Hanan Ashrawi

Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi, M.A., Ph.D.,  is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), making history as the first woman to hold a seat in the highest executive body in Palestine. She is also an elected member of thePalestinian Legislative Council, Palestinian National Council and Palestinian Central Council. Dr. Ashrawi has been actively engaged in the planning and implementation of programs and systems of reform, accountability, and the rule of law.  From 1996-1998 she served as theMinister of Higher Education and Research. Dr. Ashrawi was also a member of the Political and Diplomatic Committees during the Intifada and the negotiations. In 1991, she was named Official Spokesperson of thePalestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Process and a member of the Leadership committee. Dr. Ashrawi is the Founder and Head of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy- MIFTAH, Founder and board member of the National Coalition for Accountability and Integrity – AMAN, Dr. Ashrawi is also founder and Commissioner of theIndependent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and served as its first Commissioner General. As head of the PLC’s Special Committee on Reform and Coordinator of the Steering Committee of the National Reform Committee.

Dr. Ashrawi holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the American University of Beirut and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. From 1973-95, Dr. Ashrawi was a faculty member of Birzeit University, held the positions of Dean, Faculty of Arts; Founder and Chairperson, Department of English; and Founder and Head of Birzeit University Legal Aid Committee/ Human Rights Documentation Project.

Throughout, Dr. Ashrawi has been an ardent advocate of human rights and gender issues and has made major contributions to peace making and nation building. She is the recipient of numerous international peace, human rights and democracy awards, such as the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation, the Olof Palme Award, Sydney Peace Prize, the Defender of Democracy Award, the Jane Addams International Women’s Leadership Award, Distinguished Alumna Award of the University of Virginia Women’s Center, and Distinguished Lifetime Achievements AUB Alumni.

She is also the author of many books, articles, poems and short stories on Palestinian politics, culture and literature. Her book This Side of Peace published by Simon & Schuster in 1995, gained world recognition. She has been highly acclaimed for her work both in education and world affairs.

Dr. Ashrawi serves on the Advisory Board of several international and local organizations including the World Bank Middle East and North Africa (MENA), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the International Human Rights Council.  She has also received several Honorary Doctorate Degrees from universities in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Arab World, such as The American University of Beirut (AUB), The American University in Cairo (AUC), Saint Mary’s University in Canada, and Smith College in the United States.

Dr. Hanan Mikhail-Ashrawi is married to Emile Ashrawi and has two daughters, Amal and Zeina.



General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

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Israel Provoked This War

There seems to be near-universal agreement in the United States with President Barack Obama’s observation that Israel, like every other country, has the right and obligation to defend its citizens from threats directed at them from beyond its borders.

But this anodyne statement does not begin to address the political and moral issues raised by Israel’s bombings and land invasion of Gaza: who violated the cease-fire agreement that was in place since November 2012 and whether Israel’s civilian population could have been protected by nonviolent means that would not have placed Gaza’s civilian population at risk. As of this writing, the number killed by the Israel Defense Forces has surpassed 600, the overwhelming majority of whom are noncombatants.

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