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Palestinian Speakers

No one can tell the story of Palestine better than a Palestinian. The speakers on this list, organized by region, are happy to address your congregation, sit on a panel, or speak at a conference. Contact office@fosna.org to get in touch with a speaker to inquire about fees and availability, or to submit suggestions for additions to the list. 

Northwest

Ramzy Baroud
Baroud is a journalist, media consultant, author, internationally syndicated columnist, editor of Palestine Chronicle, former managing editor of the London-based Middle East Eye, and former deputy managing editor of Al Jazeera online. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story. Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine studies from the University of Exeter.

Expertise: Resistance movements in Palestine, current political movements inside Israel and Palestine

Nada Elia
Elia’s parents are from Jerusalem; she was born in Iraq and grew up in Lebanon. She is a past president of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies and served on the national steering collective of INCITE! Women and Trans People of Color Against Violence. Elia is an energetic speaker on activism and grassroots organizing, a prolific writer, and a regular contributor to Mondoweiss and Middle East Eye.

Expertise: Academic boycott, Palestinian political history, feminist movements in Palestine
Location: Seattle

California

Rabab Abdulhadi
Abdulhadi is a senior scholar in Arab and Muslim ethnicities and diasporas studies, associate professor of ethnic studies/race and resistance studies, and affiliated graduate faculty in the Sexuality Studies Program at San Francisco State University. She has taught at Yale University, Hunter College, American University in Cairo, New York University, and Birzeit University.

Expertise: Feminism and Palestine, Islamophobia, academic boycott
Location: San Francisco

Laila Al-Marayati
Al-Marayati is an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine and is the director of women’s health at the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center in Los Angeles. She has also served as presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and as president of the Muslim Women’s League in LA.

Hatem Bazian
Bazian is a co-founder and a professor of Islamic law and theology at Zaytuna College, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the United States. He is also a lecturer in the Near Eastern and Asian American and Asian diaspora studies at UC Berkeley. He served as an adjunct professor at Boalt Hall School of Law and as a visiting professor in religious studies at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Nadya Tannous
Tannous is the education and advocacy coordinator at Interfaith Peace-Builders. She is a passionate community organizer with a focus on refugee rights, transitional justice, youth education, and inter-community empowerment movements. Tannous is the general coordinator of Palestinian Youth Movement – USA Branch and was previously on staff with Friends of Sabeel North America. She coordinated and was a speaker for the 2017 U.S. tour of No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine.

Location: Bay Area, California

Nader Elbanna
Elbanna is a Palestinian-born peace activist, San Diego businessman, and former soldier in the Special Forces of the Jordanian army. He, along with Miko Peled, an Israeli, raised $84,000 for 1,120 wheelchairs through the Wheelchair Foundation to send 1,120 wheelchairs to Israeli and Palestinian children.

Saree Makdisi
Makdisi, nephew of Edward Said, is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA and a well-known commentator on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Midwest

Ali Abunimah
Abunimah is a journalist and the co-founder and executive director of The Electronic Intifada, a nonprofit, independent online publication focusing on Palestine. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Chicago, he is a frequent speaker on the Middle East, contributing regularly to numerous publications. He is the author of One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.

Location: Chicago

Huwaida Arraf
Arraf is a lawyer and human rights advocate. In 2001, she co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance movement, which has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was one of the primary organizers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and was traveling with it when it was lethally attacked by Israeli forces on May 31, 2010. 

Nahida Halaby Gordon
Gordon is a professor emerita at Case Western Reserve University. A life-long Presbyterian, she is a church elder and serves on several Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) committees. She experienced, first hand, the 1948 Palestinian Nakba; her book, Palestine is Our Home: Voices of Loss, Courage, and Steadfastness. Gordon has published articles on Palestine in the Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, CounterPunch, and Unbound

Expertise: the Nakba, history of Palestine, liberation art
Location: Cleveland

Dima Khalidi
Khalidi is the founder and director of Palestine Legal. She provides legal advice to activists, engaging in advocacy to protect their rights to speak out for Palestinian freedom, and educating activists and the public about the suppression of the movement for Palestinian rights.

Expertise: Palestine Legal (DIR)
Location: Chicago

Iman Saca
Saca is the director of the Middle Eastern Studies program at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, where she is also an associate professor of anthropology and chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice. Saca is the co-founder of the Palestinian Heritage Center in Bethlehem.

Expertise: Palestinian women, archeology of Palestine
Location: Chicago

Sandra Tamari
Tamari is an organizer with the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and co-chair of the US Campaign Steering Committee. Since the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, she has focused on joint liberation among Palestinians, black Americans, and other communities of color. Tamari has a master’s in Arab studies from Georgetown University and has worked with Palestinian communities in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Expertise: Refugees, women
Location: St. Louis

South

Tabitha Mustafa
Mustafa is a Black Palestinian activist born in Louisiana with roots in Qalandiya. She is the co-founder and core organizer of New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee, as well as a coordinator of New Orleans Palestinian Film Festival. Mustafa also serves on American Friends Service Committee's Israel-Palestine Coordinating Committee.

Expertise: Solidarity Organizing, Racism in Palestine & Israel, Grassroots Campaigns
Location: New Orleans

Fahed Abu-Akel
The Rev. Abu-Akel, former moderator of the 214th General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was born in the village of Kuffer-Yassif in Galilee. He is currently the executive director of Atlanta Ministry with International Students.

Tarek Abuata
Born into a Christian family in Bethlehem, Abuata moved to Texas during the first Palestinian Intifada. FOSNA’s executive director, Abuata has worked for Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, Love Thy Neighbor, Christian Peacemaker Teams, the United Palestine Appeal, and the Negotiations Support Unit of the Palestinian Authority. Abuata holds a J.D. from the University of Texas Law School.

Location: Houston

Mohammed Alatar
Alatar is a filmmaker and human rights activist from the town of Jenin, in the West Bank. He was nominated for the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Humanity in 2002 for his work campaigning for human rights. His films include The Iron Wall (2006), awarded Official Selection at the Al-Jazeera Television Production Festival, and Jerusalem: East Side Story.

Naim Ateek
Ateek moved to Nazareth after Israel’s occupation of Beisan in 1948. He was ordained in the Anglican (Episcopal) Church in 1967 and holds a doctorate of divinity from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Ateek established the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem in 1991. He is the author and editor of numerous books, and has been called “the Desmond Tutu of Palestine.” 

Location: Houston

Mid-Atlantic

Mai Abdul Rahman
Abdul Rahman holds a doctorate degree in leadership and educational policy. She is a researcher, lecturer, writer, national human rights organizer, homeless youth advocate and blogger. In 2006, she helped launch and organize the Bethlehem Christmas Simulcast at the National Cathedral to link in prayer Palestinian Christians with U.S. Christians.

Susan Abulhawa
Abulhawa is an international best-selling novelist, poet, and essayist. She is also a scientist and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, a children’s organization dedicated to upholding the right to play for Palestinian children (www.playgroundsforpalestine.org).

Location: Philadelphia

Mubarak Awad
An adjunct professorial lecturer at the School of International Service at American University, Awad is the founder and national president of the Youth Advocate Program. He is also the founder of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, and was deported by the Israeli supreme court in 1988 after being jailed for organizing nonviolent civil disobedience.

Sari Ateek
Rev. Ateek is a Christian born and raised in Palestine and Israel. He earned his master’s of divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a certificate in Anglican studies from Virginian Theological Seminary. He is currently serving as the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He is the son of Naim Ateek, the founder of Sabeel.

Riham Barghouti
Barghouti was raised in the United States, then moved to Palestine, where she worked at the United Nations Development Programme, educational non-governmental organizations, and at Birzeit University. She was also a dancer and choreographer with El-Funoun: The Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe. In 2004, she helped launch the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

Expertise: Academic boycott, transnational solidarity movements, BDS organizing 
Location: New York

Noura Erakat
Erakat is a legal activist. As a New Voices Fellow she served as the national grassroots organizer and legal advocate for the US Campaign to end the Israeli Occupation. Prior to joining the US Campaign, Noura helped establish and lead the first divestment campaign from apartheid Israel at UC Berkeley.

Expertise: International Law and Palestine, domestic policy in Palestine 
Location: Washington, D.C.

Philip Farah
Farah was born in Jerusalem four years after his family was driven out of their home in what became Israeli West Jerusalem. Farah earned a PhD in natural resources and environmental economics from the University of New Mexico. He currently works as an economist in Washington, DC, and is a founding member of the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace and the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace.

Expertise: Palestinian Christians, BDS
Location: Washington, D.C.

Jonathan Kuttab
Kuttab is a leading human rights lawyer. He was born in West Jerusalem, but after the Six Day War, his family moved to the United States. After practicing with a Wall Street law firm for several years, he returned home to co-found the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence, Al-Haq (lawyers and others who assist with human rights issues), and the Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners.

Expertise: Human rights, legal issues, Christian Zionism
Location: Washington D.C.

Ghassan Tarazi
Tarazi was born in 1948 in Beirut four months after his parents were forced to leave their home in Jerusalem. With a doctorate in educational leadership from Virginia Tech, he spent 37 years in public education. Tarazi is chair of the Alliance of Baptists’ Community for Justice in Palestine and Israel and is a founding member of the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace.

Location: Washington D.C.

New England

Diana Buttu
Buttu is a lawyer and former legal advisor to the Palestinian Liberation Organization who assisted in the litigation of Israel’s wall at the Hague in 2004 which resulted in the indictment of Israel’s wall.

Rami Khouri
Khouri was the founding director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and is now a senior public policy fellow and a professor of journalism. He is a syndicated columnist at Agence Global syndicate, a book author, and a frequent analyst in international media. He was editor of the Jordan Times in Amman and the Daily Star in Beirut.

Expertise: Middle East politics, peace negotiations, media
Location: Boston

Nadim Rouhana
Rouhana is the founding director of Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa. He has published broadly on identity of the Palestinians in Israel, their conflict with the Israeli state, and the question of transforming Israel into a democratic state. He is also a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston.


Canada

Elia Zureik
Zureik is a professor emeritus of sociology at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. His research focuses on the Middle East and surveillance. Zureik is the author of many reports on Palestinian refugees, and was a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Refugee Working Group under the Oslo peace process.

Location: Kingston, Ontario