“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Speakers’ Biographies

Jeff Abood

serves as the current director of the Holy Land Christian Support Network (HCSN) of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. (HCEF). He also chairs the HCEF International Speakers’ Bureau. and co-chairs the Council on Global Solidarity of the Diocese of Cleveland. He is the Ohio Regional coordinator for Sabeel, an ecumenical theology center based in Jerusalem. Mr. Jeff Abood is the past president and advisory board member for the Interfaith Council for Peace in the Middle East based in Ohio.

Ziad J. Asali, MD

President, American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP)
Areas of Expertise
Peace Process

Dr. Asali was born in Jesrusalem, where he completed his elementary and secondary education. He received an M.D. from the American University of Beirut (AUB) Medical School in 1967. Dr. Asali was the Medical Director and Chairman of the Board at the Christian County Medical Clinic in Taylorville , IL , and served as chairman of the Board of Physicians Health Association of IL before he retired in 2000. Dr. Asali is also a long-time activist on Middle East Issues. He was the Chairman of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Association from 2001-03.

Articles in Middle East Policy
The Geneva Proposals for Peace: Still Viable?
Volume XI, Summer 2004, Number 2

EXCERPT: Arab-American Perceptions of U.S. Policy
Volume IX, Summer 2002, Number 2

Anna Baltzer

Anna Baltzer is a 28 -year-old Jewish American Columbia graduate, Fulbright scholar, author, and the granddaughter of Holocaust refugees. As a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service, Baltzer documents human rights abuses in the West Bank and supports Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to the Occupation. When not in Palestine, Baltzer spends most of her time on tour with her acclaimed presentation, “Life in Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness Stories & Photos,” and her popular full-color book, Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories. Baltzer has reached tens of thousands in more than 400 lectures and interviews on Palestine.

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.

Ambassador Warren Clark

Warren Clark became Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) in January, 2008.

Ambassador Clark was a career U.S. Foreign Service officer in the Department of State, serving in the Middle East, Europe, Canada , Africa , and at the United Nations. He was Charge d’affaires in Lagos, Nigeria; the U.S. Ambassador in Libreville, Gabon; and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa in Washington.

He worked on Middle East oil price negotiations, was Desk Officer for Libya , and represented the U.S. on the UN Security Council for Middle East and African issues. He led a study group on the Middle East at the Institute of Politics of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University .

He also worked on macroeconomic issues and finance as the U.S. Treasury Department Representative in Ottawa, coordinated economic forecasting for the U.S. at the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), and represented the U.S. on the UN Economic and Social Council. He helped create a Peace Corps program in Sao Tome and Principle. He ran a program to help governments in Central and Eastern Europe with privatization and liberalization.

In 2005 he earned a masters degree in theological studies from Virginia Theological Seminary. He worked on international programs at the Washington National Cathedral and Chaired the Commission on Peace for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington . He also has served as a chaplain at Sibley Hospital .

He holds a B.A. from Williams College and graduate degrees from Harvard, Georgetown , and John Hopkins Universities . He has received awards from the US State Department, the US Navy, Budapest Technical University , and the Gabonese Republic .

The Ambassador speaks French and eastern Arabic

Stephen Colecchi, Ph.D.

is the Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He coordinates USCCB policy on international issues, represents the Conference on international issues, and manages a staff of international policy advisors. Earlier he served as the special assistant to the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, where he was director of the Office of Justice and Peace, the diocesan director of Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Nationally, he is a member of the board of the Save Darfur Coalition, chaired the board of The Roundtable Association of Social Action Directors and served on the USCCB committees on Domestic Policy and International Policy. He chaired the boards of Refugee and Immigration Services of the diocese of Richmond, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, Social Services of the City of Richmond, the Ministerial Association of Parish Professionals, and Virginia Social Service Advocates.

Dr. Colecchi is the recipient of the Bene Merenti Medal bestowed by Pope John Paul II, the Order of Abraham recognition from the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Virginia League of Social Services Executives President’s Award for contributions to the advancement of social services, the Religious Educators’ Federation Recognition as the Religious Educator of the Year, and special recognitions from diocesan Hispanic leaders and Virginia’s Legal Aid Directors for legislative advocacy.

He is the author of numerous articles on Catholic social teaching and public policy that appeared in Parish, Church, The Catholic Virginian, the op-ed pages of Virginia newspapers and publications of the USCCB. He is the author of a Leader’s Guide to Sharing Catholic Social Teaching and In the Footsteps of Jesus: Parish Resource Manual receiving the 2005 First Prize Book Award from the Catholic Press Association.

Dr. Colecchi holds a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Holy Cross College (1973), an M.A. in Religion from the Yale University Divinity School (1975), and a Doctor of Ministry from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore (1983).

William Corcoran

Bill Corcoran has been the President and CEO of ANERA since January 2007.
He had been a Vice President of the Christian Children’s Fund, serving children and their families in 32 countries.
During the 1990s, Bill directed the Pontifical Mission for Palestine based in Jordan with projects there and in Iraq . He has also worked on various projects in Lebanon and Syria.

Bill began his career in the for-profit world, with procurement & marketing management posts in major US corporations.
He is a BA graduate of George Washington University , with a Masters in Law from the University of Ottawa . Bill also earned a certificate in Islamic Studies from the University of Birmingham, UK .

Philip Davies

has had a long association with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Middle East. Since 1997, he has been Vice President at ANERA where he oversees the medical in-kind program and provides technical assistance and support for economic development projects, including micro-credit, information technology, local capacity building, and program planning and evaluation. As part of his work with ANERA, he travels to the Middle East twice a year. During the course of his career in community development and humanitarian assistance, Mr. Davies has performed short-term assignments with NGOs in a dozen countries in Africa, Asia and the Former Soviet Union. He served as Feed the Children’s Director in Washington from 1993-1996. He was Field Office Director in the West Bank and Gaza for Save the Children (1981-87). Mr. Davies helped establish Save the Children’s programs in Egypt (1980) and Jordan (1984) and worked as a Program Advisor with Save the Children’s field offices in Lebanon (1980) and Tunisia (1980).

Mr. Davis attended the American Community School in Beirut and the American University of Beirut as a Junior Year Abroad student. He has a B.A. in Sociology from Muskingum College (1971) and an M.A. in Anthropology and Near East Studies from the University of Michigan (1974). Mr. Davies taught Sociology and Anthropology at Birzeit University (1974-77). In addition to the West Bank and Gaza, Mr. Davies has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan. Currently, he teaches courses on the Middle East as part of Howard County Community College’s Program of Continuing Education. In addition to English Mr. Davis is proficient in both French and Arabic.

George Ghattas

born in Jerusalem is the HCEF Country Representative for Palestine. He is also currently the Director of the Program Development Department of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem. Previously he has worked for World Vision in Jerusalem as its Operations Manager. He was Program Manager as well as for the Sabreen Association for Artistic Development. Mr. Ghattas has a B.A. in Business Administration from Bethlehem University and a post-graduate diploma in Economic Development from Holy Ghost College in Dublin, Ireland.

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein

is the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the U.S. He served as Jordan ’s Permanent Representative to the UN from 2000 to 2007. Prior to that he served as its Deputy Permanent Representative with the rank of Ambassador. Prince Zeid is an expert in the field of international justice. In this capacity he has played a central role in the establishment of the International Criminal Court. He chaired the complex, pioneering negotiations on the ‘elements’ of the individual offenses falling under the rubric of: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes. These legal definitions are now adopted by courts world-wide. In September 2002, Prince Zeid was elected as the first President of the Governing Body of the International Criminal Court. At that time the Court was only a plan on paper, with no officials or even an address to its name. During the three years of his presidency, the Court has grown to be a highly acclaimed international institution serving the cause of justice.

His expertise in legal issues has been widely recognized. He has chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on the Scope of Legal Protection under the Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel and chaired the Panel of Experts for the UN Secretary-General’s Trust Fund to Assist States in the Settlement of Disputes through the International Court of Justice, dealing with the boundary dispute between Benin and Niger.
In 2004, he was appointed as Jordan ’s representative and head of its delegation before the International Court of Justice, dealing with the wall being built by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories . From 1994 to 1996, Prince Zeid served as a political affairs officer in UNPROFOR in the former Yugoslavia , working on peacekeeping issues. In the summer of 2004, he was appointed as Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, producing a report on this subject. The report was widely praised and endorsed in full in 2005 by the 191 heads of states and governments. For the last three years, Prince Zeid has chaired the Consultative Committee for the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and spearheading efforts to establish greater strategic direction for the Fund.

Prince Zeid holds a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University (Christ’s College). Commissioned as an officer in the Jordanian Desert Police (successor to the Arab Legion) in 1989, he saw military service until 1994.
His publications include: A Nightmare Avoided: Jordan and Suez 1956 that appeared in Israel Affairs (Winter 1994), and Religious Militancy in the Arab Middle East: Threats and Responses 1979-1988 in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (Spring 1989).
Prince Zeid is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation. He is married to Princess Sarah Zeid. They have a son and a daughter.

Bassam Kort

is a Palestinian, living in Jerusalem. He is currently the Deputy Director for Education & Youth Programs at U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) American Consulate General for the Mission to the West Bank and Gaza. In this capacity he is responsible for a portfolio of projects exceeding $ 50 million. They include programs for infrastructure rehabilitation, employment generation, social sectors development and humanitarian and emergency assistance. He is involved in strategic planning for the rapidly changing work environment in the West Bank and Gaza. His prior professional experience embraces 20 years of senior management positions in the private, public and NGO sectors. He was the Program Manager for Catholic Relief Services in charge of field operations for a multi-million dollar rural development program in over 70 villages in the West Bank.

Mr. Kort is personally deeply committed in helping the healthy development of Christian communities in the Holy Land. In pursuit of this, he has worked as a trainer and researcher devising new methods for effective leadership development in education and change management in these communities, sharing his ideas with international church groups and politicians visiting Palestine.

Mr. Kort holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and a B.A. from Bethlehem University. He is married to Sawsan Salfiti and has two children.

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick

is Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. Born in New York, he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francis Spellman in 1958. He earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he served as Dean of Students, director of development and later as chancellor In 1965, he was named President of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. In 1969, he returned to New York to serve first as Associate Secretary for Education and then as Cardinal Terence Cooke’s secretary. Named an auxiliary bishop of New York in 1977. In 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed him the first bishop of Metuchen, a newly established diocese in New Jersey. In 1986 he was named archbishop of Newark. In January 2001, he was installed as archbishop of Washington, a position he held until his retirement in May 2006. In February 2001, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal McCarrick is past chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committees on Domestic Policy, International Policy, Migration, and Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. He has also served on the Administrative, Doctrine, Laity, Latin America, and Missions Committees. He has been chancellor of the Catholic University of America. He serves on the board of Catholic Relief Services. He serves on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He was one of 15 U.S. bishops elected to serve as a member of the 1997 Synod for America and of the Post-Synodal Council. He is a founding member of the Papal Foundation and has served as its president since 1997. In April 2005, Cardinal McCarrick participated in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI as the successor to Pope John Paul II.

Cardinal McCarrick has visited many nations as a human rights advocate. In 1996, he was invited to serve on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. In 1998, he was one of three American clerics invited to China to discuss religious freedoms in that country. From 1999 to 2001, he was a member of the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. In 2000, the presidents of Lebanon and the United States honored him for his work on human rights. Cardinal McCarrick speaks five languages: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Rev. Stan Moody, Ph.D., 

Is the founder of the Christian Policy Institute and The Hope Partnership (www.thehopepartnership.org). He has served in the Maine House of Representatives. He is an Advisory Board member of Jews-On-First and the Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism. Dr. Moody is the author of several widely acclaimed provocative books including, Crisis in Evangelical Scholarship and McChurched: 300 Million Served and Still Hungry.” He is the pastor of a rural country church in Central Maine. Dr. Moody has enjoyed a long and productive career in small business development and management.

Ori Nir

Ori Nir joined Americans for Peace Now in 2006, following a 24-year career in journalism, which was mainly focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Nir covered Palestinian affairs for Ha’aretz Daily, Israel’s leading newspaper (1986-1990; 1994-1996) during the first years of the Palestinian uprising (intifada) and through the troubled implementation of the first phases of the Oslo Accords. Later, he covered Israel’s Arab minority for Ha’aretz, (2000 to July 2002).

In addition to his reporting on the ground, Nir covered the diplomatic efforts to advance Arab-Israeli peace. As the Washington correspondent of Ha’aretz (1990-1994) and of the Forward, America’s largest and most influential independent national Jewish weekly newspaper, he focused on America’s Mideast policy.

Nir was also Ha’aretz’s West Coast Correspondent (1996-2000) reporting from San Francisco.

Between 1982 and 1986 Nir worked at the Arab Affairs desk of Israel Television’s (Channel One) news department.

He earned a Master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also taught journalism (1997-2000). His Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern history and Arabic literature is from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. He is fluent in Hebrew and Arabic.

Nir made numerous appearances on national television news shows such as PBS’s Newshour and ABC’s Nightline, and was interviewed by CNN, ABC NBC and a variety of non-American TV shows. He is a frequent radio interviewee and frequently publishes opinion articles and analyses in major American newspapers. His articles appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday, the Baltimore Sun and many others.

Sir Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS

Is co-founder and President 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 Treasure 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.

Saliba Sarsar, Ph.D.

is the Associate Vice President for Academic Program Initiatives and the Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University , NJ . He was born and raised in Jerusalem . His early education was at the Christian Brothers’ Academy and St. Joseph ’s College in the Old City of Jerusalem. His college education was in the U.S. He earned a B.A. in Political Science and Interdisciplinary History, summa cum laude, from Monmouth College in 1978. He earned a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in Political Science, specializing in International Relations and Middle Eastern Affairs in 1984.
Dr. Sarsar is the co-author and co-editor of books on political life, world politics, leadership, and Palestinian affairs. He is currently co-editing with Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J., an anthology titled, H. B. Patriarch Michel Sabbah: Leading with Faith, Witnessing for Peace with Justice. Among his published articles are “Palestinian Christians: Religion, Conflict and the Struggle for Just Peace” in Holy Land Studies and “Palestinian Christians—In Their Own Words” in Sightings, published by the Martin Marty Center of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including 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. This latter award recognizes his role in co-founding Project Understanding in New Jersey . This organization has brought Arab Americans and Jewish Americans together to stimulate dialogue and peaceful coexistence initiatives. In April 2003, Dr. Sarsar was featured in an article in the The New York Times, “His Mission: Finding Why People Fight: A Witness to Middle East Conflict Turns to Dialogue and Peace.” Dr. Sarsar serves on the Board of Directors of the Two River Film Festival, the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), and the Jacob Landau Institute. He is advisor to the Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought and Palestine-Family.net.

His Beatitude Michel Sabbah

is Patriarch Emeritus of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Earlier until his retirement, he served as its patriarch since 1987. As the Latin Patriarch, he was the bishop of all Middle Eastern Catholics who adhere to the Latin Catholic rite. Currently, he is the Chairman of the HCEF Advisory Board.

H.B. Sabbah born in Nazareth, studied at the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala. He was ordained in Nazareth in 1955. He received his doctorate in Arab philology from the Sorbonne in Paris. During his priestly career, he served the Catholic faith community in the Middle East in a wide variety of ministries including as a pastor, a diocesan youth director and a director of education. Later he was nominated to lead Bethlehem University as its president.

H.B. Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah Biography
March 1, 1933 Born in Nazareth, son of As’ad Sabbah & Ghandourah Abu Nassar Elementary studies at the “Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes” in Nazareth.
October 2, 1943 Enters the minor Latin Patriarchal Seminary in Beit Jala.
October 1, 1948 Enters the Major Seminary for Philosophy and Theology.
June 28, 1955 Ordained priest by the Patriarch Alberto Gori in the Salesian Church in Nazareth.
August 12, 1955 Appointed Assistant Parish Priest in Madaba/Jordan Teacher of Arabic Language in the Seminary and Patriarchal Master of ceremonies. Follows courses in the Jesuit University in Beirut for arabic language 1965 Diocesan Chaplain for the JEC 1965 Resides in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and is appointed General Director of the Patriarchal Schools.
1968-1970 Goes on religious vice to Djibouti.
June 1, 1970 Starts in Beirut his thesis in Philology of Arabic Language.
August 14, 1971 Appointed Parish Priest in Amman (Misdar, Christ the King Church) Presents at Sorbonne University his Thesis for PH.D. in Philology of the arabic language.
March 24, 1975 Principal of the National Secondary College in Amman. 1980 President of Bethlehem University until 1988.
January 1, 1985 Appointed Canon of the Holy Sepulcher (Patriarchal Council).
December 11, 1987 Nomination to in Patriarch of Jerusalem.
December 28, 1987 Publication of his nomination by Vatican Radio.
6.1.1988 President of the Catholic family in the Middle East Council of Churches.

Raed Saadeh

Jerusalem Hotel, Jerusalem . Mr. Saadeh is the Owner and General Manager of the Jerusalem Hotel, a boutique hotel for which he introduced the concept and did the design. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer (BSc Summa Cum Laude from Syracuse University, N.Y. and MSc. at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland), he is founder and board member of the Palestinian Art Court, board member of the Mamal foundation of contemporary art, board member of Sunbula organization for fair trade and product development, founder and Chairman of the Rozana Association for architectural heritage preservation and founder and ex President of Yabous Productions of performing arts, the organizers of the Jerusalem Festival. He co-produced the documentary film “Another Road Home”, directed by Danae Elon.

Rev. Robert O. Smith

serves as Continental Desk Director for Europe and the Middle East in the Global Mission Unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America . He is presently a doctoral candidate in Religion, Politics, and Society through the Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University ( Waco , Tex. ). With Charles Lutz, he is author of Christians and a Land Called Holy: How We Can Foster Justice, Peace, and Hope (Fortress, 2005).

Fr. Emil Salayta

Father Emil Salayta has been a devoted priest and educator for ten years during which time he has worked to facilitate an understanding of the Middle Eastern Christian community among Christians outside the Holy Lands.
He is currently the General Director of the Latin Patriarchate School, which serves the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan, a responsibility he has held since 1994. In addition, Father Salayta is the pastor of the Immaculate Conception Parish in the village of Birzeit, a member and general secretary of the Priests Council for the whole Diocese of Jerusalem.

Prior, to his appointment at the Latin Patriarchate School, Father Salayta was pastor of the St. Joseph Parish in the predominantly Christian village of Jifna, just north of Ramallah and adjacent to Birzeit. During this time Father Salayta regularly received pilgrim groups from abroad in an effort to facilitate contact among Christians within and outside of the region. He was also director of the primary grades parish school, which serves Christian and Moslem Palestinian youth, as well as director of the secondary school, Holy Family College, in Ramallah, a central school for Palestinians in the northern West Bank area.

Father Salayta has also worked as a teacher at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary in Beit Jala and at the parish Church of Christ the King in Amman, Jordan.
Father Salayta received his high school and college education and his training for the ministry at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary in Beit Jala. He was ordained a priest in his native town of Madaba, Jordan in 1989.

Reverend Russell O. Siler

is the Pastor of the English-speaking congregation of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem . Since 2003 he has also served as the Assistant to the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land . He followed his calling for advocacy becoming the Director of the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) in Washington , D.C. Earlier he served as pastor of four parishes in the Virginia Synod being a strong advocate for social justice.

He took off a few years from his pastoral duties to pursue a law degree, receiving the Doctor Juris from the Antioch School of Law in Washington , D.C. in 1986. this was followed by dual internships at the Virginia Interfaith Center for public Policy and Virginia Poverty Law Center . From 1987 to 1992 he was in general practice of law that included serving as the court-appointed attorney of the Juvenile and domestic Court in Virginia Beach , VA.

Fr. Majdi Al-Siryani

Personal Information: Current Address:
Rev. Majdi Siryani P.O.Box 14152
General Director of Legal Dept. Jerusalem 97500
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Since his ordination as a parish priest in 1985 in Madaba, Jordan, Doctor Father Majdi Siryani has continuously served his God, his church and his people through his work as a parish priest, his study of international law and through his work with Christian youth in the Middle East. Doctor Father Siryani is currently the General Manager of the legal department of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, as well as the legal advisor for His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah. In addition, he has served the Holy See as a member of its delegation for negotiations with the PLO since 1998. Prior to his current assignment in Jerusalem, Doctor Father Siryani studied Civil and Canon Law at the Ponticia Universitas Lateranensis in Rome for seven years, and also served parishes of the Catholic Arab American Community. He completed his dissertation, “Legal Status of Jerusalem under International Law” in 1998 and was awarded a Ph.D. in Law (Utroque: Canon and Civil Laws, specialized in Public International Law). Doctor Father Siryani shares his knowledge and understanding of international law and the legal status of Jerusalem at conferences and presentations to bring awareness of the Christian presence in Jerusalem. In late October 1998, he organized an important symposium on Jerusalem for the Latin Patriarchate.

Doctor Father Siryani also has thirteen years of experience working with youth ministry programs and educational programs. From 1988 to 1992, he was General Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools. During this same period, from 1985 to 1990, he also served as the Assistant Parish Priest and Director of Youth Ministry in Birzeit. During the time he was engaged in theological studies prior to his ordination, Doctor Father Siryani worked with the Christian Youth Ministry in the Bethlehem Region.Doctor Father Siryani is a graduate of the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala and received his second B.A. in Philosophy.

Rev. Donald E. Wagner, Ph.D. 

Since 1990, Reverend Wagner has been director of Mercy Corps International’s Middle East Program; Director of the Center for Middle East Understanding at North Park University; and Director of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU). He also serves on the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s Advisory Board.Reverend Wagner has served pastorates in three Presbyterian churches. In 1987 to 1988 he lived in the Middle East with his family and worked for the Middle East Council of Churches as a liaison with Western Evangelicals. For ten years he was National Director of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign.

Reverend Wagner has led over twenty tours to the Middle East and has organized over fifteen national conferences.Reverend Wagner is author of Anxious for Armageddon (Herald Press, 1995); co-author of Peace or Armageddon: The Unfolding Drama of the Middle East Peace Accords (Zondervan, 1993); co-editor of All in the Name of the Bible (Amana Press, 1986); and author of several political and Christian articles on the Middle East.

Philip C. Wilcox, Jr. (Ret.)

Philip C. Wilcox, Jr. is President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, a Washington D.C.-based foundation devoted to fostering peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Wilcox retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in September 1997 after 31 years of service.

Born in Denver, Colorado on February 1, 1937, Wilcox attended public schools, graduated from Williams College with a BA in History in 1958, and obtained an LL.B. from the Stanford Law School in 1961.

After law school, Wilcox taught school in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and practiced law for three years in Denver with the firm of Holme, Roberts & Owen.

Wilcox entered the Foreign Service in 1966 and has served abroad at U.S. Embassies as Press Attache in Vientiane, Laos, Political and Economic/Commercial Officer in Jakarta, Indonesia, and as Chief of the Economic/Commercial Section in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His last overseas assignment was as Chief of Mission and U.S. Consul General, Jerusalem.

In the Department of State, Wilcox has served as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary for Management, Deputy Director for UN Political Affairs in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and in the Bureau for Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs as Director for Regional Affairs, Director for Israeli and Arab-Israeli Affairs and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs. He also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research and as Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Counter Terrorism.
After his retirement, Wilcox was appointed by the Secretary of State to serve as a member of an Accountability Review Board, chaired by Admiral William Crowe (ret.) to examine and make recommendations concerning the terrorist bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya on August 7, 1998.

Wilcox speaks French and Indonesian. He is a graduate of the National War College, and has been awarded the Department of State’s Meritorious, Superior, and Presidential Honor Awards. He is a board member of the Middle East Institute and Americans for Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) and a member of The Washington Institute for Foreign Affairs and Dacor-Bacon House. He and his wife Cynda live in Bethesda, Maryland.

William Yontz

Mr. Yontz is Chair of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. He recently retired as the Vice President of Real Estate for Capital One. His career in managing corporate real estate has allowed him to live in Illinois , New York , New Jersey , and Virginia . He has traveled throughout the United States as well as parts of Canada , Europe, Asia, and the Middle East . He earned his B.S. in Marketing from the University of Illinois and his M.B.A. from St. John’s University . Along with his wife Carolyn, he serves as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at St. John the Beloved Parish, and is active in supporting Christendom College and various Pro-Life organizations. Also, with Carolyn, he is co-author of Living Under Fire: Christian Clergy and Congregations in the Holy Land .

2016-10-24T07:28:03+00:00 July 21st, 2008|Categories: Conference|