Discussion Panel Speakers

Mubarak AwadDr. Mubarak Awad, M.A., Education, St. Francis University, Ph.D. in psychology, the International Graduate School of St. Louis, Missouri, is a Palestinian-American Christian and advocate of nonviolent resistance. After his father was killed by the Haganah during the 1948 war, he and his family became refugees in the Old City of Jerusalem. In 1985, upon completing his education in the U.S., Dr. Awad returned to Jerusalem to establish the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence. After being expelled from Israel in 1988, he founded Nonviolence International, an organization that promotes nonviolent resistance and human rights. He is an adjunct professor at American University where he teaches in the department of International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Because of his commitment to the cause of nonviolence, he is known in the Middle East as the Arab Gandhi.

Contact Information
Email: mubarakawad@gmail.com

Sami AwadSami Awad, M.A., International Relations, specializing in Peace and Conflict Resolution, American University, Washington D.C., is a Palestinian Christian and one of the subjects of the documentary film Little Town of Bethlehem. For two years he directed The Center for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, founded by his uncle Dr. Mubarak Awad. In 1986 Sami founded Holy Land Trust (HLT) in his hometown of Bethlehem. It is a nonprofit organization committed to developing nonviolent approaches that will end the Israeli occupation and build a future founded on the principles of nonviolence, equality, justice, and peaceful coexistence.

Contact Information
Email: sami@holylandtrust.org

Mark Braverman, Ph.D.Mark Braverman is a Jewish American with deep family roots in the Holy Land. Growing up in the United States, Braverman was reared in the Jewish tradition. Traveling to Israel/Palestine in 2006 he was transformed by witnessing the occupation and by encounters with peace activists and civil society leaders from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities. His work focuses on the role of religious beliefs and theology in the current discourse and the function of interfaith relations in the current search for a resolution of the conflict. Mark serves on the advisory board of Friends of Sabeel North American and on the Board of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA. He is a cofounder of Friends of Tent of Nations North America, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Palestinian land rights and peaceful coexistence in historic Palestine. He is a charter member of American Jews for a Just Peace and has recently been appointed as a consultant to Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. Mark is the author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land. His website is www.markbraverman.org.

Contact Information
Email: m_braverman@yahoo.com

Mae Elise CannonMae Elise Cannon, Senior Director of Advocacy & Outreach – Middle East for World Vision USA. She is a pastor, writer, and academic who cares deeply about God’s heart for the poor and the oppressed. She is the author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World (IVP, 2009) and Just Spirituality: How Faith Practices Fuel Social Action (IVP, 2012). Cannon is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). She was formerly the executive pastor of Hillside Covenant Church located in Walnut Creek, California and also served as director of development and transformation for extension ministries at Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois. Cannon holds an M.Div. FromNorth Park Theological Seminary, an MBA from North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management, and an MA in bioethics from Trinity International University. She is now a doctoral candidate in American History with the minor in Middle Eastern studies at the University of California ­ Davis focusing her dissertation on the history of the American Protestant church in Israel and Palestine. Recently, Mae served as a consultant to the Middle East for child advocacy issues for Compassion International.

Contact Information
Email: MCannon@worldvision.org

Matan CohenMatan Cohen, Philosophy, Economics and Political Science student at Hampshire College, is an Israeli political activist, refusenik and founding member of Anarchists Against the Wall, a direct nonviolent action group. At the age of 17, during a nonviolent protest at the Separation Fence, he was shot in the eye by an Israeli border policeman. The Nation, the Guardian, CNN, BBC, NBC, ABC, Al-Jazeera, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Al-Aharam, and Haaretz have featured his opinion articles, profile, and interviews. Matan is working on a book manuscript about Palestinian popular resistance in the last decade and a film titled Antigone in Jenin with directors Udi Aloni and Juliano Mer-Khamis.

Contact Information
Email: matankohen2@gmail.com

Greg DawsonGreg Dawson is a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. He has also worked for The Herald-Telephone (Bloomington, IN), the Boca Raton News (FL), the Grand Forks Herald (ND), The Wichita Eagle (KS), the Boston Herald (MA), and The Indianapolis Star (IN). In 2009, Pegasus Books published his first book, Hiding in the Spotlight, the story of his Ukrainian mother’s escape from the Holocaust. His second book, Judgment Before Nuremberg: The First Nazi War Crime Trial, will be published in spring 2012 by Pegasus Books.

Contact Information
Email: GDawson@orlandosentinel.com

Elik ElhananElik Elhanan, Ph.D. candidate in Middle East Studies, Columbia University, New York City, is one of the founding members of Combatants for Peace, a bi-national organization pursuing a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians. While serving in an Israeli Defense Forces combat unit, his sister was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Jerusalem, his hometown. Elik believes those who are dedicated to peace, social justice and equality—be they Israelis or Palestinians—must separate themselves from those who profit from or believe in violence as a way of life.

Contact Information
Email: elikelhanan@gmail.com

Jim HanonJim Hanon, Director/Writer/Producer, is best known for directing End of the Spear. The film debuted in the top 10 theatrical grossing films during its opening weekend. Building on this success, the DVD spent eleven weeks in the top fifty after its release. Writing and directing credits also include Miss HIV (2008) filmed throughout Africa, Little Town of Bethlehem (2010) filmed in the West Bank and surrounding area, and The Grandfathers (2011) filmed in the Amazon basin of Ecuador. Jim made his first career in advertising and was a Vice President at Leo Burnett in Chicago. Other former positions include head of story for Every Tribe Entertainment, and President and Chief Creative officer of EGM Films. Jim is now creating motion pictures and motion novels through partnerships as well as his own production company Minus Red. Jim specializes in working in remote areas of the world and leveraging local resources for exceptional production values. Awards include: New York International Film Festival Silver, Chicago International Film Festival Silver, the Heartland Film Festival’s Crystal Heart and Grand Prize awards, and over 30 International Telly Awards.

Contact Information
Email: jim@jimhanon.com

Dr. Paul Larudee, Ph.D.Dr. Paul Larudee, Ph.D., Linguistics, Georgetown University, has spent 14 years in Arab countries as a contracted U.S. government advisor, Fulbright-Hays exchange lecturer, teacher, training administrator, and graduate student. He is active with the International Solidarity Movement, a nonviolent resistance group. He is also a co-founder of the Free Palestine Movement (FPM) and the Free Gaza Movement (FGM), whose boats broke a 41-year-old Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in August, 2008. Dr. Larudee was a member of the U.S. delegation aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which was attacked by Israeli forces on May 31, 2010.

Contact Information
Email: larudee@pacbell.net

Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, M.A.Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, M.A., Talmud and Halacha (Jewish Law), Schechter Rabbinical School in Israel, was born and raised in an Ashkenazi Orthodox family in Jerusalem and has become a leading Masorti rabbi in Israel. He has been a peace activist since 1986, first with Peace Now and currently with Rabbis for Human Rights, an interfaith group that brings together Israeli Rabbis with Imams and ministers from the West Bank. He is presently a visiting Masorti scholar from Israel to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Contact Information
Email: avideu@gmail.com

Bill OechslerBill Oechsler, M.A., Journalism, University of Texas at Austin, is president of EthnoGraphic Media (EGM), adjunct professor in the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Master’s Degree Program at the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University, and owns XLER Marketing & Brand Consultancy. Bill was previously executive vice president of marketing at Zondervan, an international leader in Christian communications, and president and chief strategic officer of Hanon McKendry/The Brand Consultants.

Contact Information
Email: boechsler@egmfilms.org

Atalia Omer, Ph.D.Atalia Omer, Ph.D., Harvard University, Assistant Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, is an Israeli, and her research interests include the interrelationship of religion and nationalism and peacebuilding. Dr. Omer is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding (under contract with Oxford University Press). The University of Chicago is publishing her new book When Peace is Not Enough: How the Israeli Peace Camp Thinks about Religion, Nationalism, and Justice, scheduled for release in 2012.

Contact Information
Phone: (574) 631-7121
Email: omer.3@nd.edu

Tal Palter-PalmanTal Palter-Palman, M.A., History, San Francisco State University, teaches peace and women studies courses and U.S. and Middle East history at Berkeley City College in California. She was born and raised in a small village in Israel. Tal focuses on social movements and nonviolence, and she has been involved in the peace movement in Israel and Palestine. She serves on the board of directors of Metta Center in Berkeley, a nationally-recognized center for nonviolent education.

Contact Information
Email: paltertal@hotmail.com

Dr. Muli Peleg, Ph.D.Dr. Muli Peleg, Ph.D., is a full-time professor at the Columbia University Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Program, a Schusterman Visiting Professor at Rutgers University, a research fellow at the Stanford Center for International Conflict Resolution and Negotiation, and a Fellow at the Martin Luther King Center. Some of his published works include Spreading the Wrath of God (1997, Hebrew), Zealotry and Vengeance—Quest of a Religious Identity Group (2002, Lexington Books), If Words Could Kill: the Failure of Public Discourse in Israel (2003, Hebrew University Press), and Fighting Terrorism in the Liberal State (2006, IOS Press). Dr. Peleg is a senior researcher at the Japanese peace research TODA organization and the American Political Science Association. He was a member of Israeli negotiation teams in peace talks with Palestinians and Jordanians. After serving as a tank commander in the Israeli military he became one of the founders of the Israeli chapter of One Voice, which promotes dialogue and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Contact Information
Email: sp2997@columbia.edu

Yuval RonYuval Ron is a world-renowned musician, composer, and producer for film, television, dance and theater. Among his many honors, he was invited to perform for the Dalai Lama and the Sufi leader Pir Zia Iniyat Khan. In 2006, he won an Oscar for West Bank Story, and received the Los Angeles Treasures Award in 2004. He is the recipient of prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Composers Forum, California Council for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation. His musical ensemble has been actively involved in creating musical bridges between people of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths and has been featured on CNN, National Geographic, and in the international press and media. He is also a noted lecturer and has been invited to speak at numerous schools including: Yale, John Hopkins University, UCLA, Middlebury College, Brandeis University, MIT, Berklee College of Music, Pittsburgh University, Texas University in Austin, UCSD, Jerusalem Film School (Israel), and many others. Visit his website at www.YuvalRonMusic.com.

Contact Information
Email: info@yuvalronmusic.com
Phone: (818) 505-1355

Efrem SmithEfrem Smith, Superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, is an internationally recognized leader who uses motivational speaking and preaching to equip people for a life of transformation. He also consults on issues of multi-ethnicity, leadership, and community development for churches, educational institutions, and other organizations. In his superintendent role Efrem provides leadership to around 160 churches and other ministry initiatives in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. He is also an itinerant speaker with Kingdom Building Ministries and the author of two books, Raising Up Young Heroes and The Hip-Hop Church. Efrem has held positions with church and parachurch organizations as well as community foundations, and has served as founding pastor of The Sanctuary Covenant Church and president of The Sanctuary Community Development Corporation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Efrem is a graduate of Saint John’s University and Luther Theological Seminary. Currently, he is a doctoral student in church leadership at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, where he serves as Vice-Chair of the National Chaplain’s Committee. His website is www.efremsmith.com.

Contact Information
Book through Kingdom Building Ministries