began his seminary studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1985 and was ordained a priest in June 1989.
After ordination, Bishop Knestout served as a parochial vicar at two parishes, St. Bartholomew in Bethesda (1989-1993) and St. Peter in Waldorf (1993-1994) before being named priest-secretary to Cardinal James A. Hickey in 1994. He continued in that role until the cardinal’s death in 2004, also serving as priest-secretary to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick in 2001 and from 2003 to 2004.
Named a Monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1999, Bishop Knestout was executive director of the Office of Youth Ministry/CYO from 2001-2003 and became pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring in 2004. In October 2006, he returned to the central administration of the archdiocese to serve as Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns. Less than two years later, in April 2007, he was named moderator of the curia and vicar for administration. In this role, as the “chief of staff” for the archdiocese’s central offices, he assists Archbishop, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, in managing and overseeing all administrative affairs.
He is a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. He serves on the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council, the Archdiocesan Finance Council and the College of Consultors. In addition, he has been a member of the Archdiocesan Building Commission since 1991 and the Archdiocesan Sacred Arts Commission since 1994. He is a member of the Administrative Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference and the Episcopal Moderator of the American Catholic Correctional Chaplains Association.
H.E. Metropolitan Joseph Al-Zehlaoui
Archbishop of Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
His Eminence The Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and all of North America, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on June 30, 1991 at St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus, after many years of serving as a deacon and priest. His Eminence was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1950. He completed his basic schooling at the St. John of Damascus and al-Assiyeh schools in Damascus and then at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery in Koura, Lebanon. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Lebanese University in Beirut and then earned his Master of Theology (M.Th.) with special studies in music and languages from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Tikhon Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania in May, 2010.
With the blessing of Patriarch Elias IV of blessed memory, Metropolitan Panteleimon (Rodopoulos) ordained him to be a deacon on December 4, 1976 in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Patriarch Ignatius IV, of blessed memory, ordained him a priest on December 10, 1980 in Damascus, Syria. The priest Joseph served as dean of St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus and as overseer of Holy Cross Church and other parishes in the suburbs of Damascus. He served as superintendent of the secondary school in Damascus from 1980 until 1983. He then went abroad to pastor the Antiochian Orthodox Church in London, England, from 1983 to 1986 and the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cyprus from 1986 until 1991, when he was elected to be a bishop.
Bishop Joseph was consecrated with the title, Bishop of Katana in Syria, and served as Patriarchal Assistant and Secretary of the Holy Synod of Antioch. In 1995, he was sent by Patriarch Ignatius to America. In the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, Bishop Joseph was assigned to the West Coast Chancery by Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory. Bishop Joseph was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, California by Metropolitan Philip as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West on September 12, 2004.
On December 11, 2011, at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Lebanon, Patriarch Ignatius IV elevated Bishop Joseph to the rank of Archbishop, in honor of his many years of service as a bishop both in our Archdiocese and in the Patriarchate of Antioch.
On July 3, 2014, Archbishop Joseph was elected to become the Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America by the Holy Synod of Antioch.
Metropolitan Joseph’s achievements in apostolic ministry over the course of almost 20 years of diakonia as Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles & the West, as well as the locum tenens of the Diocese of Eagle River & the Northwest, form a solid testimony to his spiritual, ethical, and personal leadership qualifications. Over this vast expanse of the western United States and Canada, including Alaska, Metropolitan Joseph has tirelessly and unrelentingly maintained a personal apostolic presence in the more than 60 parishes under his care. His Eminence has maintained a personal culture of contact, by direct phone, with all his clergy. Many of the clergy and laity testify that Sayidna always remembers and acts on any important issue placed before him. This unique combination of traits, sobriety and blameless familiarity form the bedrock for his personal effectiveness with all.
Based upon his solid spiritual, ascetical, intellectual, and cultural formation and education, His Eminence has effectively established solid and meaningful Annual Clergy Seminars, and deepened the spiritual and educational experience of both clergy and laity at the annual Parish Life Conferences. He has brought in many and diverse Orthodox authors, leaders, and teachers to enrich the clergy and the laity of his two western dioceses. This has served to promote a strong sense of clergy brotherhood, inter-parochial exchanges, and has become the envy of other Orthodox jurisdictions everywhere. Guest speakers and visitors constantly remark that Metropolitan Joseph’s clergy are outstanding in their consistent and active involvement in such events. His Eminence has labored intensely to deepen the spiritual life of his clergy, by encouraging frequent confession, personal prayer, continual education, and a heightened sense of the fullness of our Orthodox Christian tradition of interior and ascetical transfiguration in Christ.
His Eminence has demonstrated episcopal hospitality in his way of life and has led the way in cultivating an active pan-Orthodox community in the western United States and Canada. All of the canonical Orthodox hierarchs of the West relate to Metropolitan Joseph in a personal way as an episcopal concelebrant. This episcopal brotherhood has increasingly been reflected in the inter-parochial interaction of the priests and laity of all the parishes, across the western states and provinces.
Metropolitan Joseph has taken care in establishing a strong, clear, and straightforward liturgical guidance for all his parishes. He pioneered the use of the internet in publishing the entire text of all the Sunday and festal services of the Church throughout the year. His love for the divine services inspires him to improve the liturgical praxis of all the clergy, through constant interactions and special teachings. In addition, he constantly promotes the spiritual climate of the dioceses under his care with such things as “the thought of the day.” Sayidna Joseph is fluent in English, Arabic and Greek and is conversant in other European languages.
H.E. Archbishop Robert James Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis, MO, HCEF Advisory Board Member
H.E. His Excellency Archbishop Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis MO, HCEF Advisory Board Member
The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was ordained to the priesthood in 1970 for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He went on to receive a master’s degree in divinity from St. Paul Seminary in 1976 and a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of America in 1979. Ordained as an auxiliary bishop for his home archdiocese in 1984, he went on to serve as Bishop of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, (1994-2005) and the Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan (2005-2009). Archbishop Robert J. Carlson was installed as Archbishop of St. Louis on June 10, 2009. Archbishop Carlson’s passion for vocations, youth ministry and priestly formation have contributed to the growth and vitality of all the Dioceses he has served.
Archbishop Carlson serves on several committees including: Member, Canon Law Society of America; 2004-Present; Member, NCDVD Advisory Board (National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors); Co-Founder, The Messengers of Peace Religious Community, Colombia, South America, 2004; Member of Episcopal Advisory Board of the Institute on Religious Life, October 2009; Episcopal Board of Advisors for Cause of Beatification of Archbishop Sheen, October 2009; Member of Board of Governors, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation 2010; Member, Board, Apostleship of Prayer 2010; Member, Episcopal Advisory Board for Catholic Leadership Institute; Member, Episcopal Board of Governors for the Pontifical North American College. He previously served as chair of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations and as co-chair of the Mission Advisory Committee for the Institute for Priestly Formation.
Archbishop Carlson received the Interfaith Partnership Award in September, 2011. He was also honored with receiving the Joseph Cardinal Ritter Award in February, 2012, the Sister Mary Ann Eckhoff Leadership Award in April, 2012, the Service to the Community Award from the Ecumenical Leadership Council in May, 2012 and the Order of Saint Louis King Award in November, 2015.
H.E. Rula Ma’ayah
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, State of Palestine
Her Excellency Rula Ma'ayah, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Palestine
Mrs. Rula Ma’yah is the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of the Palestinian National Authority and a member of the Fatah Leadership Committee of the West Bank and in the High Council of Childhood and Motherhood. From 2008 to 2012, she was the General Director of the Ministry of Justice, a member of the Governance Strategy Group, and a member of the Justice Sector Working Group. In 2007, she was an instructor at ICP Bethlehem University and served as a Director in the Ministry of Youth and Sport from 1995 to 2005. She has also been a Bureau Member of the International Union of Socialist Youth and a member of the General Union of Palestine Students/International Relations Committee. She has a B.S. degree from Birzeit University and a Professional Diploma from the Catholic School of Milan. She speaks Arabic, English, and French.
James Joseph Zogby, Ph.D.
Founder and President of the Arab American Institute (AAI)
Dr. James Zogby, Co-Founder and President, Arab American Institute and Member, Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee
Dr. James J. Zogby co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and continues to serve as its president. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee and was appointed by President Obama to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2013. In addition to writing a weekly column published in 16 countries, Zogby is the creator and host of the award-winning call-in political television show “Viewpoint,” and is frequently featured on national and international media as an expert on Middle East affairs. In 2010, Zogby published the highly-acclaimed book, Arab Voices. His 2013 e-book, Looking at Iran: The Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab Public Opinion, is drawn from his extensive polling across the Middle East with Zogby Research Services.
Founder of Sakramento Peace Center, HCEF Representative Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina
6. Sabrina Čović Radojičić, Founder and Director, Sakramento Peace Center, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sabrina Čović Radojičić is the founder and director of Sakramento Peace Center publishing books and documentaries mostly on the topic of the sanctuary of Medjugorje.
Born in Croatia and raised in France and earned a diploma in tourism. She is fluent in Croatian, French, and English.
In 1989, Sabrina encountered Medjugorje and has been spreading the message of peace given by Our Lady by running a travel agency and bringing thousands of pilgrims to Medjugorje and other sanctuaries.
In 2007, Sabrina started the Maranatha Conversion Prayer movement for the healing of humanity with Mgr André Léonard, Archbishop of Brussels focused on organizing prayer events which included a prayer event to the Holy Land in 2013 which included 550 pilgrims from around the world.
She is attending the HCEF conference with the strong desire to commit herself to realizing a very important dream: linking Medjugorje with the Holy land, the place where it all started.
Sabrina spends her time between Paris, France and Medjugorje, Bosnia Herzegovina. She remains true to the same desire: to be at the service of the Lord. She is married to Vladan and together they raised two children, Katarina (22) and Matthew (18).
Dr. Stephen M. Colecchi
Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the USCCB
Dr. Stephen M. Colecchi, Director, Office of International Justice and Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Stephen Colecchi is the director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He works on various international issues and coordinates the office’s work with Catholic Relief Services, the Church, and other international bodies. Colecchi has previously served as special assistant to the bishop and diocesan director of Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, and the Campaign for Human Development in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. He has directed or chaired numerous charitable arms of the Catholic Church, received awards for his work in social justice, and is the author of many articles on faith, social justice, and political responsibility. Colecchi holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from St. Mary’s Seminary and University, a master’s in Religion from Yale University. and a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross.
Advisor on Tourism and Culture to Secretary General, UNWTO
Jin-Yung Woo, Adviser on Tourism and Culture to the Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of the United Nations
Mr. Jin-yung Woo was appointed UNWTO Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Tourism and Culture on December 2013. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Woo served as a government official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea (MCST), for more than 30 years in various areas related to culture and tourism, mostly in South Korea and the United States of America.
Mr. Woo has successively served as Consul of Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles; Director of Korean Cultural Service New York; Spokesman and Director-General of Cultural Policy Department at the MCST; Chief Executive of the National Library of Korea; and Director of the Korean Culture and Information Service.
Mr. Woo has studied in the UK, earning an M.A. in Art Policy and Management at the City University, and also obtained a doctor’s degree in Engineering in IT Policy and Management at Soong-sil University, Korea.
H.E. Maen Areikat
Chief of the PLO Delegation Washington, DC
His Excellency Maen Areikat, Chief Representative, General Delegation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the US
Ambassador Areikat currently serves as Chief Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to the United States since May 2009. Previously, Ambassador Areikat served 11 years at the Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD) of the PLO in Ramallah, most recently as its Deputy Head and Coordinator-General (2008-2009).
Ambassador Areikat first joined NAD in 1998, when it was headed by current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and served as its Director-General until March 2008. In addition to overseeing NAD’s day-to-day operations, he was responsible for overseeing the work of the Negotiations Support Unit, which provided legal, policy, communication, and technical support to Palestinian Negotiating Teams and to the Palestinian Leadership.
Prior to his service at NAD, Ambassador Areikat worked at the Orient House (1993-1998), the headquarters of the PLO in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Negotiating Team for the peace talks that commenced in Madrid in 1991. While at the Orient House, he served as spokesperson for the late Mr. Faisal Husseini, the former PLO Executive Committee member in charge of Jerusalem Affairs, and later as Desk Officer for the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa in the Orient House’s International Relations Department. As Chief Representative, Ambassador Areikat took part in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations at Beit Hanoun/Erez in Gaza and Taba in Egypt in 1996, in Jerusalem in 1997, and was an official member of the Palestinian delegation at the Wye River negotiations in 1998.
Ambassador Areikat earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Arizona State University in 1983 and his MBA in management from Western International University in 1987. He received his diplomatic training at the Ministry of External Affairs in Ottawa, Canada in 1993 and 1994, and completed a training course in good governance at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2001. Ambassador Areikat is joined in Washington, DC by his wife, Jumana, and three sons Rashid 18, Saif 16 and Amr 12.
Rev. Dr. David Renwick
Senior Pastor of the National Presbyterian Church, WA, DC
Rev. Dr. David Renwick, Senior Pastor, National Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC
Dr. David A. Renwick has been an ordained Presbyterian Minister for over 35 years, serving diverse congregations in Newfoundland, Canada; San Antonio, Texas; Lexington, KY; and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Dr. Renwick is a graduate of St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, where he studied Applied Mathematics. He received his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia.
David’s wife Currie is a Media Specialist in the DC Public Schools. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.
Dr. Khalil Jahshan
Executive Director of the Arab Center Washington DC, Inc.
Khalil Jahshan, Executive Director, Arab Center Washington DC, Inc.
Khalil Jahshan, born in Nazareth, is a Palestinian-American activist and media commentator. He serves currently as Executive Director of Arab Center Washington DC, a nonprofit think tank focusing on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. From 2004-2013, Jahshan was a Lecturer in International Studies and Languages at Pepperdine University and Executive Director of its Seaver College Washington DC Internship Program. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from Harding University in 1972.
Dr. Cynthia Finlayson
Associate Professor with the Department of Anthropology and Museum Studies at BYu
5. Dr. Cynthia Finlayson, Associate Professor of Anthropology/Archeology and Museum Studies, Brigham Young University and Bethlehem Museum Consultant
Cynthia Finlayson is an Associate Professor with the Department of Anthropology at Brigham Young University. She holds her degrees from the University of Iowa (Ph.D.) and George Washington University, and her research interests include the ancient Near East and Classical Mediterranean Basin, and Islamic archaeology. Dr. Finlayson has extensive archaeological excavation and cultural heritage site development experience in Syria and Jordan, is the current director of the Ad-Deir Monument and Plateau Project in Petra, Jordan, and is acting director of the Syro-American expeditions to both Palmyra and Apamea. At Apamea she directs the excavation and restoration of the Great Roman Theater of Apamea.
Saliba Sarsar, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science, Monmouth University
Saliba Sarsar, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Monmouth University, and Chair of HCEF’s Research and Publication Committee
Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University, is Chair of HCEF’s Research and Publication Committee. Born and raised in Jerusalem, he received his B.A. in political science and history interdisciplinary, summa cum laude, from Monmouth College in 1978, and his doctoral degree from Rutgers University in 1984 in political science, with specialization in Middle Eastern affairs.
Dr. Sarsar is the co-author of two books: Ideology, Values, and Technology in Political Life and World Politics: An Interdisciplinary Approach. He is editor of Education for Leadership and Social Responsibility and of Palestine and the Quest for Peace, and co-editor of Patriarch Michel Sabbah—Faithful Witness: On Reconciliation and Peace in the Holy Land; and Principles and Pragmatism—Key Documents from the American Task Force on Palestine. He guest edited a special issue of the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, focusing on Palestinian-Israeli relations. His articles and book reviews have been published in a variety of journals, including Peace and Conflict Studies, Holy Land Studies, Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice; Jerusalem Quarterly File; and International Journal of Leadership.
Dr. Sarsar has three books of poetry: Crosswinds; Seven Gates of Jerusalem, a bilingual English/Arabic edition; and Portraits: Poems of the Holy Land.
Dr. Sarsar’s commentaries have appeared in many media outlets, including The Star-Ledger; The Daily Beast; Huffington Post; USA Today; Philadelphia Inquirer; Newsweek; The Jordan Times; Daily Star; Miftah.org; Middle East Times; Middle East Eye; Common Ground News; Catholic News Agency; and al-Quds. He has been interviewed and/or quoted by NBC News, Voice of America; The New York Times; and Seattle Times.
Dr. Sarsar was featured in The New York Times, “His Mission: Finding Why People Fight—A Witness to Mideast Conflict Turns to Dialogue and Peace.” He is the recipient of the Award of Academic Excellence from the American Task Force on Palestine, the Global Visionary Award and the Stafford Presidential Award of Excellence from Monmouth University, the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice, and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation Award.
Sami B. Khoury
President, Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association, HLITOA
2. Sami B. Khoury, President, Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association, HLITOA
Sami is the co-founder and General Manager of Alternative Business Solutions (www.abs.ps), a Ramallah based Marketing & Communications Company. He has over 15 years’ experience in marketing, business development and Destination Management. From 2001-2003, he served as the Tourism Sector Manager for the USAID funded Market Access Program implemented by Development Alternatives Inc. He then served as the Events Director at the Palestine Trade Center (2004-2005).
Over the past decade, he has held various positions and advisory roles. Between 2007-2009, Sami was an active member on the Joint Tourism Committee (Negotiations Support Unit). He also served as personal advisor to former Minister of Tourism & Antiquities, Dr. Khouloud Daibes, for three years. In 2012, he acted as Palestine’s Technical Expert at the Arab League’s Strategic Tourism Committee. Currently Sami is the President of the Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association (HLITOA) and a Board Member at Bethlehem University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Studies.
His consultancy work extends over a decade and is focused on providing technical and strategic assistance to clients and stakeholders from across the value chain, including the Office of the President, the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities, UNESCO, European Commission, Office of the Quartet, USAID, and various private sector Associations and Chambers of Commerce.
A flagship project spearheaded by Sami was the founding of Palestine’s leading online tourism destination guide (www.visitpalestine.ps). The site was initially launched in 2010 and provides comprehensive content and images covering the entire destination. Eventually, the site was also launched in Arabic, Spanish and Italian.
Since 2012 Sami has also been working at the family travel agency Shepherds Tours & Travel. He has lead the company’s Sales and Marketing Department, opening new markets in South America, Europe and the USA.
Sami has a Master’s degree in Tourism and Pilgrimage Management from London Metropolitan University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from DePaul University in Chicago Illinois.
Imam Yahya Hendi
Muslim Chaplain, Georgetown University
Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim Chaplain, Georgetown University
Imam Yahya Hendi is the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, the first American University to hire a full-time Muslim chaplain.
Imam Hendi is a Public Policy Conflict Resolution Fellow of the Center for Dispute Resolution of the University of Maryland School of Law and the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office.
Imam Hendi is the founder and the President of Clergy Beyond Borders.
He also serves as a member of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America.
He has served as an adjunct faculty member for Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Science and Osher’s Lifelong Learning Institute of John Hopkins University, Fordham University and Hartford Seminary.
Mr. Hendi’s undergraduate and graduate education was in Islamic Studies and comparative religions with interest in inter-religious dialogue and relations.
A sought-after speaker, Imam Hendi has presented a multitude of interfaith and general lectures in the USA, Asia, Africa, Europe, central Asia, Eastern Europe, Australia and the Middle East over the past 14 years and he has been to more than 43 countries and 45 US states.
Imam Hendi often visits and lectures at churches and synagogues hoping to create a new positive relationship between the followers of the three Abrahamic religions.
Imam Hendi appeared on many national and international television and Radio shows as an expert on interfaith dialogue and on Islam and Muslims (i.e. CNN, ABC, Fox, Kuwait TV, Nile TV, Pakistan Channel-II, RAI, MSNBC and Al-jazeerah).
In May 2002, Imam Hendi was chosen by Hartford Seminary to receive its annual James Gettemy Significant Ministry Award for his work to promote peace building between people of different religions. In February 2009, the FBI honored Imam Hendi with the National leadership Award for fighting terrorism, drugs and violence in America.
In 2012, Imam Yahya Hendi was named as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims for his work as an interfaith dialogue activist and trainer.
Fr. Jacek Orzechowscki
OFM, Pastor of St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, MD
4. Fr. Jacek Orzechowscki, OFM, Associate Pastor, St. Camillus Parish, Silver Spring, MD
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.
Special Programs Coordinator, HCEF
Abigail Galván, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO and Special Programs Coordinator
Abigail Galván is Executive Assistant to the President and Special Programs Coordinator of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), a nonprofit, charitable, development organization committed to the continued presence, empowerment and well-being of Arab Christians in the Holy Land. She has been involved with the development of the Bethlehem Museum since her start at the foundation. Abigail was blessed to return to the Holy Land in 2015 to assist with the Museum’s inaugural opening and counts her participation in this project amongst her greatest professional achievements yet.
Abigail is a proud member of the Catholic Latino Leadership Initiative (CLLI) and serves on its Executive Committee. The CLLI is an initiative which seeks to cultivate catholic social teaching in Latino professional leaders presenting them with the tools necessary to give their talents to the Church wherever she may need those most. Abigail is also a parishioner at St. Thomas Apostle Catholic Church in Woodley Park and co-leads their young adult bible study, “STAY with the Word”.
Abigail obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She majored in International Politics and concentrated in International Law. A Texan at heart, Abigail Galván now lives in Washington, DC.
Fr. Michael McDonagh
Chancery Office, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Fr. Michael McDonagh, Chancery Office, 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. Presently incardinated in the Diocese of Jerusalem. Completed graduate studies in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America in 1978. Worked as a Judge in the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal. Served as Pastor of St. Michael’s Parish, Clearwater from 1983-87. Worked at EWTN, presented a weekly Bible program and co-hosted Mother Angelica Live for five years. Hearing the call of the Lord to live and work in Jerusalem, he moved there in 1999.
Fr. Rob Waller
Priest, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, OH
Fr. Robert Waller, Priest, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, OH
Father Robert Waller is a diocesan priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for 41 years and is pastor emeritus of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Milford, Ohio. He did all of his preparation for ordination at the Athenaeum of Ohio in Cincinnati, earning a B.A. in Philosophy and a M.A. in Sacred Theology. In 1995 he spent sabbatical time with the Chicago Catholic Theological Union’s program in the Holy Land, with its home base in Bethany in the West Bank of Palestine. Father Waller has visited the Holy Land seventeen times. His seventh trip to the Holy Land was to meet the families of five 8th graders from the Latin Patriarchate School in Beit Jala and to accompany them on their flight “home” to his parish for a five week visit. He has lead ten pilgrimages of his own parishioners and has been spiritual director for two pilgrimages of teachers and administrators of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in an opportunity called, “HOPE: Holy Land Outreach Promoting Education.” Father Waller received the 2007 Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation Award. He has a great affection for the Christians of the Holy Land, especially for the Palestinian Christians of Beit Jala.
Rev. Dr. Carl S. Hofmann
Pastor, Congregational Care, FPC, Boulder, CO
Rev. Dr. Carl Hofmann, Pastor of Congregational Care, First Presbyterian, Boulder, CO
The Rev. Dr. Carl Hofmann currently serves as Pastor for Congregational Care at the First Presbyterian Church of Boulder, Colorado, a congregation he’s worked with for over 14 years. Prior to this, Carl was Pastor/Head of Staff of the Park Boulevard Presbyterian Church of Oakland, California. Carl has led four pilgrimages to the Holy Land, two with HCEF. He’s married to Rupali and they have two boys, Jason (22) and Jordan (17).
Amb. David Mack, Rtd.
Scholar, the Middle East Institute
Ambassador David Mack, Rtd., Scholar, Middle East Institute
David Mack is a Scholar of The Middle East Institute, a Washington-based educational organization. From 1998 until 2008, Mack was Vice President and Acting President of MEI. As a private consultant from 1995 until 1998, Mack provided policy guidance to foreign governments and companies in regard to their dealings in the United States and advised US corporate clients on trade and investment opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa.
For over thirty years, David Mack served in various positions in the US Foreign Service. From 1990-1993, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. In that capacity, Mack directed the conduct of relations between the United States and 12 other governments, including Iran, Iraq, the states of the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant. He provided political support for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and promoted US business interests in the Middle East. From 1986-1989, Mack was the US Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, where he was in charge of all US government activities and over 150 civilian and military personnel. In addition, Mack held diplomatic assignments in Iraq, Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. He is an elder at The National Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Hovsep Karapetyan
Pastor, St. Mary Armenian Church
Rev. Hovsep Karapetyan, Pastor, St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, Washington, DC
Fr. Hovsep was born in Etchmiadzin, Armenia. After graduation from the local school in Etchmiadzin, at age of 17 he was admitted into the Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin in 1989. In 1991, after two years in the Etchmiadzin Seminary, he continued his studies at the Armenian Seminary in Jerusalem. There he was ordained as a deacon in 1992 by His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
After graduating from the Seminary at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1997, he returned to Armenia for a brief period of time before being admitted to St. Nersess and St. Vladimir Theological Seminaries in New York.
There he pursued his Master of Divinity degree while actively participating in many different types of community activities. These different service activities included various parish assignments, teaching Sunday School and summer camps.
Upon completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education from Beth Israel Hospital of New York City, Fr. Hovsep graduated from St. Nersess and St. Vladimir Seminaries in 2000. His thesis was a study on the work of the 13th century Armenian Church father Kirakos of Erzinka “On the Eight Thoughts of Evagrius”. It was published in the St. Nersess Theological Review.
After his graduation in 2000, he was appointed as deacon-in-charge of St. James Armenian Church in Richmond, VA. He was ordained into the holy priesthood of the Armenian Apostolic Church on February 22, 2004 by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. While in Richmond he also was instrumental in establishing a mission parish in the Tidewater area and served as the visiting pastor for the Armenian Church of Virginia’s Tidewater region.
In April of 2007 Fr. Hovsep was appointed as the pastor of St. Mary Armenian Church in Washington, DC where he presently serves.
Fadi Deeb, M.D.A.
Lecturer and Coordinator, Birzeit University
Fadi Deeb, D.M.A., Lecturer and Coordinator, Music Program, Birzeit University
Fadi Deeb is part of a promising new generation of Middle Eastern musicians whose enticing interpretations have captivated audiences worldwide. Deeb has appeared in concerts in the Middle East, Europe, Canada, China, and the United States. He delivered his American concerto debut with the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. His many scholarships and prizes include the Qattan Foundation Scholarship, the Jerusalem Academy Presidential Prize, Fulbright Grant, and the SPTF Scholarship for Outstanding Pianist at Stony Brook. Doctor Deeb graduated from Stony Brook University earning Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the guidance of Gilbert Kalish.
Stephen B. Corbin
D.D.S., M.P.H. Former Special Olympics Senior Vice President
Stephen B. Corbin, D.D.S., M.P.H., Former Special Olympics Senior Vice President of Community Impact and Support, Washington, DC.
Stephen B. Corbin is a licensed dentist and public health professional in Rockville, Maryland and has been a volunteer in numerous community and non-profit activities for many years, including HCEF. He is a 50+ year member of Living Faith Lutheran Church, having served several decades in leadership roles. He completed a career in the US Public Health Service, serving as Chief Dental Officer of the United States and Chief of Staff to the Surgeon General, and retiring as a Rear Admiral. Dr. Corbin then served as Senior Vice President of Constituent Services and Support at the headquarters offices of Special Olympics International in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for health, research, evaluation, families, schools and youth, athlete leadership, government relations, and policy initiatives.
He holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland in College Park and a dental degree from the University of Maryland in Baltimore. He additionally has a Masters Degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and is Board Certified in Dental Public Health.
He has lectured, performed research and published extensively on a wide variety of subjects around the world.
John L. Schlageter, Esq.
Executive Director, Bethlehem University Foundation
John L. Schlageter, Esq. Executive Director, Bethlehem University Foundation
John L. Schlageter is Executive Director of the Bethlehem University Foundation. Mr. Schlageter sat as a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation prior to assuming the position.
Mr. Schlageter served from 2007-2016 as the General Counsel of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, defending the Free Exercise Rights of our men and women in uniform. He is a native of Hollywood, Florida, and is a double graduate of the Catholic University of America, having received his Bachelor of Arts in History and his Juris Doctor from the CUA Columbus School of Law. John is a member of the Bar Associations of the State of Florida and the District of Columbia. He is a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and is the current President of the Archdiocese of Washington Section of the Equestrian Order.
John continues to serve as outside counsel to the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn.